Don’t Be Reckless With Your Future If Charged With This Serious Traffic Offense
Colorado Springs drivers who receive a reckless driving ticket often treat the traffic violation as no big deal. They may decide that it’s easier to accept their fate, plead guilty, pay the fine, and maybe attend traffic school. But this cavalier attitude can lead to unintended and painful consequences.
Colorado law, and El Paso County prosecutors, view reckless driving as a serious traffic offense with severe penalties. A conviction on a reckless driving ticket can cost you a lot more than a few hundred dollars and a few hours sitting in a traffic class, it can threaten your freedom to drive as well as your freedom in general.
If you received a reckless driving ticket in Colorado, your goal should be to avoid a conviction at all costs. And the best way to avoid a conviction, and the disruptions that come with it, is to hire an experienced Colorado Springs traffic ticket defense lawyer to help you fight the reckless driving charges.
Why Fight a Reckless Driving Ticket?
Colorado law defines reckless driving as driving “in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Colorado Springs police (CSPD) can stop you for reckless driving for any number of reasons, though significantly exceeding the posted speed limit is perhaps the most common. If a CSPD officer clocks you driving 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, they will charge you with reckless driving as well as speeding.
Far from being a minor annoyance, a Colorado reckless driving conviction can create significant problems in your life. As a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, a reckless driving conviction comes with the possibility of between 10 and 90 days in county jail and/or fines of between $150 and $300, with more severe penalties for any subsequent convictions.
Your first reckless driving conviction will also leave a big mark on your driving record. Each time you receive a traffic citation, “points” are added to your driving record. A reckless driving conviction will instantly cost you eight points. That leaves you little margin for further error, as the state can and will suspend your license for up to one year if you accumulate 12 points or more within 12 months. That means your driving privileges are at serious risk if the police ticket you again within that time for any offense that comes with four or more points. And given that you’ll get four points for such common violations as running a stop sign or failing to yield, that can happen quickly.
Making matters worse, a reckless driving ticket conviction also counts as a strike against you as a “habitual traffic offender.”. Convictions for three major traffic offenses (8 points and above) in a seven-year period will result in the loss of your license for five years. If the reckless driving resulted in serious injury or death, the consequences will correspond to the seriousness of such a tragic outcome.
How An Experienced Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer Can Help You With a Reckless Driving Ticket
To be found guilty of reckless driving, El Paso County prosecutors must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As with any other criminal offense, solid evidence and credible witnesses are required to obtain a conviction. Often in reckless driving cases, prosecutors have neither.
If the officer issued you a reckless driving ticket based in whole or in part on your alleged speeding, an experienced traffic defense lawyer can attack the accuracy of the radar gun the officer used to measure your speed. As with breathalyzers, radar guns are not always accurate, especially if they have not been properly calibrated, recalibrated, and maintained.
In addition, an essential element of reckless driving as defined by Colorado law is “a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” That can be a fairly high bar for prosecutors to clear. A momentary swerve or less than perfect lane change may not meet these standards. Your traffic ticket defense lawyer can argue that your conduct did not demonstrate the level required for a reckless driving conviction, and either defeat the charges entirely or convince prosecutors to reduce the ticket to the less serious offense of “careless driving.”
Often, the officer issuing the reckless driving ticket may have not actually witnessed the alleged conduct and instead relied on the statements of a witness in deciding to issue the ticket. Your traffic defense lawyer can challenge the veracity and credibility of such witnesses. Sometimes, a witness, such as another driver, may allege that a driver was acting recklessly to cover up their own irresponsible behavior on the road.
Don’t Let A Reckless Driving Ticket Go Unchallenged
If you have received a reckless driving ticket, do not make the mistake of treating it as no big deal.
The Colorado Springs traffic ticket defense attorneys at Perkins Law can develop and implement the defense strategy most likely to obtain a positive result, including asserting defenses that can get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Please contact Perkins Law today for your free initial consultation and put our experience to work for you.
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