Definition and Aspects of Reckless Driving:
Driving a vehicle with willful disregard for other people’s or their properties’ safety is called reckless driving. Under California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), reckless driving or ‘dry reckless’ is a misdemeanor offense. A conviction could result in jail time, hefty fines, and 2 points on the convicted person’s driver’s license.
To be convicted of California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant drove a vehicle on a highway, street, or in an off-street parking facility
- The Defendant drove with disregard for the safety of other people or property
For the purpose of this statute, a highway is any road or area that is publicly maintained and open for the citizens to travel.
An ‘off-street parking facility’ is defined as any publicly owned facility or a privately owned facility that is open for the use of the public. An example of the latter is a retail shopping center’s parking garage, where customers can park for free. Privately owned parking structures that aren’t open to the public, such as an office building’s parking lot for the employees, are not included in this statute.
Lastly, disregard for the safety of others or their property is any act that a reasonable person would see harmful. If the Defendant is aware that his/her actions are dangerous to those around him/her but willfully ignores the risk of driving recklessly, he/she could be charged with California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103).
Criminal Offenses Related to Reckless Driving:
Similar or related offenses to California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), Reckless Driving:
- Reckless Driving with Injury – California Vehicle Code 23104 (VC 23104)
- Wet Reckless – California Vehicle Code 23103.5 (VC 23103.5)
- DUI of Alcohol and Drugs – California Vehicle Code 23152(a) (VC 23152(a))
- DUI with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 Percent or Higher – California Vehicle Code 23152(b) (VC 23152(b))
Examples of Reckless Driving:
A man is weaving in and out of traffic at high speed, causing vehicles around him to have to slam on their breaks to avoid a collision. This manner of driving can be punished by being charged with California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), Reckless Driving.
In another example, a woman is charged with a DUI. After a breathalyzer test is taken at the scene, the woman’s blood alcohol content comes back at exactly 0.08%. Given the details of her case and her previously clear history, the Prosecution agrees to allow the woman to plead guilty for reckless driving instead, taking a dry reckless plea bargain. Despite her driving not being reckless at the time of her charge, this gets her out of a DUI conviction.
Defenses to Reckless Driving:
One of the defenses for California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103) questions the recklessness of the driving. If the Defendant drove in a safe manner that did not put others in potential harm’s way, it would not constitute as reckless driving.
Additionally, if the Defendant was driving recklessly out of necessity, the charges could be lessened or dropped altogether. This is known as ‘guilty with an explanation.’ In this scenario, the Defendant admits to driving recklessly; however it was due to an emergency where he/she had no other choice. An effective Defense Attorney could help immensely with getting the Defendant out of this charge, utilizing eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos, or expert testimony.
Lastly, if the Defendant was not the driver, the charges for California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103) should be dropped. This statute requires the Defendant to be the one operating the vehicle, and if he/she was on the passenger seat, backseat, or not in the car at all, the Defendant should be exempt.
Consequences and Penalty for Reckless Driving:
California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), also known as dry reckless or reckless driving, is a misdemeanor offense. This crime is punishable with 5 – 90 days in county jail and fines between $145 – $1,000.
Additionally, under the DMV’s point systems, reckless driving also places 2 points on the convicted person’s license. If a person accumulates too many points, his/her license could be suspended for being a negligent driver.
Points and convictions also result in increases in car insurance premiums.
While reckless driving is a misdemeanor charge, if there were injuries involved, the consequences are much more severe.
California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), dry reckless is also often used as a plea bargain for a DUI charge. Under California’s DUI laws, if a person takes the ‘dry reckless plea deal,’ he/she does not face additional consequences subsequent to a DUI charge, can receive a shorter sentence, pay fewer fines, and does not have to endure license suspension.
Reckless driving, under California Vehicle Code 23103 (VC 23103), is a misdemeanor offense that can result in jail time, fines, and a long-term record affecting the convicted person’s driver’s license. It is essential that if you or someone you know is charged with reckless driving, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney on your side, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record of vehicle law and driving charges and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Vehicle Code Section 23103 (VC 23103), Reckless Driving. Book a free consultation today.