Despite being labeled a “motor vehicle violation,” a charge of reckless driving should be treated as seriously as any other criminal offense because the consequences of a conviction are quite severe. To make matters worse, it is not always easy to determine what exactly constitutes “reckless” driving.
WHAT IS RECKLESS DRIVING?
In Connecticut, recklessness is generally defined as the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. It is more than negligence. Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §14-222, in order to be convicted of the charge of reckless driving, the State would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- An operator of a motor vehicle was traveling at a rate of speed that endangered the life of someone other than the operator;
- An operator of a vehicle registered commercially was “Coasting” downhill (with the clutch or gears disengaged);
- A person was operating a motor vehicle with a “defective mechanism.”
For example, if you were traveling on a narrow, rural road in Cromwell at a high rate of speed and near pedestrians, you may be charged with reckless driving under number “1” above. Your Connecticut reckless driving attorney may be able to evaluate the facts of your particular case and argue that your operation of the motor vehicle was not reckless according to how that term is defined in Connecticut.
Furthermore, it a per se violation of the Connecticut reckless driving statute to operate a motor vehicle on a Connecticut highway or road at faster than 85 mph. If you travel 86 mph on Interstate 91 in Middletown, you may be arrested and convicted for reckless driving based on speed alone. Your Middletown reckless driving attorney may be able to challenge the results of the radar or laser detector the police officer used and get the charges dismissed.
CONNECTICUT ATTORNEYS WHO DEFEND AGAINST CHARGES OF RECKLESS DRIVING
The penalties for a conviction of reckless driving can be significant and costly. First, the law allows the court to impose a fine of between $100 and $300 dollars for a first offense. Second, and, perhaps most importantly, if you are convicted or pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving, the law allows the court to impose a sentence of up to 30 days in jail for a first offense and up to one year in prison for any subsequent offense.
A conviction for reckless driving will also trigger an automatic license suspension by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles: 30 to 90 days for a first violation, and at least 90 days for any subsequent violation.
If you have been arrested for reckless driving in Middletown, Vernon, Rockville, Tolland, Hartford, New Haven, Cromwell, or any other town in the State of Connecticut, you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney to help mitigate or avoid any of these potentially devastating consequences if possible. At Aeton Law Partners, our criminal defense attorneys handle reckless driving matters. We may be able to present a defense to your charges and possibly get the charges dismissed or “nolled” or negotiate a more favorable resolution.
ARE THERE “PROGRAMS” FOR RECKLESS DRIVING?
Like other criminal charges, Connecticut does provide the opportunity to participate in its Pretrial Diversionary Programs for a charge of reckless driving. The most common diversionary program is referred to as Accelerated Rehabilitation. If eligible, and if the court approves the application, your charges may be dismissed upon successful completion of the program, which may consist of community service or other conditions.
Oftentimes, a charge of reckless driving will be accompanied by other charges as well, such as the risk of injury to a minor or drug charges. In some cases, the prosecutor may allow a defendant to use the program for the reckless driving charge and drop the other charges upon successful completion of the program. Your Connecticut criminal defense attorney may be able to successfully negotiate your charges with the prosecutor.
Call Aeton Law Partners to schedule a consultation if you have been arrested for Reckless Driving in Middletown, Hartford, Vernon, Rockville, Cromwell, New Haven, Rocky Hill, Manchester, East Hartford or any Connecticut town.