Connecticut’s Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

Read about Connecticut’s reckless driving laws and the consequences of a conviction.

In Connecticut, “reckless driving” is a crime. Generally, a person can be convicted of reckless driving for operating a vehicle:

  • in a manner that puts other at significant risk and with an awareness of that risk
  • at a speed that endangers the life of another, or
  • at over 85 miles per hour.

In assessing whether a motorist’s driving meets the definition of recklessness, a judge or jury might consider factors like road, weather, and traffic conditions. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-222, 53a-3 (2017).

Reckless Driving Penalties

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction depend on the circumstances. But the possible penalties are:

  • First offense. A first reckless driving conviction is a class D misdemeanor. Convicted motorists face up to 30 days in jail and/or $100 to $300 in fines. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles will also suspend the driver’s license for 30 to 90 days.  
  • Repeat offense. A second or subsequent reckless driving conviction is a class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries up to year in jail and/or a maximum $600 in fines. The driver is also looking at a license suspension of at least 90 days.

And for any reckless driving offense that's committed in a construction zone, the fines are doubled. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 53a-26(d), 14-111, 14-212a, 14-222 (2017).)

Reckless Driving and OUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

In Connecticut, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with operating under the influence (OUI), sometimes called driving under the influence (DUI), to plea bargain for a lesser charge. When an OWI is plea bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Generally speaking, sentencing law is complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including the severity of the damage at issue, credits for good in-custody behavior, and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Connecticut can be serious, especially if the driver has prior convictions. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.

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