Aggressive driving is a huge problem in North Carolina and is a harshly punished offense. If you have been charged with aggressive driving, you did not get a simple traffic ticket. You are being charged with a misdemeanor crime and will have a permanent criminal record that will have long-term consequences on your life if you are convicted.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
In our state, aggressive driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense—a more serious crime than reckless driving. It is considered aggressive driving to operate a motor vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in a willful and wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others while doing one of the following:
- Violating speed limits in a school zone
- Committing a general speed limit violation
In addition, the driver must have also committed two or more of the following traffic offenses to be guilty of this crime:
- Run a red light
- Run through a stop sign
- Pass another vehicle illegally
- Fail to yield the right-of-way
- Follow too closely
What Are the Penalties for Aggressive Driving?
North Carolina uses a complicated sentencing system that considers the seriousness of the offense and the person’s prior criminal record. There are three levels of sentencing:
- Active punishment. This is the most serious level of punishment and includes a jail or prison sentence.
- Intermediate punishment. If sentenced to an intermediate punishment, a defendant would be placed on supervised probation for a period of time and may also be incarcerated in jail before starting the probation.
- Community punishment. Community punishment is the least serious type of sentence. It can include unsupervised probation, house arrest with electronic monitoring, and community service.
The length of the sentence will also depend on the individual’s prior criminal record and what level he is classified at. Here is how long the punishment could be:
- Level 1. If a person has no prior convictions, his sentence would be up to 45 days of community punishment.
- Level 2. A person would be sentenced to an active, intermediate, or community punishment for up to 45 days if he had one to four prior convictions.
- Level 3. If a person had five or more prior convictions, the sentence would be increased to up to 120 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment.
If you have been charged with aggressive driving, you cannot afford to just plead guilty and accept your punishment given the harsh short- and long-term consequences you face. Let our experienced traffic ticket attorneys mount an aggressive defense strategy so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. To find out how we can help, call our Charlotte office to schedule a free consultation today.