Finding yourself charged with reckless driving can leave you searching for legal help. Understanding the aspects of a reckless driving charge, along with having the right attorney in your corner can help alleviate some of the stress involved with your Utah Reckless Driving traffic violation. This article will help you learn the basics of the law and the steps you should take after receiving that Utah reckless driving
WHAT IS A UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING VIOLATION?
Reckless driving can be understood differently, and may end up being what the jury decides it is. This can either be a good or bad thing depending on your circumstances, and hiring a utah reckless driving attorney can help you navigate the different scenarios you may encounter in your legal journey. However, generally reckless driving is a driving pattern where you commit three or more traffic offenses within three miles . Utah Reckless Driving is defined by Utah Code as:
(1) A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle:
(a) in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(b) while committing three or more moving traffic violations under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic Code, in a series of acts occurring within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance.
(2) A person who violates Subsection (1) is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Utah Code: 41-6a-528.
The three qualifying offenses also must be traffic offenses, not drug possession, domestic violence or interference with a police officer.
WHAT SPEED IS CONSIDERED UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING?
The Utah reckless driving statute does not specifically mention any required speed needed to constitute the conduct reckless driving. Instead, the statute states it is reckless driving to “willful[ly] or wanton[ly]” disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Going 100 miles per hour on the I-15 could constitute reckless driving, but going 50 miles per hour in a school zone could also constitute reckless driving because it could be seen by a jury to be a “willful” and “wanton” disregard for the safety of the school children.
RECKLESS DRIVING EXAMPLE:
In a three mile strip you weave over one solid white line, are found to be speeding and then jump the curb. These three or more traffic violations in a three mile section can qualify you for a reckless driving conviction.
YOUR POSSIBLE DEFENSE AGAINST UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING: Due to the modern day dash camera footage and body cameras worn by officers, one defense is that the required 3 traffic violations did not occur within the 3 mile period. You can calculate how fast the officer is going, the time elapsed and try to see if there are factual discrepancies.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I GET A UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING CITATION?
Generally, you will be cited and released with a promise to appear when you are charged with reckless driving. Further, it is unlikely that you will be sentenced to jail time on your first offense. After you are cited by the police, you will need to schedule a court date within 14 days or your reckless driving attorney can do it for you. If you fail to schedule a reckless driving court hearing, a bench warrant will issue for your arrest and your driver’s license will be revoked for failure to appear. This is why you need to act fast in retaining a Utah Reckless Driving Attorney to avoid further legal issues.
UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING PENALTIES:
A conviction for Utah Reckless Driving is a Class B Misdemeanor. As of 2021, reckless driving carries a recommended bail schedule fine of $680. Unfortunately, it takes a 4 year waiting period from the time your complete your probation period to even consider expungement of your reckless driving criminal conviction. See this article about how and when to qualify for a reckless driving expungement:
UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING DRIVERS LICENSE POINTS:
Reckless driving carries 80 points on your Utah driver’s license. This is considered a serious mark on your driving privileges. An under 21 Utah driver who accumulates 70 or more points in three years may have their license suspended. Reckless driving carriers 80 points and so your driver’s license will be in jeopardy. An adult driver over 21 years old who accumulates 200 or more points in three years is also up for a suspension period. Adults can take traffic school and get 50 points off their points-record.If you drive one year without any traffic violations, ½ of your points will automatically drop off of your record. If you drive 2 years without any traffic violations, all your points will drop off of your record.
FIRST TIME UTAH RECKLESS DRIVING VIOLATION
First time reckless driving offenders can, with the right attorney, get charges reduced to speeding, or enter into a Plea in Abeyance. To understand Pleas in Abeyance read the following article here:
In essence, Pleas in Abeyance can help you get the entire case dismissed if you successfully complete a determined probationary period. Successfully completing your probationary period means paying your traffic fine, and committing to avoid getting any other traffic or criminal charges, as well as attending traffic school.
However, even if you are a first time offender on a reckless driving charge, it does not guarantee you will automatically be eligible for a Plea in Abeyance. Prosecutors and police officers often find reckless driving offenses to particularly endanger the public. As a result, they can be harsher on reckless driving offenses than first time drug possession.
ENHANCEABLE RECKLESS DRIVING:
Reckless Driving is enhanceable. Meaning, that your Reckless Driving conviction can be used to bolster the criminal sentencing against you in any subsequent DUI or Impaired Driving offense. Fighting off this possible future enhancement matters. This aspect of a reckless driving citation is just another reason why you want to retain a Utah Reckless Driver Attorney.
SHOULD I START WITH HIRING A LAWYER FOR RECKLESS DRIVING?
The costs of hiring a Utah reckless driving defense attorney could be more affordable than you think. Sometimes, the alleged reckless driving can be resolved down to a speeding violation at the first hearing. Utah does not count speeding violations on your criminal record.
Your attorney costs to hire a reckless driving attorney goes up when you need to conduct a jury trial. Most of the time, local prosecuting attorneys are not interested in a jury trial over a traffic offense because of the costs to the city.
Hiring the right Utah reckless driving attorney is very important. Hiring an Utah criminal defense attorney who has the skill and experience to try a matter to a jury or court matters. Whether your driving conduct constitutes Reckless Driving is ultimately left to the judge or the jury.
CALL RECKLESS DRIVING ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER AT(801) 373-6345 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION REGARDING YOUR RECKLESS DRIVING OFFENSE.