Most people will encounter some type of issue during the course of their driving careers. Sooner or later, no matter how careful a given person may be, most people will either receive a traffic ticket and many may commit a more serious driving related offense. Regardless of how skilled or careful a person may be, every driver in the State of Connecticut should familiarize him/herself with the basic driving laws of the state. In this post, we will discuss in detail one of the more critical distinctions in Connecticut State driving law: speeding vs. reckless driving. As we will see, this distinction carries extremely important implications, and so drivers should be clearly aware of the differences between these offenses.
Speeding in Connecticut
In Connecticut, the definition of speeding is straightforward: any time you exceed the posted speed limit, you are speeding. If you’re driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour speed zone, you are speeding. However, it’s important to understand that speeding, by itself, is not a crime. Depending on the circumstances at hand, if you are pulled over and ticketed for speeding by a police officer, you will be cited with either an infraction or a violation and need to pay a fine, but there is no risk of going to jail. Of course, if you commit speeding violations often, you may have your driving privilege suspended or terminated; but, by itself, speeding is not a crime.
Reckless Driving in Connecticut
By contrast, reckless driving is in fact a crime. There are three instances which can lead to a determination of reckless driving: (1) driving in a manner which puts others at a significant risk of injury or harm, and there is awareness of this risk by the driver, (2) driving at any speed which endangers the lives of others, and (3) driving over 85 miles per hour. This third scenario is considered a bright line rule: a person is driving recklessly whenever their speed exceeds 85 miles per hour, even if that person apparently has full control of his or her vehicle, or doesn’t appear to be endangering the lives of others.
When law enforcement (and the court, as well) examines the other two scenarios described above, they will make a determination of reckless driving by paying attention to the various circumstances surrounding each individual case. For instance, a person may be charged with reckless driving because they didn’t make adjustments for conditions on the road, weather, traffic, or other factors.
Possible Penalties for Reckless Driving
Because reckless driving is indeed a crime, offenders can potentially face rather serious penalties. For first time offenders, reckless drivers will be charged with a class D misdemeanor. Those who are convicted of a first offense can face up to 30 days in jail, and (or) fines between $100 to $300. In addition, first offenders may have their driving privilege suspended for 30 to 90 days.
Naturally, the penalties for repeat offenders are more severe. In Connecticut, repeat offenders will face the same set of possible penalties, regardless of how many offenses they have committed. Repeat offenders face up to 1 year in jail, and (or) fines of up to $600, and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days. Importantly, fines will be automatically doubled for any reckless driving offense which occurs in a construction zone.
Contact a Top Connecticut Criminal Lawyer for More Information
As you can see, understanding the distinction between speeding and reckless driving is a very important thing for Connecticut drivers. Knowing this distinction can make a huge difference when you are out driving on the road. For instance, no matter what happens, be sure to never exceed 85 miles per hour, because you know you could be charged with a crime! If you’d like more information, or if you need assistance with a reckless driving charge, reach out to APEX Law Firm today. Call us at 860-900-0900 right now.