Reckless driving covers a wide variety of traffic offenses. In Michigan, police can cite or arrest anyone who operates a motor vehicle in a way that demonstrates “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Things like eluding the police, street racing, driving at a dangerously high rate of speed or doing doughnuts in a parking lot can all be considered reckless driving. The punishment for reckless driving in Michigan is up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. In many cases, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended or revoked.
The above punishment is the bare minimum and assumes that no property was damaged and that nobody was injured or killed as a result of the violation. If another person is injured or even killed as a result of reckless driving, it constitutes a felony and the punishment is much harsher.
If someone is injured during a reckless driving incident, the driver faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. If someone is killed, the driver could spend as many as 15 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
The court proceedings for reckless driving are the same as any other criminal offense. During the initial hearing, the alleged offender is made aware of the charges against him and his constitutional rights. In run-of-the-mill reckless-driving cases, prosecutors will probably offer a plea bargain, which often includes the dismissal of the charge if the defendant agrees to plead to a lesser offense.
When someone decides to plead not guilty, he or she will stand trial. At this point, the defendant should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A good criminal defense lawyer can help defendants get the best possible outcome to their reckless driving cases.