Rhode Island's Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

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

In Rhode Island, unsafe driving can result in criminal charges, fines, and jail time. This article explains how Rhode Island defines "reckless driving" and the penalties you'll face for a conviction.

What's Considered "Reckless Driving" in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle "recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered." As used in the state, the word "recklessly" basically means the driver was aware of—or should have been aware of—but disregarded the dangerousness of the driving. (31 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 31-27-4.)

Rhode Island's Reckless Driving Penalties

The consequences of a Rhode Island reckless driving violation depend on the circumstances. But the possible penalties for a conviction are described below.

Fines and Jail Time for 1st Reckless Driving Conviction in Rhode Island

A first reckless driving conviction is a misdemeanor and carries up to a year in jail and/or a maximum of $500 in fines.

Fines and Jail Time for 2nd Reckless Driving Conviction in Rhode Island

A second or subsequent reckless driving violation is a felony. Convicted motorists face up to five years in prison and/or a maximum of $5,000 in fines.

License Suspension for Reckless Driving Offenses in Rhode Island

For any reckless driving violation, a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend the driver's license for up to a year. And for a third reckless driving conviction within a 12-month period, the DMV must revoke the driver's license.

Reckless Driving and DUI Charges ("Wet Reckless") in Rhode Island

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."

Rhode Island law doesn't prohibit plea bargaining in DUI cases. So, for someone who's accused of driving under the influence in Rhode Island, plea bargaining for a reckless driving charge is a possibility.

Talk to a Rhode Island 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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