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What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Wisconsin?

 Posted on November 03, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Untitled---2023-11-03T095530.754.jpgThere are numerous reasons why drivers in Wisconsin may be pulled over by police officers and cited with traffic violations. Most of the time, these violations will be fairly minor, and tickets for speeding, running red lights or stop signs, and similar offenses may not seem very serious. However, there are some offenses that are treated more seriously because they may endanger others or even cause people to suffer injuries in car accidents. Based on the severity of a violation, a person could face charges of reckless driving, which is usually treated as a criminal offense rather than a traffic infraction. 

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a reckless driving charge, a person could be required to pay large fines, or they could even be sentenced to time in jail. To make sure these charges will be addressed correctly, an attorney can provide representation and help defend against a conviction on reckless driving charges.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Under Wisconsin law, reckless driving involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that endangers someone’s personal safety or creates a risk the property will be damaged or destroyed. The negligent operation of a vehicle in this way may lead to criminal charges. More serious charges will apply if someone suffers an injury or if a driver operated a vehicle recklessly on or around a railroad crossing.

There are many examples of behaviors that could be considered reckless while a person is behind the wheel. Excessive speeding may be considered reckless driving if it causes a person to lose control of their vehicle and collide with someone else. Aggressive driving, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or purposely forcing another vehicle off the road, may also lead to reckless driving charges. Any other forms of negligence while driving could potentially lead to criminal charges, which will be more likely if an accident or injury occurred.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

A first offense of reckless driving that did not result in any injuries will result in fines rather than jail time. The minimum fine for this offense is $50, and the maximum fine is $400. For a second or subsequent offense, the fines may range from $100 to $1,000, and a person may also be sentenced to up to one year in a county jail. Reckless driving at a railroad crossing carries a fine of $600 to $2,000, as well as a railroad crossing improvement surcharge of 50 percent of the amount of the fine.

If reckless driving resulted in bodily harm to any person, the penalties would increase significantly. In these cases, fines may range from $600 to $4,000, and a person may be sentenced to between 60 days and two years in a county jail. An offense that resulted in great bodily harm, which may include permanent disabilities, the loss of an organ or part of the body, or a substantial risk of death, will be charged as a Class H felony. A conviction for a Class H felony may lead to a maximum prison sentence of six years and a fine of $10,000.

Any reckless driving offense will be more serious if it puts road construction workers at risk of harm. In these cases, the minimum and maximum fines for reckless driving will be doubled. If a worker was injured due to reckless driving, the driver may be fined up to $10,000, and they may face a jail sentence of up to nine months. They may also be required to perform between 100 and 200 hours of community service and attend a traffic safety course.

Contact Our Jefferson County Reckless Driving Lawyer

Charges for reckless driving will often be more serious than other traffic violations. When defending against these charges, representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. If you need to determine the best ways to proceed in these situations and take steps to avoid a criminal conviction, contact the Milwaukee County reckless driving defense attorney at Bucher Law Group, LLC. Set up a free consultation today by calling 262-303-4916 and learn more about how we can help with your case.

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