Reckless Driving in Florida

What is Reckless Driving?

Florida law states that reckless driving is when a person operates a motor vehicle with intentional and cruel or wanton disregard for the safety of other people and property.

Reckless driving is not a simple moving violation; it is a criminal offense that could result in jail time.

Knowing the difference between Careless Driving and Reckless Driving

It is significant for people to understand the difference between careless driving and reckless driving because the two are typically intertwined as the same charge, but reckless driving is a far more intense crime to be charged with.

The major difference between the two crimes is that careless driving is when a driver does NOT know the danger they are causing from their actions while reckless driving is when a person DOES know the danger of their actions. In addition, careless driving is considered a moving violation whereas reckless driving is considered a criminal offense.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a criminal offense and with it will come penalties suitable to the crime. The penalties for reckless driving will depend on the circumstances of the crime, such as if bodily injury occurred or severe property occurred from the person’s reckless driving. The penalties for reckless driving in Florida are:

First Offense Reckless Driving

  • A second degree misdemeanor charge
  • Up to ninety days in jail
  • Up to six months of probation
  • Up to a $500 fine

Reckless Driving with a Former Conviction

  • Second degree misdemeanor
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to six months of probation
  • Up to a $500 fine

Reckless Driving Causing Property Damage

  • First degree misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Up to a $1,000 fine

Reckless Driving Causing Bodily Injury

  • A Third Degree Felony
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Five years of probation
  • Up to a $5,000 fine

In addition, a person can receive a suspended license or have their license revoked for committing the crime of reckless driving which will lead to additional consequences such as higher insurance rates and loss of a job. Moreover, if a person is convicted of reckless driving they will have a criminal offense on their record which could result in difficulty finding a job or result in a person losing their job for having a criminal record.


For starters, a person may have been unjustly charged with reckless driving when in reality they should have been charged with careless driving. In order for a person to be found guilty for reckless driving the prosecution must be able to PROVE that the accused individual knowingly drove in a reckless manner which endangered other people or caused property damage.

Proving the mindset of an individual is not an easy task for a prosecution to accomplish and therefore it is a defense that most people charged with reckless driving are privy to.

Additional defenses may include an officer making a poor judgment call or the fault of another vehicle causing a driver to act quickly to avoid harm, which looked as though the driver was being reckless.

Defenses will be different for every person’s case, which is why it is important for an individual charged to contact an experienced attorney in criminal defense. A person being accused of reckless driving should contact a lawyer immediately before admitting guilt to the charge. Depending on the case, a good lawyer should be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed, sometimes even before the case goes to court.

Contact our Firm Today!

We have represented a multitude of motorist’s charges over the years revolving around criminal traffic violations and we are a team of dedicated and experienced lawyers who know how to prepare a solid defense. We have been representing clients for ten years and we are available 24/7 to help you with your case. Call us today at 1-800- FIGHT-IT (1-800-344-4848) and let us help you.