Reckless driving is not just another traffic ticket. In Georgia, it is a criminal violation that could result in jail time, a criminal record and other consequences.
Before you plead guilty to any criminal traffic charge, you should discuss the case with an attorney who regularly appears in traffic court.
What is reckless driving?
In Georgia, reckless driving is driving a vehicle with "reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property."
A number of actions could be considered reckless driving:
- Excessive speeding
- Passing another vehicle in an unsafe manner
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, but with a lower blood alcohol content than is necessary to charge you with drunk driving
The decision whether to charge someone with reckless driving is based on the subjective opinion of the police officer who writes the ticket.
What are the consequences of a conviction?
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. The consequences of a conviction include:
- Up to a $1,000 fine
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A permanent criminal record
- Four points on your driving record (Your driver's license will be suspended if you accumulate 15 points in a 24-month period.)
In addition, you may face higher insurance rates and employment consequences. For example, your employer's auto insurance company may not cover you if you have a criminal traffic conviction.
Is there a defense to reckless driving charges?
Since the definition of what is reckless driving is subjective, an experienced attorney may be able to persuade the judge that the officer was mistaken or exaggerated the risk to other people or property. In many cases, reckless driving can be reduced to a less serious offense.