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Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-222 – Reckless Driving

Definition of Reckless Driving

Under Connecticut General Statutes section 14-222, you can be charged with reckless driving if you drive recklessly on a public highway or certain roads, given the traffic, width, and use of the road. You can be charged with a violation of section 14-222 if:

  1. You drive at a rate of speed that would endanger someone else’s life;
  2. You operate a motor vehicle with a commercial registration with the gears or clutch disengaged;
  3. You knowingly operate a motor vehicle with a defective mechanism; or
  4. You operate a motor vehicle on a road, parking lot, or highway for at least 10 cars at a speed greater than 85 miles per hour.

A conviction of reckless driving could substantially affect your future. If someone was injured or killed, you may also face more serious felony charges. The following is an explanation of Connecticut reckless driving laws, in addition to the effect that a conviction under Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-222 could have on your future.

Elements of the Crime That Must be Proven by the State

To secure a conviction of reckless driving, a prosecutor may aim to show that: (1) you (2) operated a motor vehicle on a public highway or other specified road (3) recklessly, (4) given the use, traffic, and width of the road.

Alternatively, the prosecutor will need to show that: (1) you were driving at a speed that endangered someone’s life, other than your own; (2) you were driving at over 85 miles per hour; (3) you were driving a vehicle with a commercial registration downgrade with the clutch or gears disengaged; or (4) you knowingly operated a vehicle with a defective mechanism.

The law does not specifically define recklessness any further. To infer recklessness, there needs to be some conduct beyond a failure to use a reasonable degree of watchfulness to avoid danger to others and a failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid causing injuries.

Examples

Some situations in which you could be charged with reckless driving include:

  1. You were traveling at 100 mph down a highway. This automatically supports a reckless driving charge because you were traveling at more than 85 mph; 100 mph is also a speed that prosecutors may argue would endanger others’ lives.
  2. You operated your car on a public road, knowing that the brakes on your car were defective.
  3. You drove a commercial truck with the gears disengaged.
Related Offenses

Connecticut General Statutes § 14-227(a) – DUI

Connecticut General Statutes § 14-222a – Negligent Homicide with a Motor Vehicle

Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-56b – Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle in the 2nd Degree

Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-57 – Misconduct with a Motor Vehicle

Defenses to Reckless Driving

You can be charged with reckless driving whenever you exhibit a behavior that the police determine is reckless or endangers the lives of others. Since “reckless” is not explicitly defined, this is the element that may be easiest to challenge. We may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about any of the elements, including recklessness. For example, if you were drinking coffee while driving and were charged with reckless driving, we may be able to argue that the act of drinking coffee did not rise to the level of recklessness. The surrounding circumstances will determine whether that act was reckless.

Even if you were charged with reckless driving for driving at a speed over 85 mph, we can contest the determination of the speed. If the speed was officially clocked on radar, we can look at whether the radar device was appropriately maintained and calibrated.

If we can raise a sufficient reasonable doubt about “recklessness” or another element, it may be possible to negotiate to have the charge reduced from a criminal charge to a moving violation.

Penalties

If you are convicted, you will be fined at least $100 and up to $300. You also can be incarcerated for up to 30 days. For each subsequent reckless driving offense, you can face a fine of up to $600 and incarceration for a year.

Let Us Defend Your Reckless Driving Case!

Reckless driving charges can carry significant penalties. You should not hesitate to contact Stamford criminal defense lawyer Allan F. Friedman if you have been charged with reckless driving or a related offense. He can explore the events that resulted in the charge and investigate appropriate defenses. Call us for a free consultation at (203) 357-5555 or contact us via our online form.

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