If you are facing careless or reckless driving charges in the state of Pennsylvania, you are undoubtedly concerned about what penalties a conviction may bring. Both reckless driving and careless driving are considered summary traffic offenses. But just because of that, it does not mean that they are throw away offenses as they can have a major impact on your life. If you are a CDL driver, it can mean the end of your career. If someone else was injured or killed in your accident and the police determined you were at least partially at fault, those charges grow to be more serious. If the authorities determine you failed to remain at the accident after it happened, or that you failed to pull over for a policeman, the penalties are even more severe.
The worst thing about it could be that you are innocent or that someone else was really at fault. But you cannot know what is possible in terms of your defense unless you hire a capable, qualified criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight for your rights to the fullest extent.
Here is an overview of the charges and penalties for Careless and Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania:
Careless Driving is the lesser of the two charges and assumes you were not deliberately driving in a dangerous manner. For example, if you fell asleep behind the wheel, you would be charged with Careless Driving. Careless Driving in Pennsylvania is summary charge, similar to a traffic ticket, and can add three points to your license (or more if you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident). It is also considered a “serious traffic offense” for purposes of the Federal Motor Carrier act as applied in Pennsylvania.
If your Careless Driving charge involves injury to another person, you could be fined $250. If it involves death of another person, the fine doubles to $500. Both charges bring the possibility of 90 days in jail.
A Reckless Driving charge in Pennsylvania assumes intent, which is an important distinction in the eyes of the law. A charge in this category means the police believe you were acting deliberately irresponsible behind the wheel. Although this is still a summary charge, Reckless Driving can bring with it much more serious punishments:
- If convicted of reckless driving in Pennsylvania, you will be fined a minimum of $200 and lose your license for 6 months.
- You could also face up to 90 days in jail.
- Reckless driving that caused injury carries a $1000 minimum fine and a minimum of 90 days in jail
- If your reckless driving caused death, you face a fine of $25,000 and a minimum jail sentence of up to 12 months
If you have been charged with Careless or Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania, you have the opportunity to get your charges either lowered or dismissed, depending on the facts of your case. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you identify those opportunities, fight for your rights, and bring you the best possible outcome. While no lawyer can promise you that you’ll completely escape all penalties, walking into court alone almost certainly insures you that you will be convicted of the charges against you.
The McShane Firm
The McShane Firm is Pennsylvania’s top criminal defense law firm. We specialize in Pennsylvania Careless Driving and Reckless Driving cases with the highest-trained attorneys in the state. We’ve obtained positive results for many of our clients and we will fight as hard as we can to do the same for you. Call us toll-free at 1-866-McSHANE for your free consultation. We fight!
- The McShane Firm
- 4807 Jonestown Road, Suite 156
- Harrisuburg, PA 17109
- Call Toll-Free 1-866-McShane
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