What Constitutes Reckless Driving?
In early January, a 17-year-old was driving a stolen vehicle in North Carolina when he ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle. According to WFMY News, the driver left the scene of the crime but was arrested after law enforcement tracked him down on foot. The young man faces multiple charges, including reckless driving.
Not every incident involving reckless driving will involve a hit-and-run as serious as this. However, the charge can still carry some hefty penalties, which is why Carolinas residents should understand how and when it is applied.
Defining the Charge
According to South Carolina statute, reckless driving occurs when people drive a vehicle in any manner that would indicate a wanton or willful disregard of safety. In other words, the driver must be knowingly acting in a negligent manner. North Carolina has a similar law in place. Types of offenses that could constitute reckless driving include the following:
- Excessive speed for the conditions of the road or environment
- Driving the wrong way down a one-way street
- Driving a vehicle that the motorist knows is faulty
Passing a school bus could also be considered reckless driving. The South Carolina statute notes that a driver who is cautiously driving past a school bus with its lights on may only face a simple charge and not reckless driving. The charge could be elevated to reckless driving if the motorist speeds past the bus without regard to any children or people who may be in the area.
Consequences of Reckless Driving
South Carolina drivers will receive a $445 fine for a reckless driving ticket; in North Carolina, that fine could be as much as $1,000. Both states can penalize motorists by sentencing them to time in prison, and both states will apply points to a driver’s license.
In South Carolina, a reckless driving ticket merits 6 points on a license, which is half the amount of points necessary for a license suspension. In cases in which people have more than one reckless driving offense within a five-year period, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles can automatically suspend the driver’s license.
Lastly, according to a recent report in Forbes magazine, a reckless driving ticket can increase an automobile insurance premium by as much as 22 percent. The report notes that reckless driving actually leads insurance spikes over every other single-incident driving offense, including drunk driving charges.
People who are facing any traffic offense may want to fight the ticket. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP we understand the serious consequences associated with even seemingly minor tickets. Our attorneys have a track record of successfully reducing and dismissing charges, and we can help motorists navigate the legal system.