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Reckless Driving – A Misdemeanor in NC

Reckless driving is one of the most common yet confusing motor vehicle offenses in North Carolina, mainly because there are two different types of reckless driving offenses for non-commercial drivers.

I have clients that don’t realize that reckless driving can be charged for merely speeding if the speeding is done in a dangerous manner. Both types of reckless driving are discussed below:

1.) Driving carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others.

2.) Driving without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property

A person who violates both types of reckless driving in one continuous manner is only guilty of one offense of reckless driving. However, keep in mind that “reckless driving” when combined with speeding is grounds to constitute a charge of aggressive driving, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The statute is very broad and courts have refused to nail down specific definitions other than what is listed under the two types above.

You might find it interesting that the following factual scenarios were sufficient to find a person guilty of reckless driving:
-A driver driving well over the posted speed limit swerved into the opposing lane of traffic, and subsequently braked his vehicle sharply and slid for approximately twenty feet near an occupied residence.
-During a high speed chase on a rainy day, a driver came extremely close to hitting an oil tanker at speeds in excess of sixty miles per hour, and crossed double yellow lines.
-A driver drove while impaired and traveled 92 mph in a 45 mph zone.
-A driver drove 82 mph in a 55 mph zone, maneuvered from one lane to another to go around slower vehicles and crossed double yellow lines.

Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor which carries 4 license points and 4 insurance points. Since each insurance point raises your insurance rate, on average, about 25%, a conviction of reckless driving will double the cost of insurance.

Contact criminal and traffic defense attorney Matthew Golden today for a free consultation, either in person or over the phone, to discuss your options if you are charged with reckless or aggressive driving.