7th Apr 2017
When facing charges for reckless driving, many defendants contact a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale for assistance. A criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale can explain what the prosecution must prove in order to secure a conviction against the defendant and how the defense can challenge the prosecution’s theory.
Elements of Reckless Driving
The first element of a reckless driving charge is relatively straightforward and not too difficult for the prosecution to prove: that the defendant was driving a motor vehicle at the time of the offense. Most of the contested part of a reckless driving charge comes with the second element: the defendant drove the vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others or damage to property.
Establishing Willful or Wanton Disregard
Establishing the second element is often a fact-intensive inquiry. Juries can look at the actions of the defendant, surrounding circumstances and the reasonable predictability that death, serious bodily harm or property damage would be the likely result. To satisfy this element, the prosecution must show more than that the defendant was just ordinarily negligent. Instead, it must establish that the defendant acted in a knowing or purposeful manner. Additionally, it must establish that the defendant was indifferent to the likely harm that his or her actions would cause.
A criminal defense lawyer is often tasked with the difficult task of establishing how the defendant’s conduct did not rise to the level stated in the statute. The prosecutor has the burden of proof of establishing the defendant committed the elements of the crime. A criminal defense lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and challenge evidence to represent the client’s interests and to lodge a zealous defense.