Reckless Driving

The crime of reckless driving often seems to be a little misunderstood in terms of the potentially serious consequences that a conviction can bring. Rather than being lumped in a category comparable to speeding tickets, reckless driving is actually a much more severe type of crime with penalties to match. Anyone who has been charged with reckless driving should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

The following information was compiled in order to detail the definition of reckless driving, as well as the penalties associated with convictions of this crime and some of the common forms of defense that may be applicable.


Defining Reckless Driving in Nevada

As legally defined in Nevada (NRS 484B.653), an act of reckless driving is what occurs when a person drives a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of person or property”, “in an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway” or when a person “organizes an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway”.

More simply put, reckless driving crimes are those in which the driver had a clear understanding that their behavior or actions while behind the wheel were potentially dangerous to other people or to property around them but intentionally chose to disregard this.  

Some more common examples of crimes that would be considered reckless driving include:

●      Purposely disobeying the directions of a crossing guard

●      Intentionally running red lights

●      Purposely evading or failing to yield to a police officer

●      Driving carelessly and without regard to the safety of bicyclists or pedestrians

●      Intentionally exceeding the speed limit to a significant degree


Penalties for a Conviction of Reckless Driving

The penalties for convicted crimes of reckless driving can vary based on the circumstances of each incident – particularly whether or not someone suffered serious injury or died as a result of the alleged reckless driving, but also based on regulations related directly to the location where the incident occurred. Penalties also increase with each successive convicted offense of reckless driving.

A conviction of reckless driving in which no one was killed or seriously injured is considered a misdemeanor. If this is your first reckless driving offense, the penalties are as follows:

●      Up to six months in county jail and/or

●      Possible fines ranging from $250 to $1,000

For further offenses that do not involve injury or death, the penalties are:

●      Up to six months in county jail and/or

●      Possible fines ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 (for a second offense)

●      Possible fines ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 (for a third offense)

A conviction of reckless driving that is found to be the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or which was committed in a pedestrian safe zone (NRS 484B.280) is a misdemeanor.  The penalties are as follows:

First Offense

●      Fines ranging from $250 to $1,000

●      From 50 to 99 hours of community service

●      Possibility of up to 6 months in county jail

Second Offense

●      Fines ranging from $1,000 to $1,500

●      From 100 to 199 hours of community service

●      Possibility of up to 6 months in county jail

Third Offense (and subsequent offenses)

●      Fines ranging from $1,500 to $2,000

●      200 hours of community service

●      Possibility of up to 6 months in county jail

A conviction of reckless driving in which it is ruled that a death or substantial injury were the result of driver’s recklessness is a category B felony.  The penalties are as follows:

●      From one to six years in state prison

●      Possible fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000

For drivers who attempt to evade the police following a death that was caused by their reckless driving, the penalty is very steep:

●      From 2 to 20 years in state prison

●      Possible fine of up to $50,000

Furthermore, any reckless driving conviction can or will also result in the following penalties:

●      Driver’s license suspension from 6 months to 2 years

●      Possible impounding of vehicle


Nevada DMV Point System Penalties

An additional penalty for a reckless driving conviction also comes from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, which uses a running tally of “points” to track the violations of drivers in the state. Anyone who reaches or exceeds 12 points within a year will have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months.

The number of points given for driving violations increases depending on the seriousness of the offense. For example, if you receive a citation for driving from 1 to 10 miles over the speed limit, you will have 1 point added to your driving record at the DMV. A conviction for reckless driving will add 8 points to your driving record at the Nevada DMV. 


Common Defenses to a Charge of Reckless Driving

In many cases, a successful defense to an alleged act of reckless driving is built on one of the following two arguments:

●      Lack of Sufficient Evidence

There are many cases of alleged reckless driving that are very difficult to adequately prove due to a lack of evidence. The burden of providing enough evidence to sufficiently prove guilt is on the prosecution, and in cases of reckless driving charges, which often involve unreliable witnesses or a total lack of witnesses, this can be impossible.

●      Subjective Definition of Reckless Driving

The subjectivity of what constitutes an act of reckless driving rather than a less severe charge of speeding, for example, can also stand in the way of proving the guilt of the driver in question, due to the stipulation in the legal definition of reckless driving that specifies that it is an act that is “willful or wanton” disregard for the rules of the road.

If you or someone that you care about has been charged with an alleged crime of reckless driving, we want to hear your story. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney may be able to assist you in getting your charges reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed. If you are interested in receiving a free case evaluation and would like to speak to someone regarding your legal options, please contact our offices today.


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