Understanding Reckless Driving Charges in Texas

crashed car and disappointed man

There is not a driver out there who has logged more than a mile or two who hasn’t been driven to fits of anger by another driver’s negligence, incompetence, or just plain rudeness. Welcome to driving in the modern world. If this anger, however, gets the better of you and morphs into aggressive or otherwise reckless driving, you could find yourself facing a reckless driving charge, which comes with significant penalties and fines – not to mention the social stigma attached that can harm your job prospects and more. 

Reckless Driving Defined

While fiddling with the radio, eating and/or drinking, fussing with your hair, or doing anything else behind the wheel that is unrelated to driving safely is less than ideal, it does not rise to the level of reckless driving. In the State of Texas, reckless driving amounts to having a wanton disregard for the safety of others on the road while behind the wheel. As drivers, we all owe everyone else on the road a duty of care that includes following the rules of the road and accommodating each other's safe passage, and any failure to do so can lead to both civil and criminal charges (or reckless driving). If your driving – in any given instance – is interpreted to display a desire to cause harm – or if it appears that you simply do not care if you cause serious harm – you can face a reckless driving charge. 

Common Practices that Are Often Deemed Reckless Driving

There are a variety of dangerous driving practices that are commonly deemed reckless driving, including:

  • Ignoring traffic signs, lights, and/or signals

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Related: Driving under the Influence of Drugs in Texas)

  • Speeding past a school bus that has its stop sign out

  • Texting behind the wheel

  • Speeding excessively (Can Speeding Land Me in Jail?)

  • Refusing to yield the right-of-way

  • Attempting to incite street racing 

  • Attempting to evade law enforcement

Engaging in any of the above can lead the authorities to extrapolate that you exhibited utter disregard for the safety of others – or that you actually intended to cause harm – and to slap you with a reckless driving charge in the process. 

A Conviction and Its Consequences

If you are ultimately convicted of reckless driving, it is a misdemeanor, and the consequences will relate to the severity of your alleged offense. All told, you can face up to 30 days in jail, and a fine of up to $200, but the social stigma attached can be even harsher. It's important to recognize that you have legal rights and that they are worth protecting – reach out to a dedicated criminal defense lawyer today. 

An Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Standing by to Help

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a trusted criminal defense lawyer who skillfully applies his impressive experience to every case he takes on. To learn more about what Mr. Pritchard can do to help you, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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