Arizona Revised Statute 28-693 governs reckless driving in the state of Arizona.
A charge of reckless driving is issued when a driver operates a motor vehicle in a reckless manner without regard for the safety of property or others.
Arizona law imposes significant penalties and a charge of reckless driving that can severely impact an individual’s life.
Therefore, it is crucial to defend against reckless driving charges with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to mitigate these potential outcomes.
Our attorneys understand that a reckless driving charge does not justify guilt.
The Meaning of Reckless Driving
Regardless of reckless driving being a misdemeanor offense, the charge is considered a lot worse than many other misdemeanors.
Not only that, but reckless driving could even be a part of an aggressive driving charge.
Reckless driving is listed under ARS 28-693, defined as an individual controlling a vehicle without the safe regard for others.
A few common examples of reckless driving involve the following:
- Driving the wrong way
- Driving over the speed limit
- Swerving in traffic
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Driving close to intimidate
- Cutting off a fellow driver
- Failing to yield
Reckless Driving Punishment
The type of punishment for reckless driving in Arizona can be decided by the current number of convictions involving reckless driving.
A First Offense Reckless Driving Charge
When the driver is a first-time offender and has been convicted of reckless driving, they will have a Class 2 misdemeanor on their record.
When no other reckless driving charges exist, the following punishments may take place:
- Potential driver’s license suspension
- Fine up to $750
- 120 days in jail
More Than One Reckless Driving Charge
If a driver has been conceited of a second reckless driving within two years, they would be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
They could see the following punishments:
- Suspension of driving privileges
- Mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail
- Up to an additional 180 days in jail
- A max fine of $2,500
A judge may also order you to attend driving school for defensive driving before re-obtaining your driver’s license.
Depending on your job, it may be in jeopardy if you cannot get to work in a reliable fashion.
Potential Options if You are a Student or Employed
When it is known that you are a student or are employed, you may be permitted to continue with school or work for at least five days and lasting for only 12 hours each day.
You will be in jail when you are not working or attending class.
Speaking to your attorney about this option is important because it comes with a difficult process. However, your job will still be there this way, although your driver’s license won’t be.
The Law Defining Reckless Driving in Arizona
The law defining reckless driving (ARS 28-693) states that reckless driving occurs when a:
- Vehicle is driven
- When reckless disregard is performed
During a reckless driving case, it will be determined if recklessness was a factor based on the facts presented.
Knowing this, it is also essential to understand that reckless driving occurs when property and people are in danger.
Also, disregard can be found if a situation occurs that creates the following:
- Risk that is an unreasonable amount
- Increase in probability of harm or injury
Jane is a hardworking and dedicated employee who is always on time for work and puts in extra hours to meet deadlines. One day, Jane woke up late and realized she was already running 30 minutes behind schedule.
In a rush, she hurriedly got dressed, grabbed her keys, and hopped into her car.
As she drove down the highway, Jane noticed she was running even later than she thought. In an effort to make up for lost time, she started to speed, weave in and out of lanes, and tailgate other cars.
She was so focused on getting to work on time that she overlooked the danger she was putting herself and others in.
Unfortunately, her reckless driving caught the attention of a police officer, who pulled her over and issued her a ticket for reckless driving.
Defending Against ARS 28-693 As A Driver
No matter what type of case is being made, the defendant has the right to challenge the charges.
With a reckless driving or aggressive driving charge, one of three defenses may be attempted to show that there was no reckless disregard or that the vehicle was not being driven.
An Emergency Was Involved
A reckless or aggressive driving charge can be challenged when a true emergency occurs simultaneously.
A true emergency can involve a life or death situation relating to a person’s health and which is time sensitive such as giving birth or experiencing a heart attack. The defense can be considered a ¨necessity¨.
There Was No Reckless Disregard
Remember, after analyzing all facts, the court will decide on a reckless driving charge.
This allows an opportunity for defendants to make a defense against the charges if they can show that no reckless disregard took place.
An example of this is pleading guilty to speeding but not acting in a reckless fashion that jeopardized lives.
A Vehicle Was Not Being Driven
To be charged with reckless driving, it must be proven that you were the one driving the vehicle.
A defense demonstrating that you were not driving will need to be proven.
The defense may show that a police officer wrote the wrong occupant as being the driver.
Offenses Relating To Reckless Driving or Aggressive Driving
When reckless driving or an aggressive driving charge is made, they may involve the following circumstances:
- Excessive speeding
- Street racing
- Vehicular manslaughter
Excessive speeding is a common offense in Arizona and is treated as criminal speeding.
When someone is driving twenty mph over the posted speed limit, it is considered criminal speeding regardless of where it occurs.
This crime is seen a lot within rural areas of Arizona, where not too many drivers travel to get to other parts of the state.
This also occurs as you travel from one tourist spot to the next, such as driving to Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, and Sedona.
When street racing takes place, it is considered a crime when any of the following occurs on a public street:
- Racing to achieve a record
- A speed contest
- Car racing side by side
- Individual drag racing
A single street racing change on someone’s record will always be considered a misdemeanor in Arizona.
Driving Under the Influence
When a driver is driving under the influence, it is considered while the driver is:
- Intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
- Has a minimum of 0.08% blood alcohol content
Compared to reckless driving in Arizona, a driving under the influence charge does not need to be considered dangerous for a conviction to take place.
Reckless Vehicular Manslaughter
When reckless vehicular manslaughter occurs, it stems from a person being killed by a driver in reckless control of their vehicle.
It is important to remember that if you are charged with vehicular manslaughter, you will also likely have reckless driving charges against you.
Get the Representation from the Best
In order to fight reckless driving charges, you need to have the perfect legal team for the job. This is why you need the highly experienced attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta.
CHM Law has years of experience in criminal defense and can provide you with the guidance you need to protect your rights and fight your charges. Don’t let a reckless driving charge define you.
With the help of CHM Law, you can minimize the impact of your charges and potentially avoid a conviction and even work towards dismissing the charges completely.
Call us at (602) 825-2500 if you have been pulled over for reckless driving, and we’ll get started immediately on putting together a winning defense.
David Maletta is a widely respected criminal defense attorney with over 23 years of experience and has worked on over 1,000 cases and has successfully won over 100 jury trials. David graduated from Northern Arizona University, Magna Cum Laude in 1993 with a degree in Psychology. Shortly thereafter, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1998. He has extensive experience in criminal and DUI matters, homicide, sexually-based offenses, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, and various misdemeanor crimes.
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One piece of advice for people who are charged with anything in Arizona is to hire a great lawyer because the state does not care if you’re innocent or not. The Arizona legal system will try to ruin your life. A couple of years ago I was the victim of an antisemitic hate crime when a guy named Billy, who had a history of drug and alcohol issues and was thrown out of the Navy for being violent, decided to attack me after drinking all day in Old Town (Sunday funday) over a pointless argument over whether it’s better to buy homes immediately post-recession or during the 10th year of a bull market run which was his argument. The disagreement led to Billy making several anti-semitic comments and assaulting me, which led to me beating up billy. Billy and his friends then went to the police and lied to try to get me thrown in jail for months for assault while getting 10s of thousands of dollars in restitution in the process. I hired David Maletta. We went to court and destroyed Billy and his best friend/roommate Taylor who were trying to extort me and ruin my life. In Arizona there is a 3.5% chance you’ll get all charges dropped because of how hard the state is on crime but we pulled it off and I still have a clean record to this day.
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Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.
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