What Is Reckless Driving?

Driving Dangerously Can Lead to a Criminal Conviction

Reckless driving endangers other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even other property. Because of the threat it poses to public safety, it is a criminal traffic offense. Ohio law defines it as operating any vehicle on a street or highway in blatant disregard of the wellbeing of the general public and their property.

Common examples of reckless driving include:

  • Ignoring traffic signs
  • Illegal passing
  • Racing
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving between lanes

Courts will consider the conditions of the road when reaching a verdict regarding whether a person’s was reckless. Prosecutors could consider the weather, time of day, and traffic.

Most frequently, to be convicted of reckless driving, a driver must knowingly or intentionally endanger others.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

Penalties for reckless driving become harsher with each subsequent conviction. Convicted drivers face:

  • First offense: Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $150
  • Second offense within one year: Fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail.
  • Third offense within one year: Third-degree misdemeanor punishably by a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.

What Is Wet Reckless Driving?

When a reckless driving offense involves alcohol, it is considered wet reckless driving. It’s distinct from a DUI, and is often the result of a plea for a lesser charge. Other times, drivers may be convicted of a wet reckless driving charge rather than a DUI because:

  • The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was near, but still under, .08%
  • The prosecutor had insufficient evidence to purse a DUI conviction

While the penalties for a wet reckless driving offense are less severe than those that arise from DUI convictions, they can still be devastating. Drivers could face:

  • First traffic offence: Minor misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $100.
  • Second traffic offense within one year: Fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail.
  • Third traffic offense within one year: Third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.

These penalties are severe, but you do not need to passively accept them. If you’ve been arrested for reckless driving, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC. Our attorneys will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us online or at (937) 403-9033 to discuss your case.

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