Reckless Driving is a crime in the state of Connecticut and can affect both your criminal and motor vehicle record.
If you have been charged with Reckless Driving in Connecticut, it is important to know what these charges mean and how to resolve your case in a way that does not have any long-term consequences.
What is Reckless Driving?
Under Connecticut General Statutes § 14-222, a person is considered to be driving recklessly when he or she is driving in such a manner that demonstrates he or she is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and justifiable risk that a dangerous event will occur. There is no specific definition of recklessness in the motor vehicle statutes, and what constitutes Reckless Driving is often determined on a case by case basis. Whether someone acts recklessly is evaluated based on a reasonable person standard. A reasonable person standard refers to whether a reasonable person would have acted the same way in that situation.
Certain conduct is specifically prohibited in the Reckless Driving statute. You can be charged with Reckless Driving in Connecticut when you are observed to be driving dangerously or if you are driving over 85 miles per hour. Driving over 85 miles per hour is considered per se Reckless Driving.
Other specific conduct statutorily defined as Reckless Driving in C.G.S § 14-222 includes:
- Operating a vehicle with a commercial registration downgrade with the clutch or gear disengaged
- Operating a vehicle you know to be defective
What are the penalties for Reckless Driving in Connecticut?
A Reckless Driving charge is a misdemeanor and a conviction can result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment.
Possible penalties for a first offense:
- Class D misdemeanor
- Punishable by up to $300 in fines
- Punishable by up to 30 days in jail
- License suspension of 30 days
For any subsequent offenses:
- Class A misdemeanor
- Punishable by up to $600 in fines
- Punishable by up to one-year imprisonment
- License suspension of at least 90 days
Important: If you are charged with Reckless Driving in a construction zone, the above-referenced fines will be doubled.
If you are convicted of Reckless Driving in Connecticut, the conviction will show up on your Connecticut motor vehicle history and record of your conviction will appear on any background checks. If your insurance carrier discovers that you have sustained a conviction for Reckless Driving, your insurance rates could increase and, depending on your age, risk category and driving history, you face being dropped by your insurance carrier entirely.
Do I have to go to court if I am charged with Reckless Driving in Connecticut?
Yes. Reckless Driving charges are not motor vehicle infraction tickets that can be paid through the mail. If you get pulled over for Reckless Driving, the police officer will usually give you a misdemeanor summons, which is a ticket telling you that you need to appear in Court on a certain date to answer to the charges.
How can an attorney help me if I am charged with Reckless Driving in Connecticut?
Your attorney can help you resolve your Reckless Driving charge in a way that does not affect your criminal record, and may be able to prevent you from having your license suspended. Your attorney will explain what this charge means for you and how you can put yourself in the best position to obtain a favorable outcome. Sometimes, you will need to get a copy of your driving history, take a driver’s safety course (sometimes called defensive driving class), participate in community service or fulfill other obligations in order to help your attorney present you in the best light when talking to the prosecutor. An experienced attorney knows the Court process and how to effectively handle your Reckless Driving charge and pursue all possible options.
If you have been charged with Reckless Driving in Connecticut, contact the law offices of Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at 203-327-1500. Attorneys Audrey Felsen and Bruce Koffsky have over 50 years of combined experience in handling Reckless Driving and similar offenses and will advocate for you and help you resolve your motor vehicle charges.