The various US States recognize reckless driving as a major traffic violation. States that follow a point-based system add points to your driving record for reckless driving incidents. But besides that, such offenses seep into your criminal record history. This can prove to be detrimental to both your personal and professional life. Therefore, you must know how to get reckless driving off your record.
This article explores the topic in-depth and explains what can and cannot be done to remove such offenses from your record.
Reckless Driving Traffic Violation
Reckless driving doesn’t refer to any single act, but instead various types of acts. Therefore, before you try to remove a these incidents from your record, you must first understand what the term means.
While the definition and coverage will vary from state to state, most states define reckless driving as willfully driving in a manner that puts other motorists, pedestrians, and properties at risk. Put it another way, the driver is aware that the way he/she is driving can potentially result in someone getting hurt.
Speeding is the best example of unsafe driving that almost all states recognize. The driver ignores the speed limit warning and goes beyond the limit.
Apart from generally defined reckless driving offenses, specific incidents are considered “per se” reckless driving. Excessive speeding, driving past school buses at an unsafe speed, or street racing are some examples of “per se” reckless driving.
Stats reveal that reckless driving is one of the main reasons for road accidents and fatalities. Also, the fact that the driver is knowledgeable of the offense makes it even more critical. Therefore, states recognize it as a major traffic violation which attracts penalties.
Usually, this type of driving is categorized as a misdemeanor criminal offense, which attracts a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 1 year of jail time.
Furthermore, the states that follow the traffic violation points system will deduct or add your tally points. If a specific number of points are added/deducted within a short period, then your license can be revoked or suspended.
If there is some aggravated level of seriousness like fatalities, it’s not uncommon for states to charge you with a felony. If that’s the case, you may expect $1,000 or more in fines along with jail time, along with the revocation of your driving license.
Removing Reckless Driving From Record
Getting driving in a reckless fashion off your record is not the same as other minor traffic violations. It’s a misdemeanor offense that comes with severe penalties. Removing the records from your criminal history is referred to as “Expungement,” and it varies from state to state.
State-level jurisdiction determines what offense you can expunge. For example, in some states, you can expunge criminal convictions and not traffic infractions. Therefore, you cannot remove minor traffic violations like speeding, running past a stop sign from your record. These remain permanently on your records. But major reckless driving instances like DUI and road rage are open to expungement.
Moving ahead with expungement also varies from state to state. Some states will have you complete a basic form and file for a hearing. Other states do not require you to do anything. These are expunged after a certain number of years automatically.
Hire an Attorney for Your Case
Traffic laws and regulations are complicated. And the fact that they vary from state to state makes it even hard for the layman. Therefore, to get the charge off your record, you need to hire an experienced attorney who is aware of the state jurisdiction. If the laws require you to submit an application, the lawyer will do it for you on your behalf.
In states where expungement of reckless driving offense is not allowed, you can still have charges expunged under the following circumstances:
- The court acquitted you of the reckless driving charges, which will automatically expunge the charges from your criminal record
- If the prosecutor decides to withdraw the case and asks the judge to dismiss the charges raised against you, which in legal terms is called “Nolle Prosequi”
- If there was no plea before the charges of reckless driving against you were dismissed, then you’ll be entitled to an expungement
But you should hire an attorney soon after you’re charged with a reckless driving offense to get reckless driving off your record. You have the right to challenge the charges in court and thus lessen the impact of the tickets. This will subsequently reduce the fines and jail time.