Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale Defines Reckless Driving Under Florida Law

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27th Dec 2016

A criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale often begins his or her representation of a client by looking at the charges that the defendant is facing and explaining them to the client.  Florida law requires specific elements to be proven before a prosecutor can sustain a conviction, including for a crime such as reckless driving.  After analyzing the charges against a defendant, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale can discuss possible defenses and other options.

Florida’s reckless driving law is largely based on the concept of “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others or property.  “Willful” is intentional, knowing and purposeful behavior.  “Wanton” is defined as having a conscious indifference to the consequences and knowing that harm is likely to be caused to others or to property.  These phrases are often broken down to determine whether the defendant knew at the time of the driving that his or her acts were likely to lead to death or great bodily harm.

While many people think that excessive speeds are not synonymous with reckless driving, this is not the case.  Driving at slower speeds can still result in a reckless driving conviction.  Speeding in the absence of other circumstances may not be considered reckless driving.  However, the speed that a person was traveling at is one important consideration in determining whether the defendant’s actions rose to the willful and wanton level described in the statute.

Reckless driving cases are often very fact-specific.  If a person was driving at high speeds down an abandoned road, this is much different than if a person was traveling in a well-populated area.  It is important that a criminal defense lawyer is available to investigate claims of reckless driving in order to prevent wrongful convictions.