Reckless driving is a term you may have heard before—but what exactly does it mean? Below, we delve into what’s considered reckless driving in Oregon and the various penalties that come with it.
What is Considered Reckless Driving?
Many states have a law against reckless driving—Oregon takes these laws very seriously. Reckless driving is defined as a crime in which someone drives in a way that puts the safety of people or property in danger. This is different than careless driving, and the motorist does not realize they are driving dangerously. Individuals can be charged for either crime, but careless driving charges are typically less severe.
Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense and is often charged as a misdemeanor, so it’s important to note what actions result in reckless driving charges. According to the Insurance Information Institute, for years “speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities,” but there is a lot more to dangerous driving than just speeding. Check out a few other actions defined as reckless driving below.
- Passing another vehicle when visibility of oncoming traffic is limited on a two-lane highway
- Driving 25 miles per hour (or more) over the posted speed limit
- Ignoring traffic signs
- Racing other vehicles
- Weaving through traffic
Oregon also has a charge called a wet reckless—reckless driving while under the influence of intoxicants. Often, the main charge you’ll receive in these cases is a DUII charge, but you may receive a reckless driving charge along with it.
You’ll get charged with a wet reckless if you do one of the following:
- Speeding while under the influence of intoxicants
- Driving with a child in the car while under the influence of intoxicants
- Being involved in an accident while under the influence of intoxicants
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Oregon?
In Oregon, reckless driving is considered a Class A misdemeanor, so there a few different penalties one could face.
- Maximum of one year in Jail
- Maximum of $6,250 in fines
- License suspension—90 days for a first offense, one year for a second offense within five years
- Maximum period of supervision or probation that can be imposed is five years
Apart from those specific penalties, Oregon often adds other consequences for this crime. Any added consequences typically depends on your prior driving history. A reckless driving charge will also go on your driving record and may result in a criminal record.
If you get charged for reckless driving or a DUII, get in contact with a Beaverton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.