Not all traffic offenses are as simple as a ticket. Sometimes a traffic offense can turn into a permanent mark on your record. A traffic citation for reckless driving is a criminal charge. Even though you may not have been arrested, handcuffed, and brought to jail, a ticket for reckless driving in Tennessee has the same seriousness as any misdemeanor criminal offense.
It may be that you were in a rush due to an emergency or perhaps you didn’t realize how fast you were going. Regardless of the reason, you got pulled over and charged with reckless driving. You may have even gone to jail.
You also may strongly feel you did nothing wrong. The police often make mistakes in charging people with these offenses. And some of the elements of a reckless driving offense are purely subjective. We can challenge the officer’s statements in court, and establish that he could have been mistaken about what happened. In a criminal case, reasonable doubt is the standard that must be met, and we are prepared to fight all the alleged evidence against you to keep your record clean.
Chances are this is your first reckless driving charge and you are probably unsure of what to expect. Rest assured that is what an experienced attorney is for, to anticipate your questions and work to get you the best possible outcome on your day in court.
If this isn’t your first charge, however, you should know that you may be facing much harsher penalties this time around. Tennessee takes repeat traffic offenders very seriously and you need a qualified defense lawyer behind you to support you during this time. We know Tennessee traffic laws and criminal courts. Please contact us right away to find out what we can do to help you.
What is Reckless Driving?
Under Tennessee criminal traffic laws, you may be charged with reckless driving if there is probable cause to believe that you drive “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. This could mean that you were swerving, following too closely, speeding, or driving in any manner that showed you did not care about the safety of other people or property.
Driving 30mph over the posted speed limit is considered a reckless driving charge under Tennessee law.
There are a variety of other specific statutes that are explicitly in the law (such as riding a motorcycle with one wheel off the ground aka “wheelie”) that will get you a criminal reckless driving citation. But for the most part, a reckless driving charge is a subjective call by the police officer who pulled you over.
Reckless driving is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.
Ref: TCA 55-10-205
Related Tennessee Criminal Traffic Charges
If you are involved in any street racing or speed contest you may be charged with drag racing. With the risk of injuries and accidents so high in racing, Tennessee judges really crack down on those who are convicted of this criminal traffic offense.
Drag racing is also a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.
If someone is hurt in the commission of this offense you may also face assault charges.
Ref: TCA 55-10-502
Tennessee Habitual Offenders – Traffic
If this offense isn’t the first one on your record, your potential sentence is multiplied. If you have 3 or more of the following convictions within the past five years you may face prosecution under the Tennessee Habitual Offender Act.
- Reckless driving
- Vehicular Assault
- Drag Racing
- Evading arrest
If you are convicted under the Habitual Offender Act you will face permanent revocation of your driving privileges.
Ref: TCA 55-10
Free Consultation on Tennessee Criminal Traffic Charges
If you are accused of reckless driving, or any other traffic or criminal offense, please contact our Tennessee defense lawyers for information on exactly how we would fight these charges in court. It may be possible to get criminal charges reduced to a non-criminal ticket, saving you serious fines, and even more important, keeping your record clean.
Call or contact us today to find out how we can help.