A charge for reckless driving in Texas is not at all uncommon. However, unlike traffic citations such as those for speeding or not stopping at a stop sign, reckless driving comes with criminal penalties. There are multiple ways in which an individual can receive this charge, including speeding, racing, or otherwise engaging in behavior that endangers the lives and safety of others. Reckless driving is commonly a misdemeanor but may be a felony offense if lives or property were damaged.
Houston Reckless Driving Attorney
If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony offense for reckless driving in Houston, it's important to carefully consider your legal options. A reckless driving offense is not like a common traffic citation. While the penalties may seem minimal, it will appear on your criminal record. For certain working professionals, including law enforcement officials, transportation workers, or airport personnel, this can endanger current employment or licenses.
Criminal defense attorney Matt Horak has helped defend the rights of men and women facing charges for reckless driving or other traffic crimes in Houston and throughout Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, and Brazoria County. His experience as a former Assistant District Attorney in Harris County has also proven an asset for his clients throughout the years. Call his Houston law office today at (713) 225-8000 to discuss your legal options during a free, in-depth consultation.
A reckless driving offense is committed if an individual drives a vehicle with disregard for the safety of other people or property on a highway or other public place. This is a misdemeanor offense and can be punishable by the following:
- A fine of up to $200
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Both a fine and confinement
Please note that the reckless driving offense may also apply in certain cases of public property. This includes private access ways or parking lots owned by businesses and maintained for patrons. It does not include private residential property or the property of a garage which charges for vehicle storage.
If a police vehicle gives an audible or visual signal for a motor vehicle driver to bring the vehicle to a stop and the driver willfully does not comply, this is considered a misdemeanor offense. Signals that the police officer in pursuit of the vehicle may use include those made by hand, voice, or police siren. However, the officer must be in uniform with a prominently displayed badge. The police officer's vehicle must also prominently show the insignia of a law enforcement agency, even if an emergency light was used.
It is a Class A misdemeanor if the person who attempted to flee or elude the officer placed other individuals in danger of serious bodily injury during the offense. This person is presumed to have engaged in reckless conduct if they were intoxicated while operating the vehicle.
Racing on public property may also bring with it a charge for reckless driving, among other charges. Under law, a person may not participate in a race, vehicle speed competition, test of physical endurance of a vehicle's driver, or exhibitions to make vehicle speed records. Drag races are also prohibited under law and are defined as two or more vehicles engaged in competition to out distance the other or a test of stamina. These are considered Class B misdemeanor offenses in Texas.
The criminal offense for racing on a highway may be escalated to a Class A misdemeanor if it's proven that the person is a repeat offender for a racing offense, or was operating the vehicle while intoxicated, or was in possession of an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Other offenses include:
- State Jail Felony – If the person has been convicted of the same offense twice in the past.
- 3rd Degree Felony – If another person suffered injury as a result of the offense.
- 2nd Degree Felony – If another person suffered serious bodily injury or death as a result of the offense.
Transportation Code Section 545.420 provides for the seizure of a vehicle used in "Racing on a Highway." Under this statute, a police officer is now required to seize a vehicle used in racing on a highway where an accident results in property damage or injury to any person. The owner may not reclaim the vehicle until all removal and storage fees are paid.
Horak Law | Houston Reckless Driving Lawyer
Contact Horak Law to discuss your legal options after a charge for reckless driving in Houston. Fighting the charges proactively is in your best interest and can help you build a solid defense while anticipating the strategy of the prosecution. Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak will help you understand your legal options and the most favorable paths to take during a free consultation. Call (713) 225-8000 or send an online message to learn more.