Ask any top Connecticut traffic ticket lawyer and they will tell you that the charge of reckless driving is a criminal offense that can result in many serious consequences including possible jail time, a criminal record, probation, loss of your license and a hefty fine. In addition, a conviction of this charge would result in significant increases in your insurance rates for years to come. This crime is a misdemeanor offense in Connecticut. While in most cases the police officer will simply hand you a misdemeanor appearance summons which looks just like a speeding ticket it is a criminal arrest and results in a permanent criminal arrest record and a mandatory court appearance date. If you have been charged with reckless driving you should call a Stamford traffic ticket lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the facts of your arrest and develop a plan to work towards having your charges dismissed.What is Reckless Driving?
95% of our clients who are cited for reckless driving are simply driving over 85 mph which is reckless driving per se. The statutory citation for reckless driving is Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-222. This statue has several different ways in which you can be charged with reckless driving. Some of them are very clear cut and straightforward. Others are quite vague and leave a lot of room for interpretation and discretion on the part of the arresting officer as to just what “reckless” really is. Here are the ways in which you can violate the statute:
- Operate a motor vehicle “recklessly”
- Operate a motor vehicle at such rate of speed as to “endanger life”
- Speeding over 85 mph is per se reckless driving automatically
- The willful operation of a motor vehicle with a mechanical defect
As we can see the first two options create a lot of grey area and room for interpretation and discretion on the part of the Police officer when doing a traffic stop. When is someone just speeding and when are they driving recklessly? This is often a judgment call and one of splitting hairs. Without video tape evidence the State’s case is going to come down to the testimony of the arresting officer’s personal opinion on why the particular driver was driving recklessly as opposed to just speeding and swerving between lanes on the other hand. The best criminal lawyers know how to effectively raise doubt in the State’s case and bolster your defense.
In the case of the 85 mph and above cases there is no grey area. The Legislature has made it now a black and white matter in Connecticut. If you are driving down I-95 or the Merritt Parkway in normal conditions and doing 84 mph or less you will be issued a speeding ticket in violation of 14-219. If you are going 85 mph or faster you will be issued a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving in violation of 14-222 with a mandatory court appearance date.Speeding Ticket vs. Reckless Driving Arrest
Top Connecticut criminal lawyers will tell you that speeding is only an infraction and generally the worst thing that will happen to you is that you will have to pay a fine and your insurance rates will go up. If you get enough speeding tickets your license could be suspended. Reckless driving is a crime and when you get a summons to appear at court for reckless driving it is considered a criminal arrest, it goes into your permanent FBI arrest record and it must be handled very seriously. If you got a summons for reckless driving based upon a high rate of speed you should contact an experienced Stamford traffic ticket attorney who has the ability to work to shed doubt on the case against you. Often, we can negotiate a reduction of the charge down to a speeding ticket which is much better than a criminal charge of “burning” a diversionary program on a reckless driving allegation.Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Reckless Driving is a criminal charge that carries serious consequences. You should have a free initial consultation with a Stamford criminal lawyer to review your options as soon as possible. The charge of reckless driving is a criminal charge, and will result in a criminal arrest history and if you are convicted you could face up to 30 days in jail, fines, probation and the suspension of your drivers’ license for 30 days. In addition a conviction would have significant effects on your insurance rates for years to come and may result in your insurance company declining to renew your coverage. For this reason you should take the charge of reckless driving very seriously and schedule a free initial consultation with a traffic ticket lawyer at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman to go over all the details of your case and start working on our plans to get your charges dismissed or reduced.Defending Reckless Driving Charges
If you are charged with the first variety of reckless driving which is based upon the officers observation of your driving and his/her opinion that you were driving recklessly then we usually have a good shot at having your charges reduced down to noncriminal moving violations and just paying some fines. Of course a lot is going to depend upon what is written in the Police officer’s narrative in the Police report and your past driving history. Also, a huge variable is whether or not you were involved in an accident and if anyone else was injured. You should call us for a free case evaluation to discuss the facts of your case so we can give you specific guidance about how your case should be defended.
For the reckless driving per se charges in which the operator was driving 85 mph or greater the situation is somewhat different. First of all I would like to disclose that as a former NHRA professional race car driver and license holder I fully appreciate and understand the passion for driving fast. I am certainly not one to judge anyone who seeks to enjoy driving their cars fast under the right conditions. Frankly, I think the 85 mph = reckless driving is ridiculous. In many areas of the United States the speed limit on I-95 is 75 mph and traffic regularly moves at 85 mph. However, Connecticut has traditionally been a very conservative state when it comes to speed enforcement and the Judges of our great State seem to take people who speed over 100 mph very seriously. I have been in some Courts and seen Judges give a more stern lecture to a speeder who was caught going over 100 mph than to someone convicted of a violent felony.
In my experience if your speed was in the range of 85- 89 mph and you have a good driving record in most cases if you were cooperative with the police officer, I can usually get that reckless driving charge reduced down to a speeding ticket. The reason for this is that the precision of the Police laser or radar is not that accurate and I can argue that it is possible that you were going only 84 mph. I was trained by the Connecticut State Police in the use of radar, laser and VASCAR speed detection methods so I am able to scrutinize the Police reports for any inconsistencies or errors that can tip the scales in your favor.
As you go into the low 90 mph zone your chances become lower to get the charge reduced the faster your speed was. Anything over 95 mph will probably require the use of a diversionary program – usually the accelerated rehabilitation program to get the charge dismissed and save your license. We never give up looking for good mitigation arguments, and this past year, we were able to successfully get a reckless driving charge of 121 mph in a 55 mph reduced down to a speeding infraction through old fashioned diplomacy and negotiation.
Once you are going over 100 mph even getting the accelerated rehabilitation program granted is something that will require attention to detail and a persuasive argument to support your application to get it granted. In these situations we put a lot of work into preparing an effective argument of mitigation and explanation to bolster your application. Preparation goes a long way towards presenting a winning argument to the Court especially when the Court is faced with a speeder exceeding 100 mph which seems to be a particularly sore subject for local Judges. Needless to say, this is even more so the case when we are dealing with drivers who are driving over 85 mph while intoxicated.
In most reckless driving cases hiring an experienced Stamford criminal attorney to handle your case can make the difference in having the matter dismissed or reduced down to a lesser charge.Why Retain the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?
- Arrests take place at all hours so we are available 24/7.
- 28 years of experience defending reckless driving charges.
- We will fight hard to defend your liberty and your drivers’ license and our focus is on results that will get you the most favorable outcome possible.
- Free initial consultation.
- Reasonable rates / payment plans.
- Our guiding principle is “Clients come first” – we take time to know you as a person, understand all the facts of your case thoroughly, and work to obtain the best result possible.
If you have been arrested for reckless driving in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Cos Cob, Fairfield, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Bridgeport and throughout the County of Fairfield of State of Connecticut do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. We work on a flat fee basis and our rates are very reasonable. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation – we are available 24/7 to respond to urgent matters when you are the subject of an investigation or being questioned by Police. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.