Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation that is taken very seriously in Arizona. It's not just a minor infraction; it's considered a criminal charge that can, in some cases, result in a jail sentence. However, even if incarceration isn’t likely, a reckless driving conviction in Arizona can result in significant financial costs, including fines and increased insurance premiums. However, being cited for reckless driving doesn’t mean that the consequences of a conviction are a certainty. Because reckless driving is a criminal offense, the prosecution must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt before a judge or jury can convict you.
At the Law Offices of James E. Novak, our experienced Maricopa County criminal defense lawyer has over 25 years of experience defending the rights and freedoms of his clients. We will do everything possible to minimize the impact that your recent arrest has on your future so you can move on with your life and put your reckless driving arrest behind you for good.How Does Arizona Law Define Reckless Driving?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §28-693, reckless driving is defined as a scenario where a person drives a vehicle in "reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property." This broad definition encompasses a wide range of driving behaviors, but the common thread is the evident lack of concern for the well-being of others or the potential property damage.
While the wording might seem somewhat subjective, it is intentionally broad to allow law enforcement officers and the judiciary some leeway in its interpretation. For example, excessive speeding in a school zone, tailgating dangerously, weaving between lanes without signaling, or driving aggressively might be deemed reckless driving. Each case is evaluated based on its unique circumstances.Is Reckless Driving a Traffic Ticket in Arizona?
No, unlike speeding or running a red light, reckless driving isn’t a traffic infraction; it’s actually a crime to engage in reckless driving. In most cases, reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor.What Are the Penalties for a Phoenix Reckless Driving Conviction?
Penalties for reckless driving in Phoenix are steep. A first offense is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in up to four months in jail, a fine of up to $750, plus surcharges, and a driver's license suspension. However, if you are found guilty of reckless driving a second time within a span of 24 months, the offense will become a class 1 misdemeanor, leading to even more severe penalties. For example, a second offense reckless driving conviction can result in up to six months in jail.
Notably, a previous DUI conviction can also increase the severity of a reckless driving conviction. For example, if you have a DUI from six months ago and pick up a new reckless driving case, you’ll face a class 1 misdemeanor.Will a Reckless Driving Conviction Add Points to My Arizona Driver’s License?
Yes, a reckless driving conviction will result in the Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicles Division (“MVD”) adding eight points to your driving record. Under Arizona’s point system, if you get eight or more points in any 12-month period, you could be ordered to attend Traffic Survival School (TSS), or your driver’s license could be suspended for up to a year.Were You Recently Cited for Reckless Driving in Phoenix?
If you have an upcoming court appearance for a reckless driving case, don’t make the mistake of showing up on your own. Too often, drivers feel like these charges are unbeatable and end up pleading guilty to a crime without considering whether any defenses apply. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we’re here to help. We have extensive experience investigating, negotiating and litigating reckless driving cases on behalf of clients in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County. We have maintained a successful track record, keeping the vast majority of our clients on the road and out of jail. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney James Novak today, give us a call at 480-413-1499. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.