(a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision… in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
Reckless driving is a broad term that can refer to many kinds of unsafe behavior on the road. It is different from a speeding ticket because it’s not just a traffic violation—it’s a misdemeanor crime. As such, reckless driving carries a much heavier sentence than just a fine. Penalties include jail time and a year or more of probation.
What Counts as Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is defined as any activity while driving that shows a reckless disregard for human life (or property). Common examples of reckless driving include:
- Driving onto a sidewalk
- Forcing your car through a crowd of people
- Swerving into the oncoming lane
- Ignoring traffic lights and stop signs altogether
However, almost any irregular driving can be seen as reckless driving if it’s serious enough. The key is whether a reasonable driver would realize it could endanger people or property.
“Wet Reckless” Versus “Dry Reckless”
VC 23103 is used for “dry” reckless driving, that is, you were caught driving dangerously and charged with this crime, with no alcohol or drugs were involved. In some cases, a person initially arrested for Driving Under the Influence can bargain the charge down to reckless driving. This is desirable because Reckless Driving is less serious than DUI. However, this kind of plea bargain is treated differently than regular reckless driving and will be charged under VC 23103.5 or “wet” reckless driving.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties for VC 23103 include:
- Jail time lasting from five days to three months
- A fine between $145 and $1,000
- One to two years probation
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