In North Carolina, a person can be convicted of “reckless driving” for driving on a public roadway:
Basically, North Carolina’s reckless driving law requires motorists to drive in a reasonably safe manner at all times.
In deciding whether a person’s driving qualifies as “reckless,” a judge might look to factors like:
But the facts of each case are different. So, whether a particular course of driving meets the legal definition of “reckless” will always depend on the particular circumstances.
(N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 20-140 (2018).)
Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. The maximum fine for a class 2 misdemeanor is $1,000. Convicted drivers also face up to 30 days in jail for a first offense. And if the driver has prior criminal convictions, as much as 60 days in jail is possible.
A reckless driving conviction leads to license suspension only in certain circumstances. These include offenses where the person:
All reckless driving violations will add four points to the motorist’s driving record, and most likely, increase the motorist’s insurance rates.
In North Carolina, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with driving while impaired (DWI) 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.”
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.
The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in North Carolina can be serious, especially if you have prior convictions. 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.