Detroit Reckless Driving Lawyer
Driving recklessly puts you and others in danger. It could also land you in jail. Michigan has harsh penalties for drivers convicted of reckless and even careless driving. If your reckless driving causes injury or death, you may receive a felony conviction involving years behind bars and thousands of dollar in fines. In addition, you may also face civil liability for compensating the victims for their losses.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, you need a skilled and experienced traffic ticket attorney to defend your case. Your freedom, financial security, career, and reputation are all at stake.
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
According to section 257.626 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that could result in a 93-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $500. The statute defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety and property of others on any highway, road or other open space accessible to the general public, such as parking lots or frozen lakes.
What is considered to be driving with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others may depend on the circumstances.
Generally, it involves intentionally doing something with the knowledge that it is dangerous. For example, you could face reckless driving charges for doing any of the following:
- Committing road rage
- Drag racing
- Driving far above the speed limit
- Drifting or doing burnouts
If your conduct was not intentionally dangerous, you may still get charged with careless driving under Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.626b, which prohibits negligent driving. For example, if a police officer catches you veering into another lane because you were adjusting the air conditioning, he or she might cite you for careless driving. If convicted, you would have to pay a civil fine of $100.
In some cases, your Detroit reckless driving attorney may be able to have your reckless driving charge reduced to careless driving. Often times, the only evidence of your misconduct are the observations of law enforcement and a police report. A skilled lawyer may be able to minimize the importance of this evidence and demonstrate that there is some doubt as to whether you were truly driving with wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others.
What If I Hurt Someone by Driving Recklessly?
Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.626 provides heightened penalties for drivers who hurt or kill people through their reckless driving. If you recklessly cause serious impairment of a body function to another because of your reckless driving, you may face imprisonment of up to 5 years and fines between $1,000 and $5,000. If your actions result in someone’s death, the penalties increase to 15 years in prison and fines between $2,500 and $10,000. In either case, your license will be suspended and your car will be impounded.
These offenses are felonies, which means that they carry burdensome collateral consequences. You will not be able to own a firearm, and you may be excluded from practicing certain professions. Additionally, a felony offense on your criminal record may dissuade potential employers form hiring you. Thus, it’s essential to avoid a felony conviction whenever possible.
If your lawyer can successfully argue that you were only driving negligently as opposed to recklessly, you may face a conviction for the lesser charge of moving violation causing death or serious injury. If convicted, you may face up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Hiring the Right Detroit Reckless Driving Lawyer
With so much at stake, you should retain the services of a reputable Detroit reckless driving attorney if you get charged with reckless driving. You may be able to avoid the harshest consequences of a conviction if your lawyer obtains the dismissal of your charges, a verdict of not guilty, or a conviction for the lesser offense of careless driving.
Attorney Maurice Davis started his legal career as a prosecutor, which gave him the opportunity to learn how the state builds its cases against criminal suspects. Now, he puts this experience to use in defending the rights of people accused of committing crimes.
At Davis Law Group, we built our reputation on providing each of our clients with aggressive advocacy and personalized attention. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, call us today at (313) 818-3238 for your free and confidential consultation.