Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor in Arizona, punishable by jail time (although rare) and fines. If convicted, defendants will have to deal with numerous negative ramifications, including not only the actual penalties and infringement on their freedoms, but also a potential ripple effect on their job, and finances.
Arizona Reckless Driving Laws
Arizona Revised Statutes §28-693 provides a straightforward definition of reckless driving: “A person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”
This may include any number of actions, such as:
- failing to yield at a traffic light or stop sign;
- passing another vehicle on the shoulder of the road;
- changing lanes in an unsafe manner;
- tailgating; and
- failing to yield right-of-way to another driver, pedestrian or cyclists.
The manner in which the state will classify the crime depends upon whether it’s the offender’s first or subsequent offense. If it’s your first offense, the charges will be considered a class 2 misdemeanor. If this is not the first time you’ve been charged with reckless driving in the last two years, the charges will be upgraded to a class 1 misdemeanor.
Potential Penalties for Reckless Driving
In Arizona, class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by up to four months in jail, a $750 fine and a 90-day license suspension. Class 1 misdemeanors, a more serious charge, have stiffer penalties, including up to:
- six months’ jail time;
- a $2,500 fine; and
- driver’s license revocation.
Furthermore, if your reckless driving charge is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, then there will be a minimum jail sentence that you’ll be required to serve. A.R.S 28-693(D)(2) provides: “The person is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release on any basis until the person has served not less than twenty days in jail.”
Avenues of Defense against Reckless Driving Charges
Defenses against reckless driving charges depend upon the nature of the incident in question. In some instances, reckless driving charges are a plea bargain in lieu of DUI charges. If this is the case, your lawyer can discuss the pros and cons of accepting this plea.
In other cases, it may be that your lawyer will be able to show that the actions weren’t actually reckless in nature. Perhaps your attorney can show the actions should be considered as merely aggressive driving, a lesser offense.
Another possible defense is to show that your actions did not endanger anyone or anyone’s property. Perhaps your Miranda rights were violated, or the police investigators made mistakes with procedures or reporting. In any event, hire a counselor with experience handling reckless driving cases so that he or she can find a defense strategy that works best in your favor.
Fighting Reckless Driving Charges in Tucson
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Tucson, Michael Harwin can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation: 520-624-3500.