Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale Explains Reckless Driving Statute

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19th Oct 2015

Every driver on Florida roadways owes other drivers a duty of acting with ordinary care to avoid accidents.  An accusation of reckless driving can amount to a serious criminal traffic allegation with significant repercussions. However, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale easily develop defenses and challenge to such an allegation since reckless driving requires more than negligence or carelessness.  With the standard of proof being that reckless driving is a wanton or willful disregard for the life and safety of others, the prosecution has an obligation to be able to prove considerable evidence to substantiate such an allegation.

Florida laws seek to punish those individuals who act with such a disregard of human life.  Individuals who cause serious bodily injury due to reckless driving can be convicted of a third degree felony.  This provides for a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  If the bodily injury was not as serious or if the accident only resulted in property damage, the maximum sentence is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine as a result of a first degree misdemeanor.

A criminal defense lawyer can help defend individuals who are charged with this crime.  It is the prosecution’s job to attempt to prove that the defendant acted with such disregard.  A criminal defense lawyer may argue that the prosecution has not met his or her high burden, especially if the acts alleged only rise to the level of negligence.  Carelessness, speeding or being ordinarily negligent are not enough to have criminal culpability under this statute.

Additionally, a criminal defense lawyer can help raise legal defenses that apply.  For example, driving recklessly down an abandoned street likely does not rise to such level because the defendant could not show a disregard for a life that was not there.  A witness may provide an inaccurate assessment of the defendant’s driving.  Finding recklessness often requires a careful analysis of particular facts involved in the case, and a criminal defense lawyer argues why such recklessness was not present.