Louisiana's Reckless Operation (Driving) Laws and Penalties

Read about Louisiana’s reckless operation laws and the consequences of a conviction.

Reckless operation of a vehicle is a crime in Louisiana. This article explains how Louisiana defines reckless driving and the penalties you'll face for a conviction.

What's Considered "Reckless Driving" (Reckless Operation) in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, reckless driving is defined as driving in a "criminally negligent or reckless manner." In other words, a person can be convicted of reckless operation for driving in a way that a reasonably careful person would know is dangerous. (La. Stat. Ann. § 14:99.)

Louisana's Reckless Operation (Reckless Driving) Penalties

In Louisiana, reckless operation is a misdemeanor. The possible penalties for a violation are detailed below.

Fines and Jail Time for a 1st Reckless Driving Offense in Louisiana

A first reckless operation conviction carries up to 90 days in jail and/or $200 in fines.

Fines and Jail Time for a 2nd or Subsequent Reckless Driving Offense in Louisiana

For a second or subsequent reckless operation conviction, the driver faces ten days to six months in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines.

License Suspension for a 3rd Reckless Driving Conviction in Louisiana

Motorists who are convicted of three reckless operation offenses within a period of 12 months are looking at a 24-month license suspension.

Reckless Driving and OWI Charges ("Wet Reckless") in Louisiana

In some states, it's possible for a driver who's charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) 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."

Louisiana law doesn't prohibit plea bargaining in OWI cases. So, for someone who's accused of drunk driving in Louisiana, convincing a prosecutor to reduce the charge to reckless operation might be possible. However, when a reckless operation offense involves alcohol, the judge must impose an additional $100 in fines.

Talk to a Louisiana Defense 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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