Don’t make the mistake of thinking that reckless driving is just like any minor driving infraction. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you could be looking at much more than just a ticket or a fine. You could be charged with reckless driving if you were found driving a vehicle with what’s considered “careless disregard” for property or other people. In Arizona, this is most often associated with swerving, high speeds, tailgating, or other dangerous driving behaviors. If you’ve already been accused, you should consult directly with your criminal defense attorney about your next steps.

Bear in mind that this is one of those situations where you could be facing multiple charges. There’s also a lot of room for interpretation with a reckless driving charge, so a great deal depends on the commentary of any witnesses and the perspective of the officer who stopped you. You need to respond to these allegations by hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about reckless driving charges. Here are the basics of reckless driving.

The Legal Process Associated With Reckless Driving

Even though a police officer will be the individual identifying the offense, the judge is also important. The judge hears your case and determines if there are merits to what the police officer is claiming. Having a strong defense can help you in court.

Possible defenses to an Arizona reckless driving charge include whether or not the officer observed your behavior, whether his or her training was sufficient to truly assess the situation or lack of property or people near you. This last defense is important if the officer alleges your behavior was reckless because the inability to harm others or property could play into the severity of any punishments.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Arizona

Reckless driving charge is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona.  You are most likely looking at up to 4 months in jail or a fine up to $750 plus mandatory surcharges. The specific facts of your case and the  criminal defense attorney you select can have a big impact on what your penalties look like, so it pays to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you have been charged.

The penalties can be much more severe if you have other convictions on your record. If you have convictions on your record in the past 24 months related to negligent homicide with a car, racing, DUI, extreme DUI, aggravated DUI, manslaughter with a car, or other reckless driving charges, you could be looking at a minimum of 20 days in jail with a possibility of additional time in jail. You may also have to surrender your driver’s license. Reckless driving charges could also influence your insurance rates, so it’s a wise move to get an attorney who takes your defense seriously so as to minimize the negative fallout from a conviction.

Regardless of your record, it’s important to hire an experienced  criminal defense attorney to handle your case so that your rights are protected in court. Having a strong defense is the best possible preparation for limiting penalties.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.