Reckless Driving: What Does That Mean?
We all have an idea of what “reckless” means in a conversation, but what does it mean when referring to the driving offense? Different states and localities have different definitions, but a common theme is the disregard for the safety of persons or property. Michigan, for example, sets the bar pretty high, requiring “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Other states like Alaska use a similar definition, but word it differently, ie, driving in such a way that creates an “unjustifiable risk of harm to a person or to property.”
The exact wording is important because if push comes to shove, you or your attorney will need to compare what happened on the road to the applicable definition when pitching your case to a judge or jury. In some states, the definition gives a defense attorney a lot to work with. For example, when making a closing argument to a jury, I might argue, “did my client willfully endanger anyone? Did he do this intentionally? Of course not!” I stress that the speed at which a person drove, even if it was 100+ mph, doesn’t necessarily mean a person disregarded the safety of others. Similarly, even if a person drove a car through a garage door, it doesn’t mean the act was intentional. Of course, the prosecutor will counter with arguments like “intent can be gleaned from one’s actions” etc., but that’s their job.
If you are charged with reckless driving, and want an attorney to argue passionately on your behalf, you should contact a traffic violations lawyer like our friends at The Law Office of Paul C. Youngs for further guidance.