Reckless Driving Charges in Orange County, CAIn California, most traffic violations are charged as infraction offenses. However, under certain circumstances, a traffic violation can result in misdemeanor charges. Reckless driving is one example of such a traffic violation.

What is Reckless Driving in California?

Under California Vehicle Code 23103, any person who drives a vehicle upon a highway or in an off-street parking facility in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime in California. Depending on the circumstances, you could be arrested for reckless driving or receive a moving citation.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Some of the actions the state of California considers to be reckless driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Racing/speed contest
  • Texting while driving
  • Disregarding traffic signals
  • Driving on the wrong way down a road
  • Illegal passing
  • Swerving across lanes
  • Engaging in daredevil behaviors
  • Driving on a sidewalk
  • Intentionally driving with defective brakes or other parts

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Orange County, CA

As stated above, reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime. A conviction for reckless driving in California could result in:

  • Fines of between $145 and $1000
  • Five to 90 days in a county jail
  • Up to two years probation
  • Driver’s license suspension (a first-time conviction could result in having a driver’s license suspended for 30 days; additional convictions could extend the suspension period up to six months.)

A defendant could find themselves facing additional penalties if the reckless driving incident resulted in specific serious injuries such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Concussion
  • Bone fracture
  • Prolonged loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
  • A wound requiring extensive suturing.
  • Serious disfigurement.
  • Brain injury
  • Paralysis

Reckless driving resulting in serious injury or death is a “wobbler” under California law that could result in felony rather than misdemeanor charges. A felony reckless driving conviction in Orange County, CA could cost the defendant up to three years in state prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.

If the defendant is a non-citizen, they could be facing deportation and inadmissibility.

“Wet” reckless driving refers to a reckless driving conviction that results from a DUI plea bargain to reduce the charges against the defendant. “Dry” reckless driving cases are reckless driving cases that don’t involve alcohol.

Defenses Against Charges of Reckless Driving in Orange County, CA

If you feel that you’ve been unfairly charged with reckless driving in Orange County, CA, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Depending on the circumstances in your case, possible defenses against reckless driving charges can include:

  • Your driving was not willfully reckless
  • You were not driving with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  • You had no choice; your reckless driving was out of necessity
  • You weren’t the actual driver

Speak to Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Jim Tanizaki About Your Reckless Driving Case

Effective legal representation is the key to avoiding a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony reckless driving charges in Orange County, CA. Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. Jim knows the tactics the prosecution will use to try and get their conviction and how to craft effective defense strategies to counter their charges. Jim’s exceptional legal expertise often results in reduced or dropped charges for his clients.

Contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Orange County, CA reckless driving lawyer.