Reckless driving is a criminal traffic offense in the District of Columbia that is a misdemeanor. Penalties for conviction can result in jail time, fines, driver’s license points, and in some cases license revocation. Like most traffic crimes, the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General prosecutes reckless driving cases in DC. In most cases, an individual arrested for reckless driving in DC will be released at the police station with a citation to appear in court.
What is reckless driving in DC?
Unlike other states, like Virginia, where reckless driving is a defined speeding offense (like going more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit), DC law defines reckless driving as:
When a defendant drives “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others,” or “without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger a person or property.”
That could involve a combination of bad driving: speeding, running a light, swerving, etc. A more serious crime in DC is aggravated reckless driving, which is defined as reckless driving according to the above definition but also (1) speeding over the limit 30 or more miles per hour; (3) causing bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another person; or (3) causing property damage over $1,000.00.
What is the maximum penalty for reckless driving in DC?
The maximum penalty for reckless driving in DC is 90 days in jail and/or a $500.00 fine. For aggravated reckless driving, the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Increased penalties exist under DC law for repeat offenders. A judge may sentence a defendant based on a variety of factors in a reckless driving case. Jail time could be a real possibility in egregious cases or with repeat offenders.
Does reckless driving in DC carry points on one’s driver’s license?
Aggravated reckless driving carries 12 points in DC. That means a conviction for aggravated reckless driving will lead to an immediate revocation of a defendant’s driver’s license. However, a conviction for just reckless driving leads to 6 points at the DC DMV, which would not cause a suspension or revocation of one’s license.
Is it possible to get a “wet reckless” in DC after a DUI arrest?
States like Virginia have popularized the term “wet reckless.” A “wet reckless” is where an individual gets arrested for DUI and the government agrees to a plea to reckless driving. Such a plea can help the defendant avoid many of the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. However, in DC, it is extremely rare for a prosecutor to agree to have a defendant plea to reckless driving when arrested for a DUI in DC.
What conduct is considered “reckless” under DC law for a reckless driving charge?
Reckless driving is a more subjective crime to prove than speed over 30. There is no set conduct that constitutes reckless driving. In general, the government must prove that the person arrested was driving and that person’s driving posed a danger to another person or property in the community.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for reckless driving, its critical that you contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Contact Scrofano Law PC today and ask for a full case evaluation.