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Have you been pulled over in your vehicle and charged with the crime of reckless driving in Washington, DC? You may think that your driving behavior, which led to the charge, was not of the nature that would be considered to be reckless, dangerous, or even careless. You might even be shocked to think that you have breached or broken the law at the time you were pulled over for reckless driving.
However, you must be aware that Reckless Driving in the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) is a serious criminal charge that can have serious, negative consequences which can impact your driving privileges, your car and life insurance rates, your employment/career, and your daily life, in general.
In fact, when charged with Reckless Driving in DC, you could find yourself actually facing potential jail time, license suspension, and/or harsh monetary fines that can lead to more serious problems in your life.
In the District of Columbia, a finding of guilt/a conviction for Reckless Driving can be punishable by the imposition of at least three (3) months in jail-for a first offense and possibly up to one year in jail-for second or third offenses, in addition to possible fines from $500 up to $3,000.
A conviction for Reckless Driving in the District of Columbia will also result in the imposition of 12 points (the maximum) for DC-licensed drivers. However, since the District of Columbia is a signatory to ( a part of/adheres to) the Driver’s License Compact, other states, too, will learn of a conviction of Reckless Driving in the District of Columbia, and they will impose their own administrative penalties, such as license suspension.
DC Reckless Driving Laws
Under District of Columbia Code, you can be charged with the offense of Reckless Driving if it’s believed that you drove carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights and safety of others, or if you drove without due caution and circumspection and in a way to endanger people or property.
This definition of reckless driving under DC law is very broad, therefore police officers and prosecutors have a significant amount of liberty when determining that a reckless driving offense is appropriate. It’s in the interpretation of this law that an experienced defense attorney can dispute and argue for dismissal of the charges. A skilled defense attorney can often suggest that the officer was mistaken, or overly aggressive in applying these vague statutes.
District of Columbia Reckless Driving Punishment
The punishment you face for being charged with the offense of reckless driving in DC depends will vary, especially if you’ve been charged with reckless driving previously:
|Reckless Driving – First Offense||Up to 3 months in jail and $500 in fines|
|Reckless Driving – Second Offense||Up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|Reckless Driving – Third Offense||Up to 1 year in jail and $3,000 in fines|
Ref: DC Code §50-2201.04
In addition to these penalties, you could lose your license.
If your reckless driving results in the injury of another person, there is a mandatory suspension that typically lasts 6 months.
However, your license can be suspended even in situations where no injury resulted. For example, if you have accumulated more than 10 points on your license or if you drive over 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, it is within the discretionary power of the District of Columbia to suspend your driving privileges.
Once you are notified of a pending suspension, you only have 10 days to challenge the proceedings. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to a occupational license (restricted license), allowing you to at least drive to and from work. It is highly encouraged, for these reasons, that you hire an attorney who can make arguments on your behalf to ensure that you are, at the least, able to obtain the occupational/restricted license.
Furthermore, when you’re faced with potential jail time, fines, and a suspension of your driving privileges, you need to have confidence that someone is looking out for your best interests.
If you are facing a reckless driving misdemeanor charge or any motor vehicle traffic offense in the District of Columbia, you need fast, accurate answers about your situation and the best way to proceed. The defense attorneys at Ervin Kibria understand your concerns and your sense of urgency in dealing with a difficult situation.
The consequences for Reckless Driving:
Clients who reach out to us concerning a reckless driving arrest often share common questions. In most cases, our clients want to know whether they will go to jail if they are convicted of reckless driving. Answering this question depends entirely on your speed, the location in which you were driving, and the circumstances around you during that time. Speaking to an experienced traffic attorney is the only way to provide appropriate insight into your case and the possibility for jail time.
An aggressive defense:
The consequences of a reckless driving charge often depend on having an experienced lawyer to represent you. At Ervin Kibria, we have the necessary experience to aggressively investigate, defend and challenge the charges. If you are facing a reckless driving or other serious traffic offense, contact the attorneys at Ervin Kibria today to thoroughly discuss your case and make a determination on whether an attorney is needed in your particular case.
Nabeel Kibria is a principal attorney of Ervin Kibria PLLC, representing clients in criminal and immigration matters throughout DC.