There is a real problem with reckless driving charges in Georgia. For most people, getting a dismissal of a DUI charge in exchange for a reckless driving conviction is an exceptional “win.” A reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor that does not require a license suspension for a driver over the age of 21 and does not require jail time. Most people believe that a reckless driving charge is a less severe charge than a DUI offense, and many jurors believe that a reckless driving charge is an acceptable middle ground between not guilty of DUI and a complete acquittal.
That sort of “middle ground” verdict can result in dire consequences in vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle cases in Georgia. In a typical misdemeanor DUI trial, a reckless driving conviction may be a welcome verdict for a defendant. However, in a felony vehicular homicide or serious injury by vehicle case, a finding of reckless driving may serve as the basis for a felony conviction. With that background, we need to turn our attention to how we can effectively defend against the charge of reckless driving.
The common perception is that reckless driving just another traffic offense, but in reality, a reckless driving charge is vastly different from a speeding citation or a red light ticket. A reckless driving charge in Georgia requires an allegation that the defendant acted with some level of intent. The intent element of reckless driving charges in Georgia provides the basis for the defense.
Criminal negligence may support the offense of reckless driving, and it is more than the negligence that might render one liable for damages in a civil suit; it is recklessness or carelessness so as to show a disregard of consequences or a heedless indifference for the safety and rights of others who might reasonably be expected to be injured thereby.
Dunagan v. State, 283 Ga. 501, 661 S.E.2d 525 (2008).
Walden v. State, 273 Ga.App. 707, 710-711(1), 616 S.E.2d 462 (2005).
If you have a question about a reckless driving charge in Georgia, a reckless driving vehicular homicide charge, or reckless driving serious injury by vehicle charge, contact Hong & Sessions Law.