16th Dec 2015
Being convicted of reckless driving can impact your freedom and your ability to retain a driver’s license in Florida. A criminal defense attorney in Broward County fights to protect the rights of criminal defendants charged with offenses such as reckless driving. A criminal defense attorney in Broward County begins his or her assessment of a case by looking at the criminal statute involved and analyzing the case in this context.
The criminal statute contains two elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the defendant to be convicted:
- The defendant was driving a motor vehicle; and
- He or she did so with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.
The first element is not usually in question, but if it is, an attorney can address this issue. The second element is usually the one in question in reckless driving cases.
Reckless driving under Florida law is not synonymous with negligence. Instead, the driver’s conduct must be intentional, knowing or purposeful. Alternatively, the defendant can be convicted of the charge if he or she acted in such a conscious and intentional disregard to the consequences while knowing that such harm could likely be caused to people or property because of his actions.
Fleeing from a police officer is considered reckless driving per se. Otherwise, the judge or jury decides whether the defendant’s conduct amounted to recklessness. In order to make this determination, the judge or jury can analyze the actual actions of the defendant in the context of the situation. One defendant may be found to have acted recklessly in one situation while another defendant who conducted the same actions may be found not guilty due to different circumstances. The judge or jury can also weigh the defendant’s foreseeability that property damage, bodily harm or death could occur.