Alabama's Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

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

In Alabama, a person can be convicted of "reckless driving" for driving:

  • "carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property," or
  • "without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property."

In other words, a person who drives dangerously, and is at least negligent in doing so, can be convicted of reckless driving.

Reckless Driving Penalties

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in Alabama. The consequences of a conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:

  • First offense. A first reckless driving offense carries five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines.
  • Repeat offense. Motorists convicted of a second or subsequent reckless driving offense are looking at 10 days to six months jail time and/or $50 to $500 in fines.

In addition to these fines, the court must also impose "assessment" fees ranging from $35 to $1,010.

Any motorist convicted of reckless driving faces a license suspension of up to six months. And a third reckless driving conviction within a 12-month period will result in license revocation. A reckless driving conviction will also add six demerit points to the motorist's driving record.

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."

Alabama law doesn't restrict or prohibit plea bargaining in DUI cases. So, for someone who's charged with driving under the influence, convincing a prosecutor to reduce the charge to reckless driving is a possibility.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Alabama can be serious. 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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