Careless Driving Case Law

Careless driving and reckless driving are two confusing terms that are often used interchangeably. This may be for the reason that both refer to an irresponsible way of driving one’s motor vehicle. But even with this, it is important to take note of their distinctions because careless driving and reckless have different potential traffic ticket penalties.

Legal definitions of Careless Driving and Reckless Driving

In Florida, careless driving is the failure to drive in a “careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person (Florida Statute 316.1925).” Careless Driving Florida

On the other hand, reckless driving is often defined as “a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver often misjudges common driving procedures, often causing accidents and other damages (Wikipedia, 2013).” In legal terms, it is driving “any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property [and/or] fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle (Florida Statute 316.192).”

Thus, careless driving and reckless driving differ in the presence of the intent to disregard safety. In the former, such intent may not be present such that the driver seems to be unaware of his/her bad way of driving. While, in the latter, the driver is suspected to have been deliberately driving in such a way that he/she disregards safety. Hence, the type of ticket that he/she receives strongly depends on the judgment of the present officer.

The Consequences of careless driving and reckless driving

So what are the consequences of this seemingly same violations?

According to the 2011 Florida Statute, any person who commits careless driving violation “shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318” which may include financial penalties and additional points to his/her license. However, these penalties can be considered minute compared to that of reckless driving.

In an article entitled, The Consequences of Reckless Driving in Florida, reckless driving was described as a costly mistake with the following penalties as cited:

“According to state statute 545.401, the punishment may include:

  • A $500 fine
  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Both jail time and the fine combined

If you are convicted of a second offense, each of those possible punishments doubles; therefore, you could pay $1000 and spend up to 6 months behind bars.

If property damage is involved in the reckless driving incident, or you cause serious bodily harm to a passenger or another driver, you are facing a third degree offense. Third degree offenses are punishable by a fine of $5000 and up to 5 whole years in jail.”

When issued a careless or reckless driving ticket

Careless Driving Ticket Florida

As careless and reckless driving tickets are strongly affected by the opinion of the officer, do not quit too easily. Would you let more points be added to your license or even worse, spend time behind bars for a couple of years? Be sure to talk to our finest and highly experienced traffic ticket lawyers.

Call us at 305-LAW-FIRM or contact us to schedule an appointment.