Reckless Driving/Drag Racing
In the state of Arizona, reckless driving is a serious charge. According to A.R.S. 28-693, a driver is guilty of reckless driving if they drive a vehicle with “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” If convicted of reckless driving, you are found guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, the second most serious misdemeanor charge.
A class 2 misdemeanor conviction means a maximum prison sentence of four months, provided it’s a first offense. If one or more similar misdemeanors or petty offenses have been committed in the two years before the date of the reckless driving charge, the guilty party stands to be sentenced for a class 1 misdemeanor – which can mean up to 6 months behind bars. To avoid a class 1 misdemeanor, an offender must be free of misdemeanor charges for two years, not including jail time.
Violations of certain laws in the two years preceding a reckless driving charge guarantee the driver will be convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor. Among these are:
- A.R.S. 13-1102, negligent homicide. This is criminal negligence resulting in the death of another person, and includes illegal abortion.
- A.R.S. 13-1103, manslaughter. Manslaughter is broadly defined as a person who performed reckless actions that resulted in another’s death. Manslaughter is a class 2 felony. There are many kinds of manslaughter, but a reckless driver only needs to be guilty of recklessly causing another person’s death to turn their reckless driving charge into a class 1 misdemeanor.
- A.R.S. 28-1381, driving under the influence. It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, vapor releasing substances, or any combination thereof that result in driving impairment.
- A.R.S. 28-1382, driving while under extreme influence. This means a blood alcohol level of over 0.15%.
- A.R.S. 28-1383, aggravated driving while under the influence.
- A.R.S 28-708, drag racing on highways. Drag racing is a serious offense in itself that will be discussed fully below.
Being convicted of reckless driving can have serious consequences. The judge usually requires the guilty party to surrender their driver’s license to the police, and a suspension of driving privileges is common. For reckless driving, this suspension won’t exceed ninety days, provided no previous offenses were committed within the preceding two years. If they were, the guilty driver must serve no less than 20 days in jail and is not eligible for probation, release, or pardon. A driver’s license is typically suspended for a longer period. License suspension lasting several years is not uncommon.
Racing on highways, or drag racing, is another kind of dangerous driving with severe consequences. Drag racing is defined as driving a vehicle in a race or speed contest, or for setting a speed record. Drag racing is a crime on streets and on highways. It is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, provided it is a first offense. If a person has already been convicted of drag racing within the preceding two years, he or she is guilty of a class 6 felony with no possibility of pardon, probation, release, or suspension of sentence until he or she has served 10 days in prison. A first time offender will pay a fine of at least $250, and typically must perform community service. Subsequent offenses mean higher fines.
Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart can help you prepare in light of a reckless driving charge. Contact our office today for more information.