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Reckless Driving Defense Attorney - VC 23103 in OC

Reckless Driving Charge Defense Attorney

What is a reckless driving charge in California?

Reckless driving involves driving a vehicle in a manner which is unsafe and puts the public and/or driver himself in danger.  Although most people misspell it by writing "wreckless driving," it's actually reckless.  Examples of reckless driving are:

  • Driving much faster than speed limit through residential areas or school zones
  • “Burning rubber” or “doing donuts”
  • Using shoulders to pass vehicles at a fast rate
  • Driving in the wrong direction to beat traffic or take a shortcut
  • Excessive lane changes, especially at higher speeds
  • Driving through a red light with knowledge that it is red
 

Reckless Driving in California is defined under driving offense of vehicle code (VC) violation section 23103 as:

"(a)  A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(b)  A person who drives a vehicle in an off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.”

What are common examples of reckless driving charges?

The following are common charges of reckless driving in California: 

Is reckless driving a misdemeanor in California? Yes, but it can also be a felony.

VC 23103(a):

  • Misdemeanor charge for those with zero priors
  • Carries 5-90 days in jail
  • Fine of $145 to 1,000

VC 23103 (a) or VC 23103 (b), Misdemeanor:

  • Misdemeanor with 1 or 2 priors
  • Carries 5-90 days in jail
  • Fine of $145 to 1,000

23104(a), Reckless driving with injury:

  • Misdemeanor charge
  • Carries 30-180 days in jail
  • $220 to 1,000 fine

Is reckless driving a felony in California? Under these circumstances, yes.  

VC 23104 (b), Reckless Driving with Great Bodily Injury: 

  • Felony charge 
  • Carries 1year, or 2 years or 3 years in prison
  • Fine of $220 to 1,000

23105(a), Reckless Driving Causing Specific Bodily Injuries:

  • Felony charge 
  • Carries 1year, or 2 years or 3 years in prison
  • Fine of $220 to 1,000

What are the consequences of being convicted of reckless driving charge?

  • A misdemeanor or felony charge can carry jail time
  • The vehicles may get impounded
  • DMV will add points on your record which will affect insurance rates
  • Fines are very expensive
  • Driver's license may be suspended

What are the defenses for a reckless driving charge?

  1. You were not the driver
  2. You did not commit the reckless act
  3. You committed the reckless act but for a reason to avert a bigger catastrophe. For example, you were a victim of carjacking. You slammed on your gas to get away. That caused “burning rubber” of your tires as you sped off. It goes without saying, you can't lie to create a defense.   

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