When you obtain your license, you are expected to drive with due care. That being said, anyone who has been on the roads during rush hour in the Twin Cities knows that not everyone drives with due care. If a cop sees you driving carelessly, you can end up with a costly ticket. Below, we explain what constitutes a careless driving citation and the potential penalties.
Careless Driving Definition
Minnesota law defines careless driving as “any person who operates or halts any vehicle upon any street or highway carelessly or heedlessly in disregard of the rights of others, or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any property or any person, including the driver or passengers of the vehicle,” is guilty of careless driving.
There isn’t much difference between a citation for careless driving and a ticket for reckless driving, although the definition of reckless driving sounds a little more severe. Reckless driving occurs when “a person 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. The risk must be such a nature and degree that disregard of it constitutes significant deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
While reckless driving sounds more severe, both careless driving and reckless driving citations are considered misdemeanor offenses, which are punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to 90 days in jail, or both.
Contesting A Careless Driving Charge
Depending on the nature of your employment, a careless or reckless driving charge could have serious implications for your job security. If this is the case, you should absolutely consider hiring an attorney to contest your case. Since a careless driving charge is based on an interpretation instead of a defined set of circumstances like speeding, these cases can be easier to challenge in court if you can make a strong case. Avery has helped numerous people challenge their careless driving citations and avoid huge potential penalties.
Interestingly, in some cases we actually push for a careless driving citation. If you are charged with a DUI and there is strong evidence against you, sometimes we can work with the prosecution to get the charged reduced to a careless driving charge. It’s not something you really want on your record, but it is much better than being found guilty of driving under the influence. Pleading guilty to a reduced charge of careless driving can save you money, help you hang on to your job or make it easier to enter Canada (DUIs can disqualify you from entry).
Minneapolis Careless Driving Attorneys
We know how fight careless driving citations and how to push for a reduced charge if a careless driving citation would be a better option for your scenario. If you’d like to learn more about careless driving citations in Minnesota, or if you would like to set up a free consultation with Avery to talk about your legal options, you can learn more by clicking here.