Reckless Driving Charges and DefensesAre you facing reckless driving charges in North Carolina? Do not make the mistake that some people make and consider the charges to be no big deal or just a ticket. The reality is that a conviction is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Besides the punishment you must face, you will also have to live with a permanent criminal record, which can limit your ability to obtain a job, professional license, loan, and more. However, you may be able to avoid these harsh consequences if you raise defenses to the charges—which you could have even if you know that you are guilty of driving recklessly.

What Is Reckless Driving in North Carolina?

There are a number of different driving practices that are considered reckless driving in North Carolina. You could be charged with this offense for doing any of the following:

  • Driving on a highway or public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly, in willful and wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others.
  • Driving on a highway or public vehicular area without due caution or at a speed or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger a person or property—probably the most common offense.
  • Driving 15 or more miles per hour over a posted speed limit of more than 55 miles per hour.
  • Speeding at over 80 miles per hour.

What Are Defenses to Reckless Driving Charges?

You will need the assistance of an experienced reckless driving defense attorney to identify and raise all possible defenses to the charges that you face. Possible defenses that your attorney could pursue includes:

  • Not driving. In some cases, the officer identifies the wrong person as the driver. Your attorney could raise sufficient questions about who was driving so that the prosecutor cannot meet his burden of proving that you were the driver beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Location. This is a technical defense, but it can be a powerful one. You must have committed the offense in the police officer’s jurisdiction. When the location of your offense is near a municipality’s border, this may be a viable defense.
  • Necessity. To raise this defense, you would need to show that you were driving because you reasonably believed that an emergency existed—that you did not create—and that the emergency posed a danger to you or another person.
  • Calibration. Your attorney may be able to show that the police officer’s radar gun picked up another driver’s speed or that the device was not used, maintained, or calibrated properly. To effectively prove this defense, you may need to retain an expert witness.
  • Your speedometer. You may also need to hire an expert to prepare a calibration report if you believe that your speedometer was faulty and this caused your reckless driving. However, you would want to discuss the usefulness of doing this given the expense with your attorney.
  • Accidents. If your actions resulted in a motor vehicle accident, the police officer could charge you with reckless driving. However, your driving actions may have been negligent, but not rise to the level of recklessness.
  • GPS defense. The GPS defense can sometimes be used to successfully show that you were going slower than the officer claims. To be effective, you would need to have a GPS readout of your speed at the time that the officer claims you were driving recklessly and proof that the GPS was accurate.
  • Violation of your constitutional rights. You may have a variety of constitutional criminal defenses, such as the officer did not have probable cause to stop you, failed to give you your Miranda warnings, or questioned you after you requested an attorney.

These defenses could result in the charges being dismissed—even if you were driving recklessly.

Are You Facing Reckless Driving Charges in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing reckless driving charges in Charlotte, NC, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.


C. Todd Browning
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer
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