What is Reckless Driving in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina General Statute 20-140 , Reckless Driving is when you are driving either " . . . carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others" or ". . . without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property." But what does that really mean? In simple terms, it is would be reckless driving to be swerving all over the road or weaving in and out of traffic; however, merely traveling at a high rate of speed can constitute reckless driving as well.
Many drivers are surprised to see that they have been charged with reckless driving in addition to speeding. While speeding in North Carolina can be a simple infraction, reckless driving is actually a Class 2 Misdemeanor charge. This Class 2 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, suspension of your license for up to 12 months, and a fine up to $1,000. You do not want to take the risk of handling this type of charge on your own. To avoid accumulating costly driver's license and insurance points, you should consult our Shelby, North Carolina Traffic Attorneys.
Do I have to appear in court for Reckless Driving in Cleveland County?
Typically, you must personally appear in court when charged with reckless driving. However, depending on your individual circumstances, we may be able to appear on your behalf to handle your case. Specifically, if you live out of state or a distance away from our courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, our experienced Cleveland County Traffic Attorneys can likely appear for you in court. Contact one of our attorneys to see if you are eligible for a waiver of appearance.
Do I need an attorney to handle my Reckless Driving Charge in court in Shelby, North Carolina?
Reckless driving is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. You should always consult an attorney before pleading to a reckless driving charge as it can cause your insurance premiums to increase drastically and will add at 4 points to your driver's license. With the help of our Shelby, NC Traffic Lawyers, we can work with the Cleveland County District Attorney's office and the court to get your charges reduced and sentenced in a way that will not have as serious of an effect on your driver's license or insurance points.
What are my options for handling my Reckless Driving Charge in Cleveland County?
Your options with the District Court in Shelby, North Carolina will vary depending upon the circumstances surrounding your citation for Reckless Driving. If you were charged with Reckless Driving in Cleveland County, North Carolina due to an accident that you were involved in, we may be able to get the charge dismissed upon providing the District Attorney with proof that your insurance company has covered all claims against you. On the other hand, we may be able to obtain a reduction to a lesser offense such as unsafe movement, which carries less points on your license and insurance. Finally, we may be able to obtain a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) on the Reckless Driving Charge with the Judge if you have a North Carolina Class C Driver's License. A PJC will protect you from receiving any points on your license or insurance from this violation. To obtain such a reduction or suspension of points, the court will most likely require that you complete a defensive driving course. You would be required to attend this course in person; however, so long as it is an approved driving course, you would be permitted to attend this course wherever it is convenient for you, even outside of the state of North Carolina.
It is very likely that if you obtained a Reckless Driving Charge in Cleveland County, North Carolina that this charge was accompanied by a speeding ticket where you have been cited for traveling in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit. This is a very common charge in Cleveland County. If you have been charged with speeding and reckless driving, depending upon your speed, we may be able to get the Reckless Driving Charge dismissed and the speeding charge reduced so that the charges have minimal impact on your license and insurance. We may also be able to get your speeding charge completely dismissed in exchange for you pleading guilty to Reckless Driving and also obtain for you a PJC on the Reckless Driving Charge so that you will not receive any insurance points or license points.
Will my reckless driving charge cause my auto insurance rates to increase?
If you are convicted of Reckless Driving in North Carolina and do not receive a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC ) on the charge, you will have 4 points assessed to your insurance. These points will likely increase your insurance premiums substantially. Even if this is your first conviction for Reckless Driving, your insurance could increase nearly 100%. It is thus very important to contact an experienced Traffic Attorney in Cleveland County to ensure that your case is handled in the best way possible.
What will be my sentence for Reckless Driving in Cleveland County?
The sentence given for Reckless Driving charges in Cleveland County, North Carolina are usually composed of the payment of court costs of $190 along with a fine of up to $200. Although Reckless Driving is a class 2 misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60 days in jail, this is not a likely disposition. However, Reckless Driving is nonetheless a serious traffic offense and some of the worst punishment that you would likely receive from this charge includes substantial increases in your insurance premiums as well as license suspension for up to a year.
Will I loose my license if I am convicted of Reckless Driving?
In North Carolina, the law provides that if you are convicted for speeding in excess of 55 mph within the same year period of being convicted for Reckless Driving, your North Carolina Driver's License will be suspended. Thus, it is very important to have an attorney review your driving record to ensure that your plea to the charge will not cause your license to be suspended. In the event that there is no way around having your license suspended due to your prior driving record, our attorneys can assist you with obtaining a limited driving privilege which would nonetheless allow you to continue driving subject to certain restrictions. Contact our experienced Cleveland County Traffic lawyers today to obtain the best result in your case.