Mississippi's Reckless and Careless Driving Laws and Penalties

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

Mississippi's reckless and careless driving laws make it illegal to operate a vehicle unsafely. This article explains these laws and the penalties you'll face for a reckless or careless driving conviction.

What Is Considered "Reckless Driving" in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, a person can be convicted of "reckless driving" for operating a vehicle in "willful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." The term "willful" refers to conduct that is intentional or purposeful. And "wanton" generally means the person understood but disregarded the consequences of the conduct. (Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-3-1201.)

Mississippi's Reckless Driving Penalties

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

Fines for a First Reckless Driving Conviction in Mississippi

A first reckless driving conviction carries $5 to $100 in fines.

Fines, Jail, and License Suspension for Repeat Reckless Driving Offenders in Mississippi

For a second or subsequent reckless driving conviction, the motorist is looking at up to ten days in jail and/or a maximum $500 in fines. And for a third reckless driving violation within a 12-month period, there's a one-year license revocation.

What Is Considered "Careless Driving" in Mississippi?

Mississippi has another offense called "careless or imprudent driving." The offense is defined as driving "in a careless or imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corner, traffic and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances." (Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-3-1213.)

The difference between reckless and careless driving is a matter of degree, and the dividing line isn't always clear. Basically, reckless driving involves the operation of a vehicle that's obviously dangerous, whereas more subtle instances of bad driving might be in the careless driving category.

Careless Driving Fines in Mississippi

A careless driving conviction carries $5 to $50 in fines.

Reckless Driving and OUI Charges ("Wet Reckless")

In some states, it's possible for a driver who's charged with operating under the influence (OUI), also called "driving under the influence" (DUI), to "plea bargain" for a lesser charge. When an OUI is plea-bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it's sometimes called a "wet reckless."

Mississippi law prohibits prosecutors from reducing OUI charges. So, for someone accused of operating under the influence in Mississippi, plea bargaining for a lesser charge typically isn't a possibility.

Talk to a Mississippi Defense Attorney

The facts of every case are different. If you've been arrested for or charged with reckless or careless 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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