Most traffic offenses people commit are straightforward, minor and common, such as going 5-10 mph over the speed limit, driving with a burnt-out taillight or parking in the wrong spot. More hazardous violations, such as running a stop sign, qualify as careless driving. This refers to behavior that is irresponsible but not purposely showing a complete lack of concern for the safety of others.
Reckless driving, on the other hand, is the intentional and malicious failure to care about the rights and well-being of others on the road. It entails not showing caution and putting the lives of others in danger. Unfortunately, even if your intentions did not meet that description, your actions and their consequences can still justify the charges.
Examples of reckless driving
Some ways to engage in reckless driving include the following:
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Speeding excessively
- Highway racing
- Driving while drowsy
Reckless driving often leads to major accidents, hence the more severe penalties. Sometimes the only difference between the labels careless and reckless is if you caused an accident and how bad of one. Other considerations are the weather and time of day.
Penalties for reckless driving in North Carolina
The state considers reckless driving to be a Class 2 misdemeanor. If someone dies as a result of the reckless behavior by the wheel, the charges become a Class 1A misdemeanor. If intoxication was a factor, it falls under a felony instead.
Each of these comes with fines and jail time, as well as points on your driver's license, a license suspension or a license revocation. Having a clean driving history prior to this incident may lead to lesser penalties.
Losing your license and going to jail can hurt your employment. The charges will also lead to a rise in your insurance costs. With so much at stake, it is imperative to rely on strong legal counsel.