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When Does Speeding Become Reckless Driving?

California traffic laws prohibit drivers from driving faster than is safe. Despite this, some drivers drive so fast that it is considered reckless driving. So when does speeding become reckless driving? This article delves into this much-asked question and how it applies to California driving laws.

Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers today to talk to one of our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys if you have been injured in a reckless driving accident.

Reckless Driving in California

Reckless driving in California is defined under Vehicle Code 23103 as driving on a highway in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. It is usually initially charged as a misdemeanor and will go on your permanent record. If you are charged with reckless driving in the state, you may face the following penalties:

  • 5 to 90 days in county jail
  • A fine of $145 to $1,000
  • Two points on your driver’s license
  • A surcharge in your insurance rates

Although reckless driving is often charged as a misdemeanor, it can be raised to a felony assault with a deadly weapon. This is true when the defendant used their vehicle to cause serious bodily harm.

Reasonable and Prudent Speed in California

Section 22350 of the California vehicle code states that ‘no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, traffic, and the surface and width of the road. This is called the maximum speed law.

The minimum speed law, on the other hand, is laid down under Section 22400 and states that ‘no person shall drive on a highway at such a slow speed as to become an impediment to the normal and reasonable flow of traffic.’ This is unless the speed limit has been lowered by posted signs.

Reckless Driving and Speeding

Reckless driving is convicted under the California Vehicle Code § 23103(a) as long as it includes willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. The charge can be executed at any speed, although a driver may be charged if they are found to be speeding excessively. Essentially, speeding in California is automatically treated as reckless driving if the driver travels at 15 mph over the posted speed limit. 

Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor, you could also face a criminal charge for an exhibition of speed or street racing.  Besides the penalties discussed above, first-time violators may also face a license suspension of up to one year. The defendant may also face additional court costs.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

When does speeding become reckless driving? A speeding ticket is considered a citable offense that is punishable through fines, insurance surcharges, and even traffic school. However, when a driver is caught speeding at 15 mph past the speed limit, they may be charged with reckless driving.

El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers is a leading personal injury law firm. Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the best outcome from your case. If you have been injured in a reckless driving accident, contact us today online or at 888-542-6021 to schedule a consultation.