A reckless driving offense in Salt Lake City can affect various aspects of your life. Reckless driving can result from a single traffic violation or multiple violations at once. This crime can also be charged with other offenses that could get your license suspended or carry worse penalties. If you or a family member was charged with reckless driving, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City reckless driving defense lawyer.
Darwin Overson is dedicated to providing you with strategic legal representation to help you fight your reckless driving case. With nearly two decades of experience in criminal law, Darwin is here to alleviate the stress involved with complex criminal procedure. To schedule a free consultation on your case, call us at (801) 758-2287. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Utah Reckless Driving Laws
Title 41 of Utah’s Motor Vehicles Traffic Code §41-6a-528 discusses the circumstances of a reckless driving offense. You can be charged with reckless driving if you operate a vehicle:
- “[I]n willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”
- Commit three moving violations within three miles of driving
Under Utah law, “willful” means that an individual intended to drive in a reckless manner. “Wanton” means the driver understood the significance of the actions they were committing but did not care about the consequences of those actions. Therefore, if a person is driving erratically enough to convince law enforcement they will injure another person or property, they may be charged with reckless driving. Alternatively, if a driver speeds through a red light while driving under the influence (DUI), they may also be charged with reckless driving for committing three offenses at once.
Penalties for Violating Utah’s Reckless Driving Statute
You may receive a class B misdemeanor for violating Utah’s reckless driving statute. In Utah, class B misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
A first offense for reckless driving may have your license suspended for up to three months by Utah’s Driver License Division (DLD). If you commit another reckless driving offense within 12 months, your license will be suspended automatically.
Utah operates on a demerit point system for traffic violations. A conviction for reckless driving will earn you 80 demerit points on your driving record. If you earn 200 demerit points in a three-year span, your license could be suspended.
Alternatively, instead of paying a criminal fine for a class B & C misdemeanor, you may have the option of performing community service or unpaid work. Utah refers to this unpaid work as “compensatory service.” Every hour of compensatory service you perform is worth $10 of restitution. There are a few kinds of organizations you can perform compensatory service for:
- Nonprofit organizations
- State or local government agencies
- Any organization or business entity approved by Utah courts
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in Sentencing
There are aggravating and mitigating factors that can affect the criminal offense you are charged with. For example, if you were driving recklessly and caused someone substantial bodily injuries or fatal injuries, you could be charged with a more serious crime than reckless driving, like vehicular manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is a second degree felony; the penalty is a maximum of 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Other examples of aggravating factors include:
- Committing an “extremely cruel or depraved” offense
- Committing a criminal offense against an unusually vulnerable victim (like a disabled person)
- Having authority over your victim
- Committing additional crimes or offenses at the same time
- Being belligerent with victims or law enforcement
There are also other circumstances that can directly increase a criminal penalty. Committing a reckless driving offense in the presence of a child or being a habitual offender are examples of circumstances that could earn you a stiffer penalty.
However, mitigating factors can make your criminal penalty less severe. Examples of mitigating factors can include:
- The offender had developmental disabilities at the time of the offense
- The offender was highly cooperative with law enforcement
- The court system believes the offender has the potential to be rehabilitated
- The offender was provoked into committing the offense
Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Represent You in Your Reckless Driving Case
If you or a family member is facing a reckless driving offense, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney. Overson Law’s criminal defense lawyers have successfully handled various types of traffic offenses for residents of Utah. Darwin understands how a license suspension and other traffic law penalties can affect your life, and he will work tirelessly to fight your reckless driving case. To schedule a free consultation to talk about your case, call us at (801) 758-2287, or reach us online.