Reckless Driving Penalties in Louisiana

Did you know that the number of US traffic deaths increased by 18.4% in the first half of 2021? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted behavioral research that showed that the number of people not wearing a seatbelt and speeding has increased. They have seen an increasing trend of reckless driving. 

Are you dealing with charges for reckless driving in Louisiana? You need to understand what reckless driving is and its impact on you. Reading more about it can help you take the right next steps to deal with reckless drivers or reckless driving charges.

In this article, we will take you through some important information on reckless driving in the state of Louisiana, including penalties.

Reckless Driving in Louisiana explained

What Is Reckless Driving?

You may think that reckless driving is something out of the ordinary, but it’s important to know that you can get penalized for simple reckless actions. Reckless driving is a very broad charge and many different activities can fall within its ambit.

Many judges will order jail time if the defendant was going over 100 mph.

In Louisiana, reckless driving means the reckless operation of any vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, aircraft, etc. You will be charged with reckless driving if the police find that you are operating the vehicle in a criminally negligent or reckless manner

For example, you could be caught:

  • Driving too far above or below the speed limit
  • Changing lanes in a manner considered dangerous
  • Running red lights
  • Failing to yield for pedestrians
  • Crossing a double yellow line

If you are checking your phone while driving or eating while driving, this too can be considered reckless driving. Falling asleep behind the wheel or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can really endanger the public and falls within the ambit of reckless driving.

1. Reckless Driving Is an Actual Crime With Significant Penalties

The first question you need to consider is: “Is reckless driving a felony?” In Louisiana, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor.

Unlike other charges dealing with the operation of a vehicle, reckless driving is not a traffic infraction. You don’t just get a traffic ticket that you can pay for and move on with your life. You can end up with some serious consequences.

A misdemeanor is considered to be a less serious crime than a felony. If you committed a felony, you have to deal with long jail times of more than a year and sometimes even a lifetime. Misdemeanor, on the other hand, has lighter penalties including:

  • community service
  • fines
  • rehabilitation
  • probation
  • jail time for less than a year

Remember this does not mean that you can take reckless driving less seriously. With the penalties, both first-time offenders and repeat offenders have to deal with serious consequences.

2. It Has Penalties Can Include Jail Time

The basic penalty for reckless driving is a fine of not more than $200 and jail time of not more than 90 days. Yes, that’s right. You can get jail time for reckless driving.

The harshness of the penalties depends on a number of factors including the recklessness of your actions, past behavior, alcohol or drug influence. Speaking to an attorney with experience dealing with reckless driving can help you understand what your options are.

3. It Has Penalties Can Include Community Service 

It’s important to remember that reckless driving is not just a traffic ticket. The charges will stay on your permanent record. While the charges can be lower for less severe events of reckless driving, you can still be stuck with 250 hours of community services.  

With the right attorney, you may be able to negotiate the hours of community service. If you have more severe charges, you may want community service instead of jail time. A professional can help you navigate those tough discussions. 

Your license can also be suspended which can have significant effects on your work and home life. All the while, you will have to deal with charges on your permanent record.

4. Repeated Convictions Mean Higher Penalties

With repeated offenses, you will be charged with higher penalties. The laws in Louisiana state that a second offense and any other subsequent offenses will result in higher penalties of $25 to $500. You can also be dealing with jail time of 10 days to 6 months.

These higher penalties are pretty daunting. If you are dealing with a second offense, you should consider reaching out to a Louisiana attorney. A good attorney may be able to negotiate and bring down your penalties towards the lower end of the spectrum.

5. Penalties Can Include License Suspension

Not only that, if you are charged with a few reckless charges in a year, you have to deal with your license getting suspended for a 24-month period. This can have other financial and emotional impacts on the rest of your life.

Think about what will be affected if you cannot drive. You may not be able to get to work on time or at all, especially if you work in remote areas. You will have trouble conducting your day-to-day activities including groceries, going to the gym, and running other errands. 

At the end of the day, reckless driving can end up costing you a lot of time and money. Accidents caused due to speeding cost Americans about $40.4 billion each year. This can include legal costs, fines, medical costs, etc.

6. Reckless Driving and DWI

If you were arrested for DWI and Reckless Driving under La. R.S. 14:99, you may be wondering why you were charged for Reckless Driving when you were just speeding at a rate that is not greatly over the speed limit or maybe you just went over the line briefly. Either way, the police officer added the criminal charge of Reckless Driving because if you are operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, then you are operating the vehicle in a criminally negligent or reckless manner. That is the reasoning. These are just allegations at this point. It is more important to see how the charges are handled in court. Just because the officer books you under this charge doesn’t mean you are stuck with it.

Contact Your Louisiana Attorney for Reckless Driving

Now you know everything about reckless driving in Louisiana. You know how the Louisiana legal system works and what the laws in Louisiana are. With this information, you can confidently navigate through the legal system.

Rather than take on the stress of dealing with a reckless driving ticket on your own, you should reach out to experts in the industry. If you are looking for an attorney in Baton Rouge, Livingston Ascension, or anywhere in Louisiana, contact us today to hire representation.

Getting professional help from an attorney with insights into reckless driving charges can be one of the best decisions you can make for your case. 


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, Monroe, Lake Charles and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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