With as much time as we spend on the road in Southern California, the likelihood of committing a driving offense is much higher. One common way that driving poses the risk of landing you in jail or facing other steep penalties is reckless driving.
California Vehicle Code Section 23103 defines reckless driving as driving with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. This is a misdemeanor offense that can carry potentially serious consequences.
CVC 23103 punishes reckless driving by fines, imprisonment, or both. The extent of these penalties can be:
- $2,000 in fines;
- 90 days in county jail; and
- Two points on your driver’s license.
Being proactive and discussing your case with a skilled and knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich attorney must be a priority if you hope to minimize these penalties as much as possible and move on with your life.
What Defenses to Reckless Driving Charges Can an Attorney Raise in Your Case?
The prosecution in a reckless driving case must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged illegal maneuver you made (such as excessive speeding) was done intentionally and that it put people at risk of being injured or killed. Police officers will often use the general rule of thumb that making three moving violations in rapid succession falls under these criteria and is considered reckless driving.
If you are facing reckless driving charges, it is crucial that have a valid legal defense. Our experienced attorneys can raise several defenses to reckless driving charges. Below are some to consider:
1) Did Not Drive:
The prosecution must prove that you were driving the vehicle. One legal defense that an attorney can raise is that you were not driving the vehicle at the time. Without clear-cut evidence from the prosecution that you were driving the vehicle, the charges against you could be dismissed or you could be acquitted.
The necessity defense can also be raised in a reckless driving case. With the necessity defense, a skilled reckless driving attorney will show that:
- The offensive driving took place because you reasonably believed that an emergency existed;
- The emergency presented a threat to you or some third party; and
- You did not create the emergency.
If you were traveling at speeds beyond the speed limit or if you committed several other moving violations in close succession, you were not necessarily driving with wanton disregard for safety.
3) Argue for Negligence:
Negligence alone is not enough to prove reckless driving. In the case of People v. Allison ((1951) 101 Cal.App.2d Supp. 932, 935), a pedestrian was crossing a highway waving a fishing pole at the driver to get his attention. The driver made a U-turn towards the pedestrian and upon doing so, forced the pedestrian to jump out of the way in fear of getting hit. The driver then put his car in reverse, leaving 10 feet of skid marks before turning his car around and driving off.
The court ruled the driver in this case was only displaying negligence, not a wanton disregard for the rules of the road.
Negligence and gross negligence are insufficient on their own to be considered reckless driving.
4) Disprove or Argue Your Alleged Speed:
In a reckless driving case in which you were charged for speeding at a rate that was deemed to be with wanton disregard for the safety of others, the prosecution must prove several things. They must show that law enforcement recently calibrated the equipment used to measure your speed. Law enforcement must also have used the equipment correctly and the prosecution must prove that the speed measured was being displayed by your vehicle.
Without an experienced reckless driving defense attorney, the court may not require that the officer who pulled you over provide any of this proof.
5) Proper Signage:
Because one of the criteria for reckless driving is that you willfully disregarded the law, this implies that you knew you were breaking the law. If your reckless driving charge is a result of excessive speeding, there must have been sufficient and proper signs for you to see. An experienced attorney can determine if this was the case at the time of your arrest and help bring evidence of improper or obstructed signage to the attention of the court.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing charges of reckless driving, it can lead to steep penalties, points on your driving record and even jail time. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients accused of reckless driving for over 35 years.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville and San Diego, Wallin & Klarich has an established reputation of providing its clients with round-the-clock support. Let us protect you now.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will be there when you call.