What Is Reckless Driving in Texas?

All across America, driving is considered a privilege and not a legal right. Along with that privilege comes responsibility. As a driver, you are expected to drive in a responsible manner that does not endanger the safety of others. When this basic regard for others is violated, you can face legal consequences.

Texas, like other states, has established laws that have been enacted to protect the safety of the public on its roadways. One of these laws is that of reckless driving, as defined in Section 545.401 of the Transportation Code.

This law states that reckless driving is committed when “the person drives a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This is a rather general description that could encompass a variety of behaviors as we will explore below. However, it should first be pointed out that reckless driving does not consist of careless driving or even negligent driving. Negligence and carelessness do not bring to mind “willful” behavior. To be reckless, your driving behavior must have been a knowing choice with the sense that it could endanger others.

Examples of Reckless Driving

As a result of its broad definition, you could be accused of reckless driving in a number of ways, such as:

  • Speeding at a rate that is well over the posted limit
  • Driving drunk or drugged or in a state combining both alcohol and drugs
  • Talking on a cell phone or texting while driving
  • Engaging in street races
  • Making fast and unexpected lane changes in front of other drivers
  • Failing to stop at street signs or traffic lights; this includes blowing through yellow lights
  • Driving too closely behind other vehicles
  • Hit and run
  • Failing to yield when you do not have the right of way
  • Passing a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off children
  • Evading law enforcement

It is also important to note that reckless driving can occur not only on public highways but on private roads as well as in parking lots.

What Are the Consequences of Reckless Driving?

Under Texas law, if you are convicted of reckless driving, you will likely face a fine of up to $200 and/or a jail sentence of up to 30 days. You will also find yourself with a permanent criminal record of this misdemeanor going forward that can affect future life opportunities. In cases where you broke other traffic laws, you may face multiple charges for the same incident. If your reckless driving led to the injuries or death of another, the consequences will be more severe.

Retain the Services of Shane Phelps, P.C.

Facing reckless driving charges? Talk to an attorney at our firm about the circumstances of your case and what can be done in your defense. We have decades of criminal defense experience and our team is led by a Board Certified attorney who is considered a legal expert in his field.

Reach out to our Bryan and College Station attorneys at (979) 773-7028 to arrange for your free case evaluation today.