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Written by: Bill McCaslin
| Read Time: 2 minutes

Many different behaviors can constitute reckless driving in California, such as:

  • Speeding through a school zone,
  • Drag racing,
  • Passing in a no-passing zone, and
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Law enforcement officers have wide discretion to charge a driver with reckless driving.

In many cases, prosecutors add reckless driving charges on top of other criminal charges like driving under the influence (DUI). 

Reckless driving punishment can include criminal penalties, costly financial penalties, and an increase in car insurance premiums.

If a reckless driver causes a car accident, they may be liable for financial losses stemming from that accident. 

A car accident attorney at Wells Call Injury Lawyers can help if you were in an accident with a reckless driver in California. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

Reckless Driving Punishment in California

California law defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property.

California considers reckless driving a misdemeanor, which carries the potential of up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and two points against someone’s driver’s license.

A reckless driving conviction can also inflict unexpected consequences like increased car insurance rates or required attendance at a driver’s education course.

What is the minimum jail sentence for reckless driving in California?

In California, if you are convicted of reckless driving, the minimum jail sentence is 5 days. Other possible penalties include a fine between $145 and $1000 and 2 points on your DMV driving record.

What If a Reckless Driver Causes an Accident?

If a driver’s reckless actions cause an accident that causes your injuries, the driver may be liable for your losses. However, you bear the burden of proving their reckless driving directly caused the accident.

For example, you can present proof that the at-fault driver caused the accident by:

  • Attempting to pass you in a no-passing zone,
  • Driving at excessive speeds during poor weather conditions,
  • Running a red light or stop sign,
  • Speeding through a school zone,
  • Driving while intoxicated, or
  • Speeding through a construction zone.

Once you establish a direct link between the at-fault driver’s recklessness and your injury, you can seek to recover your losses from them. 

A civil claim against the driver is different from the criminal charges the State may file against them. In a civil claim, you only need to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence.

In a criminal case, on the other hand, the prosecutor needs to prove the reckless driving charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This higher burden makes criminal charges much harder to prove than civil claims.

Questions About Reckless Driving in California Punishment? Contact Wells Call Injury Lawyers Today

Reckless driving causes thousands of accidents throughout the United States every day.

If a reckless driver causes an accident that results in your injuries, you deserve compensation for your financial losses. A car accident attorney can collect information about your case and use it to create a strategy to defend your rights.

At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those who suffer at the hands of reckless drivers.

Since 1984, we have recovered over half a billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

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