Driving is a big part of modern life that each state has a system of laws in place regulating how people should behave when behind the wheel of a vehicle. Driving in a potentially extremely reckless or unsafe is a crime in itself due to the fact that cars can be incredibly dangerous. If you are charged with this crime it is possible to face very steep penalties.
The crime of reckless driving happens when someone drives a car in a way that puts others at risk. Reckless driving is pretty dependant on the underlying circumstances of the individual case, unlike other traffic regulations such as speeding violations. There are some key actions that may qualify as reckless driving, and drivers can be convicted of this crime when they operate a vehicle in an unreasonably risky manner.
- Factors. The court will likely consider a host of factors when trying to determine what qualifies as reckless driving. These could include the time of the day, the relevant weather conditions, the presence of roadside obstacles, characteristics of the vehicle, the motorist’s knowledge of the area, and other possible factors.
- Beyond negligence. Reckless driving can involve more than just making a mistake or being negligent when operating a vehicle. The driver has to willfully act with a blatant disregard for other’s safety, but a prosecutor does not have to exactly show evidence of the driver’s mental state at the time of the accident. It may be sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the circumstances of the crash could have caused the driver to acknowledge, or that he or she should have known, that their actions were unreasonable.
- Safety risk. Reckless driving usually involves a certain amount of danger to another person, but a prosecutor does not necessarily have to provide evidence that someone else was actually placed at risk. Reckless driving can happen even when no one else is present on the road or when there is no observable property damage. It is sufficient that reckless drivers are proven to have endangered their own lives or risked damaging their own property in order to be seen as driving recklessly.
- “Per Se” reckless. There are laws that include particular conditions that may instantly qualify as reckless driving. These regulations are known as “per se” conditions. This just means that a motorist acted negligently if the prosecutor can provide evidence that only one of the specific conditions was present at the time of the accident. Some typical “per se” factors could include speeding 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, passing a school bus, passing a railroad crossing, or engaging in a drag race.
Bringing a Reckless Driver to Justice
Reckless driving is one of the more severe traffic offense that someone can commit. Outside of placing others in harm’s way, if someone is convicted of reckless driving, they could face criminal penalties that may include jail, fines, or the revocation of their driver’s license. This is a good way to ensure that the at-fault party is brought to justice after injuring another party in a car crash, and these penalties include:
- Jail or prison. In Utah, reckless driving is considered a class B misdemeanor offense. This means that someone who is convicted of the crime may face up to six months in prison.
- Fines. Fines are a common penalty when someone is convicted of driving recklessly. In Utah, the fine is set at a maximum of $1,000.
- Probation. Probation sentences can be a repercussion of reckless driving convictions. This is usually dependent on the circumstances of the crash as well as the driver’s personal driving history. If a court sentences you to probation, you will have to comply with certain terms. These could include finding a job, making systematic visits to a probation officer, as well as not committing any other traffic violations during the probation period. In the event that you violate the terms set by your probation, the court is able to revoke it entirely and have you serve a sentence in jail instead.
- License suspension. When you are convicted of reckless driving, you will likely face a possible suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. In Utah, your license can be suspended for up to three months due to a reckless driving conviction. If the driver has previous convictions of reckless driving or other traffic violations, it is possible that a longer suspension or permanent revocation of the license could be instated.
Speak to a Lawyer Following an Accident Involving Reckless Driving
If you have been injured in a car accident resulting from the actions of a reckless driver, you should seek the consultation of an experienced car crash injury attorney in Utah in order to take the next steps of preparing your claim. They can help you protect your legal rights following an accident in order to ensure that the at-fault party is brought to justice for their negligent actions. You should speak with an injury lawyer as soon as possible following your collision in order to recoup expenses for damages resulting from the accident.
Reckless Driving Crashes in Utah
Even when you exercise precaution on the road, car crashes caused by reckless drivers can still happen. These accidents can result in the loss of a loved one, and the family is often left to take on the consequences. In some cases, they can contact a Utah wrongful death lawyer to help them file a claim. If you have any questions, call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
At Siegfried & Jensen, there are experienced car crash attorneys in Salt Lake City to help you with your case. We have helped win millions of dollars for families after an accident, and we believe in holding the at-fault party liable for their actions and for the harm they did. Please, do not hesitate to contact us at (801) 845-9000 if you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash. Give us a call to see how we can help you.