Reckless driving is a dangerous driving behavior that lawmakers in Arizona wish to discourage by imposing harsh fines and penalties against perpetrators. If you are convicted of a reckless driving charge in Arizona, you could face consequences such as fines, points against your driving record and driver’s license suspension. You may also be at risk of insurance increases, a permanent criminal record and potential jail time, depending on the circumstances.
What Is Arizona’s Definition of Reckless Driving?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-693, reckless driving means to operate a vehicle with a reckless disregard for the safety of other persons or property. It can refer to traffic violations such as excessive speeding, tailgating, ignoring traffic signs, cutting off other drivers, and making unsafe lane changes. Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor crime in Arizona. With a previous reckless driving conviction within 24 months, however, it is elevated to a class 1 misdemeanor.
Penalties for a Reckless Driving Conviction in Arizona
A criminal traffic citation carries more serious consequences than a simple moving violation. Committing an offense such as reckless driving that is criminalized in Arizona can come with criminal consequences instead of only civil penalties. These can include:
- A fine of $750 plus an 84 percent surcharge
- Driver’s license suspension for 90 days up to one year
- Up to four months of jail time
- Up to two years of probation
The penalties will increase if the driver had a previous reckless driving conviction within the last two years. A repeat offender could face penalties such as a minimum of 20 days in jail (up to six months), up to $2,500 in fines, and up to two years of probation.
How Many Points Does Reckless Driving Assess Against a Driver’s Record?
In addition to criminal penalties and consequences, a driver who is convicted of reckless driving in Arizona will be assessed points against his or her license. Arizona’s points assessment system encourages safe driving practices by penalizing drivers who receive traffic tickets and citations. Certain moving traffic violations will assess points against a driver’s permanent driving record.
Reckless driving assesses eight points against a driver’s license – the highest amount of any traffic violation. This means the driver could automatically lose his or her driving privilege for up to 12 months, as the point system states that this is the consequence of accumulating eight or more points in a 12-month period. However, it may be possible to avoid license suspension by attending traffic survival school.
How to Fight a Reckless Driving Charge
A reckless driving conviction in Arizona can carry penalties that seriously affect your life, such as taking away your driving privileges or even going to jail. If you are being accused of reckless driving, it is crucial to contact an Arizona reckless driving defense attorney to help you combat the charges. Your lawyer can search for ways to prove that the charges are unfounded, such as demonstrating that the state’s evidence against you is insufficient. If there were no witnesses, for example, the state may not be able to prove you guilty of reckless driving beyond a reasonable doubt.
An attorney may be able to have reckless driving charges against you dismissed entirely by filing a motion to dismiss. If this is not an option, a lawyer can still fight for reduced charges or penalties on your behalf, such as reducing a criminal traffic citation to a moving violation. Your lawyer will do whatever is possible to challenge a reckless driving charge and achieve a positive resolution for your case.
To discuss a reckless driving case with an experienced defense attorney in Arizona, call Corso Law Group for a free consultation.