Responding to a Reckless Driving Arrest in Palm Beach County
Reckless driving arrests in Palm Beach County, FL are on the uptick. Recent data from the Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts shows a rise in law enforcement officers ticketing drivers throughout Palm Beach County, FL for driving reckless. Things you must know about reckless driving and why you need a lawyer.
First, reckless driving is a criminal offense. If you are facing a reckless driving charge you must take it very seriously as the law simply reads: “Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days.”
Second, if the reckless driver causes “damage to the property or person of another” the driver in fact commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one (1) year in the county jail.
Third, a driver’s participation in a highly dangerous drag race on the public streets of Palm Beach County constitutes reckless driving per se.
Fourth, a driver’s actions of fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle are reckless driving per se.
Lastly, if the reckless driver “causes serious bodily injury to another” the driver in fact commits a felony of the third degree misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to five (5) years in prison. For the purposes of this section, serious bodily injury “means an injury to another person, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
The main elements to examine in a reckless driving criminal case are: (i) the vehicle’s rate of speed; (ii) the location of the vehicle as to residential versus highway or the like; (iii) the volume of traffic on the roadway at the time of the arrest; (iv) the intentional actions or purposeful acts of the driver like slowing to harass another driver or moving into oncoming traffic to harass another driver and (v) the weather conditions of the roadway at the time of the arrest.
Now, while many drivers will not actually be led away in handcuffs, during a reckless driving arrest, under Florida General Statue 316.192 the driver will receive a notice to appear in the mail. The notice to appear is equivalent to a formal arrest that provides the driver where and when he or she must appear in court. Upon receipt of that notice to appear the driver should immediately contact a Palm Beach County criminal traffic law attorney.
Contacting a criminal traffic attorney, upon receipt of the reckless driving notice to appear or ticket, will increase your likelihood of success in the courtroom. By reviewing the facts of your driving pattern at the time of the reckless driving stop, and while applying the above five elements, a defense to the criminal act of reckless driving will be formulated.
The driver may properly argue that he or she maintained complete control of their vehicle during which is a proper defense to reckless driving. The facts that the alleged reckless driver was traveling on a rural roadway, versus a residential roadway, when the officer stopped the vehicle for reckless driving is another mitigating factor for the court to consider. The volume of traffic, during the traffic stop for reckless driving, was moderate and not heavy is also a defense or mitigating factor for the judge or jury to take into consideration. Whether or not the driver allegedly sped through a construction zone, during a time of its actual operation by construction workers, is another factor to be considered by a judge or jury during the reckless driving trial. The list of defenses and mitigating factors goes on, as to the crime of reckless driving in Florida, and every issue ought to be explored.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or giving a notice to appear for reckless driving in Palm Beach County, FL then contacting criminal traffic defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine. As a practicing criminal attorney for more than a decade, West Palm Beach’s Andrew D. Stine, has thousands of cases under his belt. Let his experience, compassion and aggressive style handle all of your criminal traffic needs. Hire Stine or Do the Time!