When a police officer pulls you over, you probably wonder to yourself whether you were speeding. Did you miss a stop sign? Did you forget to use your turn signal when you changed lanes? You won't really know what infraction the officer thinks you committed until he or she comes to your window.
While you may expect a speeding ticket, the officer may accuse you of driving recklessly. Here in Georgia, reckless driving is not just a traffic infraction for which you could pay a fine and perhaps get points on your license. It is a misdemeanor charge.
What types of driving does the law consider reckless driving?
You could face a charge of reckless driving if a police officer believes that your actions demonstrated a disregard for the safety of others and of the potential consequences. You do not have to be in an accident for him or her to face this charge. Reckless driving may be the charge, but it encompasses a few driving behaviors, such as the following:
- If an officer accuses you of racing another vehicle
- If an officer says you drove at least 25 mph over the posted speed limit
- If an officer claims you eluded him or her
- If an officer accuses you of passing on a two-lane highway without proper visibility
These examples do not represent all of the instances in which an officer may accuse you of reckless driving. The primary factor that distinguishes this charge from you simply being negligent is that someone perceived your behavior as knowingly ignoring the potential results of your actions.
Take this charge seriously
Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor, you could face jail time, fines and possibly the suspension of your driver's license, depending on how many points were already on it. If you are under the age of 21, your license will face automatic suspension of your driver's license. You do not necessarily have to face these penalties.
Instead, you could choose to challenge the charge. Before doing so, it would help to gain an understanding of your rights and legal options when it comes to your defense. Considering the potential consequences you face, you may want to seek out the support of an experienced criminal defense attorney to get the answers you need.