In Florida, Reckless Driving occurs where a person operates a motor vehicle in a
manner that demonstrates a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Reckless driving is a criminal offense under Florida law and may carry misdemeanor
or felony penalties, depending on the facts of the case. If you have been arrested
or cited for reckless driving in Florida, contact an experienced Jacksonville Criminal
Attorney for a free consultation.
Definition of Reckless Driving- Florida Law
The offense of reckless driving is defined under Section 316.192, Florida Statutes.
Under the Florida statute, reckless driving consists of two elements: (1) the defendant
drove a motor vehicle, and (2) the defendant did so with a willful or wanton disregard
for the safety of persons or property.
“Willful” means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely. “Wanton” means that the
accused drove the vehicle with a conscious and intentional indifference to consequences
and with knowledge that damage was likely to be done to persons or property. Fleeing
a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle is reckless driving per se.
Penalties for Reckless Driving- Florida Law
The penalties for reckless driving in Florida can be severe. A first offense in Florida
(no bodily injury or property damage) is second degree misdemeanor, with penalties
of up to 90 days in jail or 6 months probation, and a $500 fine. A second or subsequent
offense for reckless driving is also a second degree misdemeanor, but carries a maximum
penalty of up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
The penalties for reckless driving in Florida increase substantially where there
is property damage or bodily injury. If the incident causes property damage or non-serious
injury, the offense is defined as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up
to one year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine. If there is serious
bodily injury, Florida law upgrades the offense to a third degree felony, with penalties
of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Defenses to Reckless Driving- Florida Law
There are many defenses available to contest a Florida Reckless Driving charge. Some
of the more common defenses include the following:
Was the accused actually a driving a qualifying motor vehicle?
Was the accused the actual driver?
Did the accused drive the vehicle with the requisite degree of culpability (willful
or wanton disregard), or did the accused merely act in a careless or negligent manner?
Was the driving pattern exhibited by the accused intentional, knowing, and purposeful,
or were there extenuating circumstances at play?
Were there persons or property nearby to endanger?
Are the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution reliable? If a police officer is
making the allegations, are the allegations supported by the in-car video (if one
Are there other witnesses to contradict the accusations made by the prosecution?
Reckless driving is a serious charge that can result in imprisonment, fines, higher
insurance premiums, and negative effects on your driving record. If you have been
accused of reckless driving in Jacksonville, Duval County, Clay County, or Nassau
County, Florida, you may have defenses to fight the charge or to minimize potential
penalties. Contact our Jacksonville Florida Reckless Driving Attorney today for
a free consultation.