Georgia’s Reckless Driving Laws

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

“Reckless driving” is a crime in Georgia. The offense is defined as driving a vehicle in “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Georgia courts have interpreted the law as requiring an act of “criminal negligence,” rather than an intentional act. In other words, there must be proof that the person drove in a dangerous manner and that the person should have been aware of the risks. (Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-390(a) (2016); Young v. State, 294 Ga. App. 227 (2008).)

Reckless Driving Penalties

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, reckless driving is a misdemeanor. Convicted motorists typically face up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $1,100 in fines. A reckless driving conviction will also add four points to the motorist’s driving record and likely lead to increased insurance rates. (Ga. Code Ann. §§ 15-21-151(a), 40-5-57(c)(1)(A), 40-6-390(b) (2016).)

Motorists who cause severe injuries to another person while driving recklessly can be convicted of an offense called “serious injury by vehicle.” Serious injury by vehicle is a felony and carries one to 12 years in prison. (Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-394 (2016).)

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 Georgia can be serious, especially when the offense involved injuries. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in contact with an experienced criminal 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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