In Colorado, reckless driving is a serious driving offense that can significantly impact your life. From hefty fines and the potential loss of your driver’s license to possible jail time, it’s important to take reckless driving charges seriously.
At WeedenLaw, we understand the complexities of Colorado’s traffic laws. In this post, our criminal defense attorneys will cover key aspects of reckless driving, the potential consequences, and the strategies we use when fighting against reckless driving charges.
What is Reckless Driving in Colorado?
Colorado laws define reckless driving as more than just simple negligence or a minor traffic violation; it involves a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others on the road. When a person operates their motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in a careless and imprudent manner, they put other drivers and motorists at risk.
Reckless driving is commonly characterized by aggressive, dangerous, or negligent driving behaviors. Not only can these behaviors result in a reckless driving ticket, but the driver also increases their risk of causing a motor vehicle accident.
Common examples of reckless driving include:
- Excessive speeding that is much higher than the posted speed limit
- Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely
- Running red lights or stop signs without slowing down or stopping
- Passing other cars in no-passing zones
- Overtaking other vehicles on the shoulder of the road
- Dangerous driving maneuvers like street racing or aggressive weaving in and out of traffic
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving actions like texting or talking on the phone
- Ignoring warnings or signals from law enforcement or other traffic control devices
- Driving recklessly in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or fog
Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1401
Reckless driving in Colorado is a serious traffic offense defined by Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1401. Under this statute, reckless driving is characterized as operating a vehicle in such a manner as to suggest a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others or their property. This means that reckless driving goes beyond simple negligence; it involves engaging in behaviors or actions while driving that display a conscious disregard for the risks and consequences.
Careless Driving vs. Reckless Driving
Both careless and reckless driving creates substantial risks for all motorists on the road, but the two are not one and the same. Careless driving, often from momentary distractions or inattentiveness, can lead to minor accidents and traffic infractions.
Reckless driving, on the other hand, is a more serious offense characterized by a deliberate and extreme disregard for the safety of others on the road. Behaviors like excessive speeding, street racing, or running red lights without concern for consequences fall under reckless driving.
Whether it’s careless or reckless driving, these behaviors can lead to legal consequences, but reckless driving carries more severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.
Can You Get Arrested for Reckless Driving in Colorado?
You can get arrested for reckless driving in Colorado. Law enforcement officers can arrest individuals who engage in reckless driving behaviors.
If arrested and charged with reckless driving, individuals may face legal consequences, including fines, potential imprisonment, and possibly having their driver’s license suspended or revoked.
What are the Penalties for a Reckless Driving Conviction in CO?
A reckless driver could face penalties including fines, license suspension, points on their driving record, mandatory defensive driving courses, and even the long-term impact on insurance premiums.
A person’s first reckless driving conviction can result in a jail sentence between 10 to 90 days. They can also be forced to pay $300 in fines. The penalties for a person’s second or subsequent conviction for reckless driving include a jail sentence ranging from 10 days to 6 months and fines of up to $1,000.
Serious traffic offenses like reckless driving will also result in a habitual traffic offender strike. When a person is convicted of three major traffic offenses within seven years, they will have their driver’s license suspended for seven years.
Since Colorado is one of the states that uses a points system to track motorists’ driving records, reckless driving can also negatively impact the number of points a driver has. These points range from 1 to 12 points and can result in a suspended license.
For example, if a person is convicted of reckless driving, their driving record will increase by eight points, while a careless driving conviction will add only four points. Drivers 21 years or older will have their license suspended if they acquire 12 points or more within 12 months or 18 or more points within 24 months.
How Long Do Reckless Driving Charges Stay On Your Record?
Reckless driving charges will remain on your criminal record forever. While the points added to your driving record will fall off between 12 to 24 months, the conviction will not.
Misdemeanor charges like reckless driving recklessly can affect a person’s opportunities for the remainder of their life. It can limit your job and housing options and can even make it difficult for you to purchase a new motor vehicle. These consequences are why it’s important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing a conviction for this traffic offense.
Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Reckless Driving?
The penalties and lasting consequences are too severe to handle these charges alone. An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in helping you fight reckless driving charges. They bring legal resources, knowledge of applicable laws, and courtroom experience to your defense.
Your criminal defense attorney from WeedenLaw will assess the evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a strategic defense strategy tailored to your situation. They can also negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or penalties and represent your interests in court.
Working with an experienced attorney from WeedenLaw greatly improves your chances of receiving lower fines, keeping your license, and even having the charges dismissed.
Call a Denver Reckless Driving Defense Attorney at WeedenLaw Today
If you’re facing criminal charges for reckless driving, don’t hesitate to take action to protect your rights and future. At WeedenLaw, our experienced reckless driving defense attorneys are ready to provide you with legal guidance and aggressive representation.
We understand the serious consequences that reckless driving convictions can bring, and we’re committed to helping you navigate the legal process effectively. Call WeedenLaw at (720) 307-4330 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our Denver criminal defense attorneys today.