Reckless driving is a severe offense in Santa Barbara with the potential to have long-term consequences. Reckless driving is defined under California Vehicle Code 23103 as “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” As a result of this statute's subjective nature, law enforcement may charge drivers with reckless driving even in cases where a reduced offense is more fitting.
Drivers who attempt to manage a reckless driving charge without the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney may face harsher penalties than they deserve. If you have been charged with reckless driving in California, a Santa Barbara reckless driving defense lawyer at the Aron Law Firm may help you determine your legal options for resolving the charge to the most favorable outcome.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Santa Barbara?
There are often distinctions between traffic citations, like a speeding ticket, versus a criminal act of reckless driving. Generally, Santa Barbara drivers may be considered to be driving recklessly based on the present traffic conditions and the following actions:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving through traffic
- Illegally passing other vehicles
- Texting while driving
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Intentionally driving with defective brakes
- Any driving practice that threatens lives
What Are the Potential Penalties for Reckless Driving in Santa Barbara?
Reckless driving is a criminal offense in California for which a person may face more serious consequences than for a simple traffic infraction. It is a misdemeanor charge that may become a permanent mark on your criminal record and DMV driving records if the court finds you guilty. If you are convicted of reckless driving in Santa Barbara, you may face harsh penalties, including:
- Fines up to $1,000
- Jail sentence up to 90 days
- Vehicle impoundment up to 30 days
- Two points added to your driving record
- Suspension of driver's license up to 30 days on a first conviction
- Suspension of driver's license up to 60 days on a second conviction
- Suspension of driver's license up to six months on a third or subsequent conviction
Once you have a conviction on your criminal record, it stays there unless you follow the formal process to have it expunged. As potential employers, landlords, and loan officers may view your criminal history, a reckless driving charge may adversely impact the rest of your life.
How Can a Santa Barbara Reckless Driving Defense Lawyer Help?
If you face charges for reckless driving in Santa Barbara, it is critical to contact a knowledgeable Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer may help you build your defense to reduce your charges to a lesser offense, like speeding.
In comparison to reckless driving, speeding is only an infraction, and that carries just one point on your driving record. A speeding infraction will have little impact on your insurance rates compared to a reckless driving conviction. Additionally, while a reckless driving charge may involve a jail sentence, speeding does not.
Potential Defenses Against Reckless Driving Charges in Santa Barbara
For the prosecution to garner a conviction of reckless driving in California, they must prove the following aspects beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were the driver of the vehicle
- You drove with negligent disregard for the safety or property of others
If your defense lawyer can demonstrate that your driving conduct was not done with disregard for others' safety, then your reckless driving charges may potentially be dropped. For example, if you were charged with reckless driving due to speeding over the legal limit, but in a manner that was safe given the traffic conditions, you may not be guilty of reckless driving.
Talk to a Seasoned Santa Barbara Reckless Driving Lawyer Today
The best way to protect your career and reputation after an allegation of reckless driving may be to speak with an experienced lawyer. If you face reckless driving charges in Santa Barbara, trust the legal team at the Aron Law Firm to advocate for your rights and safeguard your future. As a former California Deputy District Attorney, William Aron has the experience to represent you well.
Speak with an experienced reckless driving lawyer about your situation today. Schedule a confidential case review by completing a contact form or calling 805-618-1768.