Kentucky’s Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

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

Kentucky’s “reckless driving” law requires all motorists to drive “in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway.” The statute also prohibits purposefully driving “in such a manner as to injure the highway.” (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.290 (2017).)

Reckless Driving Penalties

Motorists convicted of reckless driving in Kentucky face $20 to $100 in fines. For a third reckless driving conviction within a 12-month period, the motorist’s license will be revoked for six months. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 186.560, 189.990(a) (2017).)

A reckless driving conviction will also add four points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 or more points within a two-year period can lead to license suspension. (601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:025 (2017).)

Reckless Driving and DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

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

Kentucky law generally prohibits prosecutors from reducing a DUI to a lesser charge when the driver either refused chemical testing or had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (.02% or more for drivers under age 21). In DUI cases that don’t involve refusal or excessive BAC, plea bargaining is allowed. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189A.120 (2017).)

(Read more about plea bargaining in Kentucky DUI cases and the limitations.)

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 facts of every case are different. 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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