Reckless driving puts everyone at risk, especially in Sapulpa. It is against the law in Oklahoma. A vehicle in the hands of a reckless driver may cause great harm or even death.
Here is what you need to know about the crime and how it is handled in Creek County.
Keeping Eyes on the Road
In general, the law requires that drivers exercise due care while driving. That means that a driver’s attention must be turned to the act of driving, and anything that distracts a driver can create a dangerous situation.
In Oklahoma, reckless driving is defined as driving carelessly or wantonly without regard for the safety of persons or property around you. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 11-901
Driving in a careless or wanton manner implies a clear disregard for the health and safety of others. This statute is meant to cover a number of situations that might put others at risk when someone is behind the wheel.
This crime has elements, all of which must be proven by the prosecution in order to secure a conviction. These elements are:
- you must be driving;
- a motor vehicle;
- in a careless or wanton manner; and
- in disregard for the safety or persons or property, or in violation of speed limits, or have exceeded a speed that a reasonable and prudent person would have considered to be reasonable given the road and traffic conditions, or drove at an excessive speed that a reasonable and prudent person would have considered to be reasonable and proper in order to stop in the clear distance ahead.
Excessive speed, while not the only factor in determining liability, is often a significant factor. In these cases, all of the facts are important and criminal culpability can turn on small factors.
A speed of 50 mph alone may not be sufficient for a conviction, but a speed of 50 mph where children or the elderly are present may be. Speeds over 90 or 100 mph alone may be sufficient. Excessive speed in combination with other factors such as road or weather conditions, or in the presence of an intoxicant such as drugs or alcohol, most certainly may be considered to be reckless driving.
Any driving that shows disregard for the safety of others or property can be sufficient.
This crime is often charged either alone or along with a DUI. Some DUIs can be pled down to reckless driving depending on the circumstances, but both a DUI and reckless driving carry heavy penalties.
Case Law Examples of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving convictions have been upheld in the following situations:
- An intoxicated driver forcing other drivers off the road (Wolf v. State, 375 P.2d 283 (Okl. Cr. 1966))
- Speeding at 100-105 mph (Matchen v. State, 349 P.2d 28 (Okl. Cr. 1960))
- passing other cars in such a way as to force them off the road (Hooper v. State, 348 P.2d 191 (Okl. Cr. 1959))
- Being intoxicated and driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone, resulting in an accident ( Sullivan v. State, 333 P.2d 591 (Okl. Cr. 1958))
Penalties For Reckless Driving
The crime is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. A first conviction of reckless driving is punishable by between five and 90 days of jail time, or a fine between $100 and $500, or both. Subsequent convictions bring harsher penalties. You can spend up to six months in jail for a subsequent conviction.
If you are being charged for reckless driving, you don’t want to go it alone. Any time for liberty is at peril is a great time to call an experienced Sapulpa criminal defense lawyer.
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