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Charlotte Law Blog

What is Considered Reckless Driving in NC?

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Car Accidents on Tuesday, October 30, 2018


A traffic lawyer should be your first call when confronted by a reckless driving charge. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Charlotte, North Carolina, contact Randall & Stump, PLLC to discuss your case. Traffic infractions are fairly commonplace, so it can be easy to assume they’re “not that big a deal.” An attorney from our firm will make sure you don’t pay a steep price for something that seems inconsequential. To schedule a free initial consultation today, call (980) 237-4579 or use our online contact form.

What Is Reckless Driving?

If you’re pulled over for speeding, you may think you’re only in danger of getting a ticket. While it’s true that you will get a speeding ticket, you could face additional, harsher penalties if your driving is considered reckless, which can be based solely on how fast you were going.

Under North Carolina law, driving can be declared reckless in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, in a number of situations. While your speed is can be enough by itself, there are numerous other factors that could qualify your driving as reckless under the law. A charge of reckless driving carries stiff penalties. You may face increased fines, license revocation, and even jail time. In addition, your reckless driving will lead to even harsher punishments, if you were also arrested for Driving While Impaired at the time.

What Makes Your Driving Reckless Under North Carolina Law?

North Carolina requires all drivers to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Generally speaking, drivers are entitled to use the roads without fearing for their lives. Under North Carolina law, you can be charged with reckless driving in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County if:

  • You were driving “carelessly or heedlessly;”
  • You were driving with “wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others;”
  • You were driving “without due caution and circumspection;” or
  • You were driving at a “speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.”

Each of these factors requires objective analysis. Whether or not your driving was reckless will have to be determined based on the specific facts in your case. In determining whether you were driving recklessly, a judge may consider such factors as:

  • The amount and behavior of other traffic;
  • Whether other drivers had to take evasive action to avoid an accident;
  • Weather conditions, including wind, rain, or low visibility;
  • Evidence indicating the amount of attention you were paying to the road (for example, texts or phone calls made while driving); and
  • The speed at which you were driving.

Penalties For Reckless Driving in Charlotte

Reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. The maximum fine for such an offense is $1,000. Additionally, you may face up to 30 days in jail, for your first offense. If you have previous convictions on your record, your potential jail sentence increases to 60 days. You may lose your license for a reckless driving conviction, but only in a few specific situations, including if you:

  • Were going over 55 miles per hour, and over 15 miles per hour faster than the speed limit;
  • Were driving more than 80 miles per hour; or
  • Have at least one prior conviction in the last 12 months.

A conviction of reckless driving in Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas will add four points to your license, as well as probably increasing your insurance rates.

Talk to an Attorney About Your Reckless Driving Charge Today

If you’ve been accused of driving recklessly in Charlotte, it’s a smart move to discuss your situation with an attorney. Randall & Stump, PLLC can assist you with your Mecklenburg County reckless driving case. One of our lawyers will be able to help you decide how best to proceed. Every case is unique. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your circumstances today. To speak with a Charlotte lawyer, fill out our online contact form, or call us at (980) 237-4579.