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Is Reckless Driving a Felony or Misdemeanor in California? (Vehicle Code Section 23103)

Hit%20%26%20run%202.jpgReckless driving is a misdemeanor in the state of California. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23103, “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

A conviction for this offense can result in imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000. These penalties can increase if someone was hurt or killed as a result of reckless driving or if you have a previous reckless driving conviction on your driving record.

What is Reckless Driving in California?

A reckless driving conviction will add two points to your driving record, which can lead to a suspension of your license. Points on your driving record can increase your monthly auto insurance costs.

A reckless driving charge can result for a variety of reasons, such as driving at high rates of speed or weaving in and out of traffic lanes. A reckless driving charge can also come along with other serious criminal charges relating to the same incident, including driving under the influence, a hit and run or street racing.

Wet Reckless Driving Charge

hand-453202_1280Sometimes, a DUI can be reduced to a “wet reckless” driving charge, or a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23103.5. In this case, a plea bargain is reached with the prosecutor. Your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor that the evidence against you for a DUI is “weak,” and your DUI charge is reduced to a reckless driving charge. You cannot be originally charged with a wet reckless.

A wet reckless conviction usually results in fewer fines, shorter education classes, a shorter probationary period and no license suspension compared to the penalties for a DUI conviction. However, a wet reckless is considered as a functional equivalent to a DUI conviction. A wet reckless charge counts as a “prior” on your record. In the event you are charged with a second DUI within 10 years, the wet reckless conviction will be seen as your first DUI.

Dry Reckless Driving Charge

In some cases, your attorney can convince the prosecution to reduce your DUI charge even further to a “dry reckless” driving charge. A dry reckless refers to reckless driving without any alcohol involved. A dry reckless is a misdemeanor under Vehicle Code Section 23103 and carries possible fines, probation, and a jail term.

The conviction will appear on your record as if you were initially arrested for a reckless driving charge. Unlike a wet reckless conviction, it will not count as a prior conviction for a DUI if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI in the future.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one is facing a charge of reckless driving, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of driving offenses in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you are located.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.