Driving recklessly is a misdemeanor in California. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23103, a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
This crime is more than just a traffic ticket. Being convicted of reckless driving can result in a 90-day jail sentence along with a fine up to one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). A reckless driving conviction can also result in your driver’s license to be suspended.
Being a bad driver doesn’t necessarily result in a reckless driving charge, nor does getting into an accident. The crime has specific elements that need to be proven by the prosecutor. It must be proven that you were driving in wanton disregard for safety. You act with wanton disregard for safety when (1) you are aware that your actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm, and (2) you intentionally ignore that risk. You do not, however, have to intend to cause damage.
The punishment for reckless driving is arguably unjust. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you can face up to 90-days in jail and a fine up to one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). This does not include the penalty assessment fees that the court adds on.
You will also receive 2 points on your driving record. This can lead to your driver’s license being suspended.
The defendant is charged with reckless driving in violation of Vehicle Code section 23103.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:
- The defendant drove a vehicle (on a highway/in an off-street parking facility); AND
- The defendant intentionally drove with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
A person acts with wanton disregard for safety when (1) he or she is aware that his or her actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm, and (2) he or she intentionally ignores that risk. The person does not, however, have to intend to cause damage.
[If you conclude that the defendant drove faster than the legal speed limit, that fact by itself does not establish that the defendant drove with wanton disregard for safety. You may consider the defendant’s speed, along with all the surrounding circumstances, in deciding whether the defendant drove with wanton disregard for safety.]
[A vehicle is a device by which people or things may be moved on a road or highway. A vehicle does not include a device that is moved only by human power or used only on stationary rails or tracks.]
[The term highway describes any area publicly maintained and open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel, and includes a street.]
[The term[s] (vehicle/ [and] highway) (is/are) defined in another instruction to which you should refer.]
[An off-street parking facility is an off-street facility open for use by the public for parking vehicles. It includes a facility open to retail customers, where no fee is charged for parking.]
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in California. If you are charged with reckless driving, the following is what the jury will be instructed and the elements that the prosecutor must prove in order to convict you. If you’re charged with reckless driving, call an Orange County reckless driving attorney at the Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan | OC Legal Defense at (714) 248-DOAN (3626) today. I will help you get your case dismissed.