Are There Defenses to Reckless Driving in Florida?
People are charged with reckless driving every day in Florida. Although these charges may sound like minor traffic infractions, they are very serious. Even a first offense for the most minor type of reckless driving can result in a convicted individual serving jail time. As such, it is crucial that anyone charged with reckless driving in the state speaks to a criminal defense lawyer that can help them beat the charges.
Reckless Driving Defined in Florida
To understand the defenses to reckless driving in Florida, you must first understand the definition of the offense. For someone to be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove two elements of the case. The first is that the accused was actually driving a motor vehicle at the time the alleged offense occurred. The second element the prosecution must prove is that the individual must have driven the vehicle in such a manner that showed a wanton or willful disregard of the safety of people or property.
Negligence, or carelessness, is not enough to establish someone was driving recklessly, nor is speeding alone enough to constitute this crime. For someone to be convicted of reckless driving, they must have knowingly and intentionally driven in a reckless manner with the knowledge that a person or property could become harmed as a result.
Defenses to Reckless Driving in Florida
Being charged with reckless driving may seem like a hopeless situation, but it is not. There are many defenses to this crime, with the most common including:
- You were not driving: To face reckless driving charges, you must have been in control of the operation of the vehicle.
- You were simply being careless: Challenging the definition of the offense is one of the best defenses. If the prosecution cannot prove that you acted with wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others, or their property, the charge of reckless driving does not apply.
- Eyewitness testimony and other evidence: Police officers are sometimes overzealous in their pursuit of laying charges, and the prosecution is sometimes over eager in securing a conviction. If evidence such as eyewitness testimony or a police officer’s dash or body cam shows a different scenario than what the police officer says happened, that can serve as a valid defense.
- No danger to others: If there were no other people in the vicinity, and there was no property present to damage, the charge of reckless driving does not apply, as that makes up a part of the legal definition of the crime.
After reviewing your case, a criminal defense lawyer can advise on the best defenses available and argue them effectively to help you beat the charges.
Call Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been charged with reckless driving, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers at O’Mara Law Group are here to help. We understand that not everyone charged with a crime is guilty, and we know how to prove that in a court of law. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation so we can get started on your case.