Reckless Driving Attorney
A Minnesota Reckless Driving offense is one of the most serious non-DWI traffic charges. It is a misdemeanor to start with, but could become a gross misdemeanor if there is a certain amount of harm caused by the reckless driving conduct. With such serious criminal consequences in play, it is critical to retain a Reckless Driving attorney that knows, in detail, what the State must prove and how to fight your case the best.
To begin with, let’s lay out what amounts to reckless driving in Minnesota. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. 169.13, subd. 1, reckless driving is defined as any “person who drives a motor vehicle while aware of and consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the driving may result in harm to another or another’s property.” Further, the “risk must be of such a nature and degree that disregard of it constitutes a significant deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
To boil this down, the State must prove that the reckless driver was not only aware of, but also consciously disregarding the risk, and the risk must be a significant deviation from what would otherwise be reasonable. Needless to say, there is a lot of grey area in what exactly would constitute reckless driving. What may be reckless driving under one set of circumstances, may not be reckless under other circumstances. And the State will almost certainly be relying upon circumstantial evidence in order to make its arguments, which only makes it harder for it to carry its significant burden of proof. This is where a skilled and tactful argument by an experienced reckless driving attorney is so critical.
There is one more way a person can be cited for reckless driving – street racing: According to the same statute, no person may race any vehicle on the streets or highways. It is reckless driving for any person to willfully compares or contests relative speeds by operating one or more vehicles, regardless of whether or not the speed contested or compared is in excess of the maximum speed prescribed by law.
For either act of reckless driving, it is a misdemeanor offense. But it rises to a gross misdemeanor if the reckless driving causes great bodily harm or death. Great bodily harm is defined as “bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Not only does a reckless driving conviction lead to a criminal record, but it can also lead to the driver losing their insurance. Many insurance companies consider reckless driving to be a terminating offense, which means they would either terminate the insurance immediately or not renew it when it lapses. With so much at stake, you need an experienced and skilled reckless driving attorney on your side.