California Vehicle Code 23103 VC – Reckless Driving
California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC makes reckless driving a crime. That is, it makes driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others or their property. The crime of reckless driving is a misdemeanor, and if a person is convicted of it, he faces up to ninety (90) days in county jail, as well as the addition of two (2) points to his criminal record. You should not take reckless driving charges lightly because this crime is a misdemeanor and not an infraction.
If convicted of reckless driving, this conviction will be added to your criminal record. Having a criminal record makes it difficult to obtain or keep a job, and may result in the loss of your professional license. So, if you have been charged with reckless driving in Los Angeles, you should immediately contact a reckless driving defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail and potentially losing your driver’s license.
Text of California Vehicle Code Section 23103 – Driving Recklessly
According to California Vehicle Code Section 23103, “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.
A person who drives a vehicle in an off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.”
Note: For the prosecution to convict a person of reckless driving, it must show that the defendant was driving recklessly. Driving fast alone is not sufficient to show that the defendant was driving recklessly. However, if the prosecution can show that the driver was driving at excessive speeds and weaving in and out of traffic support a finding that the defendant was driving recklessly.
Proving a Person Guilty of Reckless Driving
For the prosecution to convict a person of reckless driving in violation of VC 23103, the prosecution must prove a number of elements as true beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to prove even one element, he will not be able to convict the defendant of reckless driving.
The prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The defendant drove a vehicle
- The defendant drove on a highway or public parking facility
- The defendant drove with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
Note: This criminal statute only applies to public roadways and public parking facilities, it does not apply to privately owned parking lots and roads. For example, if you’re on your own privately owned roadway or parking lot, you cannot be convicted of reckless driving for driving recklessly.
What Are the Penalties if a Person is Convicted of Reckless Driving?
If the prosecution convicts a person of reckless driving in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the State of California, a person faces the following potential penalties:
- Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
- Imprisonment in a county jail for five (5) to ninety (90) days
- A fine that ranges from $145 to $1,000
- Addition of two (2) points to your California DMV record
- Placement on informal summary probation
- More serious consequences if you cause bodily injury
Note: People who are charged with a DUI may sometimes plead guilty to reckless driving charges, which are significantly less serious than a conviction of a DUI. That said, driving too fast and swerving through lanes or street racing may land you a charge of reckless driving, as well.
What Are the Defenses for Reckless Driving?
If you have been charged with reckless driving, there are a number of defenses that your attorney can use to defend you. Here are some of the defenses that your attorney may be able to use to defend you and keep you from being convicted of reckless driving in violation of 23103 VC.
- The defendant was not the person driving the vehicle
- The defendant did not engage in reckless driving
- The defendant is being falsely accused of reckless driving
- The defendant concedes that he was driving reckless, but he was doing see out of necessity, such as a medical emergency
Examples of Reckless Driving
John is headed home on Friday afternoon, and there is a lot of traffic. So, John decides to drive 95mph on the shoulder to get past a patch of traffic. A police officer spots John and pulls him over. In this case, John can be charged with and convicted of reckless driving because driving so fast on the emergency lane places the safety and wellbeing of others at risk.
Sarah is going to her friends’ home at 2:00 AM. She is doing 100+ mph on the freeway and there is not a single car in sight. A police officer spots Sarah and proceeds to pull her over. Here, Sarah is unlikely to be convicted of reckless driving because she is not endangering anyone else since the freeway is empty.
Offenses Related to Reckless Driving – VC 23103
- Wet Reckless Driving – VC 23103/23103.5
- Driving Under the Influence – VC 23152(a)
- Exhibition of Speed – VC 23109(c)
- Driving with a BAC level of 0.08% or More – VC 23152(b)
Contact a Los Angeles Reckless Driving Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving in violation of California Vehicle Code 23103 VC, you should promptly contact an experienced Los Angeles Reckless Driving Defense Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and mitigate the potential consequences that you face. Our reckless driving defense lawyers have the knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible results for you.
You should not take misdemeanor reckless driving charges lightly as a conviction can land you in the county jail for up to 90 days. So, if you have been charged with contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.