Tennessee's Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

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

A Tennessee motorist can be convicted of “reckless driving” for:

  • driving in “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”
  • doing a wheelie on a motorcycle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of person or property, or
  • driving into a flooded area that is clearly marked with a warning sign or barricade.

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.

Reckless Driving Penalties

In Tennessee, reckless driving is a class B misdemeanor. Convicted drivers are looking at up to six months in jail and a maximum $580 in fines. And any motorist who racks up two reckless driving convictions within a one-year period faces a 12-month license suspension.

A reckless driving conviction will also add six demerit points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 or more points in a year can lead to a license suspension of six to 12 months.

Reckless Driving and DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

In Tennessee, 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.”

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Tennessee 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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