What are the penalties for reckless driving?

In Texas a conviction for reckless driving can result in a fine of $200 and confinement in county jail for up to 30 days.

Reckless driving is a rare hybrid offense in Texas. It’s not really a Class C misdemeanor. It’s not a Class B misdemeanor. Regardless of what you call it, though, the fact that your exposure can include up to 30 days in county jail should be noted; and it should get your attention.

This is not a “go to court and pay the fine” kind of offense.

It’s also important to understand how “reckless driving” is defined in the state of Texas. What the statute says is that a person commits the offense of reckless driving if that person drives in a manner that demonstrates willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

The case law puts a finer point on it, further defining “willful and wanton disregard” to mean “a deliberate and conscious indifference to the safety of others.”

Clearly, the definition seems to contemplate conduct more egregious than simply driving more than twenty or twenty-five miles over the speed limit. Indeed, the definition culled from the case law seems to suggest these cases can all be evaluated based on the specific facts and circumstances that existed at the time you were stopped.

“Reckless driving” is a legal conclusion. Judges and juries are certainly not required to agree with a legal conclusion reached by a member of law enforcement.

So, if you find yourself accused of reckless driving you should call Rick Oliver Attorney at Law to discuss whether the situation really amounted to “a deliberate and conscious indifference to the safety of others.”

And, if we don’t think it did, we can force the state to attempt to prove it.