Florida Reckless Driving Consequences
Whether you're weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, or tailgating, one thing's for sure: you're driving recklessly. Reckless driving not only puts you at risk for an accident, but also endangers the lives of innocent drivers who are traveling within the boundaries of the law. When driving recklessly, your reaction time is cut in half, making you far more susceptible to hazards, and far less likely to be able to avoid them.
Because other drivers could easily be hurt or even killed because of one person's irresponsible driving, the state has made reckless driving a major offense which carries harsh penalties. Read on to find out how a reckless driving ticket could affect you.
A Costly Mistake
Reckless driving is defined as "any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property" (Florida Statute 316.192). As reckless driving is categorized as a misdemeanor in Florida, it has the potential to carry jail time. According to state statute 545.401, the punishment may include:
- A $500 fine
- Up to 90 days in jail
- Both jail time and the fine combined
If you are convicted of a second offense, each of those possible punishments doubles; in that case, you could pay $1000 and spend up to 6 months behind bars.
If property damage is involved in the reckless driving incident, or you cause serious bodily harm to a passenger or another driver, you are facing a third degree offense. Third degree offenses are punishable by a fine of $5000 and up to 5 whole years in jail.
Reckless vs. Careless Driving
In Florida, there is a violation known as "careless driving," which slightly differs from the more serious charge of reckless driving. Careless driving is speeding, weaving through traffic, following too closely - but without "wanton disregard" for the safety of everyone around. These behaviors may be dangerous, but they are mostly unintentional slip-ups that drivers commit, such as not paying attention to the road, or misjudging your following distance. A careless driving citation will usually carry the option for dismissal with completion of a DHSMV-approved Florida traffic school course.
The penalties for careless driving vary based upon the severity of the infraction, and whether or not the police officer has substantial evidence for conviction in court.
How Traffic School Can Help
If you are cited for careless driving, you will likely be given the option to complete a traffic school course and have the violation waived. If you choose this option, you'll avoid having the points reported to your insurance company (saving you lots of money in the long run!). You can complete your basic driver improvement course from your computer if you choose an online traffic school, so you can meet your requirements without having to devote an entire weekend to a classroom course.
A huge benefit of the online platform is its adjustable and adaptable format, which works within any schedule. Whether you're a student or you work a full-time job, you can take care of your traffic ticket easily by studying the lessons whenever you find the time.
Keep Driving Safely!
The primary lasting effect of a quality driver improvement course is that you become a safer, more responsible driver that hits the road with respect for those around you. We all make mistakes on the road, and sometimes we're asked to pay the price for them. Completing an online Florida traffic school course can be the refresher you need to ensure you don't end up in this same position again!