Dallas Area Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. In Texas, reckless driving is one of the more severe motor vehicle operator charges and it comes with criminal penalties. If convicted of reckless driving, you can be subject to hefty fines, loss of license and even spend time behind bars. If you’re charged with reckless driving, call the Dallas -area criminal defense experts at Clancy & Clancy at (972) 908-0695.
The penalties for demonstrating “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property” can be quite steep and Texas gives broad discretion to law enforcement officers with regards to reckless driving charges. For this reason, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure that your rights are protected and charges are appropriate. Driving over the speed limit should not necessarily be considered “reckless,” but you could be improperly charged. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of reckless driving.
What is Reckless Driving in Texas?
The Texas Transportation Code defines reckless driving as in chapter 545.402. Under Texas law, a driving charge can be enhanced if law enforcement believes you acted in a careless, dangerous manner that disregards the safety and property of others. You can even be charged and convicted of reckless driving whether or not you are on a public street or highway. The Texas statute makes no exceptions for parking lots or other driving spaces accessible to the general public. Drivers can be deemed willfully negligent based on an officer’s interpretation of the following circumstances:
- Driving at an excessive or potentially dangerous rate of speed.
- Failing to make a complete stop at a red light or stop sign.
- Failing to yield the right of way for other motor vehicles.
- Failing to stop or yield right of way for pedestrians.
- Failing a field sobriety test or breathalyzer.
- Engaging in road racing.
- Crossing the double yellow line on a two-way road.
- Texting while driving.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving.
- Failing to use directional lights when turning.
- Failing to maintain control of the vehicle.
Reckless Driving Penalties In Texas
Reckless driving occupies a somewhat unique position in Texas law. It is not necessarily a Class B or Class C misdemeanor – it is a hybrid offense that enhances underlying infractions. In other words, you could be charged with speeding, DUI, and additionally with reckless driving. The reckless driving charge could be stacked on top of the other driving offenses.
The current misdemeanor charge of reckless driving carries a fine of up to $200 and 30 days in jail. The conviction will result in a permanent criminal record that potential employers and others will be able to access. A judge could order you to perform community service, make restitution for other parties’ losses, and your driver’s license may be suspended or permanently revoked.
Other consequences could be the loss of a job that involves driving, revocation or denial of a security clearance, and a second offense may result in increased punishments. If you are convicted of reckless driving, paying a fine could be the least of your worries.
When a person is charged with a DWI there is a possibility that they may reach a plea bargain where they admit to driving dangerously wile under the influence. Because reckless driving charges are generally part of another offense, a significant underlying allegation can result in more severe penalties and incarceration. The state has zero tolerance for drunk drivers. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reasonable resolution.
In cases where a driver is charged with the dual charge of DUI/DWI and reckless driving, there may be a possibility to enter a plea of “wet” reckless driving. It may seem counterintuitive, but a wet reckless conviction could result in lower penalties than a standard DUI/DWI.
One of the primary reasons that people accused of the dual charge may require an experienced criminal defense attorney is because the state prohibits plea bargaining in DWI cases. That being said, Texas law does not prevent attorneys and prosecutors from negotiating a sentencing deal.
When prosecutors see that you have a strong legal defense attorney, they may be more inclined to work out a solution and avoid a trial. The difference between a plea bargain and sentencing arrangement can be quite subtle, but an experienced lawyer can navigate the system. A DUI/DWI conviction can result in thousands of dollars in fines, loss of license and jail time.
Racing and Eluding can Include a Reckless Driving Enhancement
Under the law, drivers who are found racing on public roadways are in violation of racing statutes. This can involve one or more vehicles and may be viewed as a Class B misdemeanor.
But if an open container is present, the incident occurs on a state highway, someone is injured, or the accused is considered a repeat offender, racing can be enhanced to a state jail felony. The state could further the charge by attaching reckless driving. If convicted, you would face hefty fines, confiscation of your vehicle and jail time.
When a driver fails to comply with an officer’s request to pull over, charges of eluding or fleeing can ensue. But in Texas, a driver who flees or does not comply with an officers direction to pull over can also face the additional charge of reckless driving. While you may not have understood the officer’s direction or driven erratically, eluding or fleeing an officer can result in an automatic reckless driving charge.
Texas allows law enforcement broad discretion and a wide range of reasons to charge drivers with reckless driving. If you are charged with reckless driving or wet reckless, it is crucial that you enlist an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend against erroneous allegations. You need to call the experts at Clancy & Clancy at (972) 908-0695