Gillette Careless Driving Defense Lawyers
Careless driving is considered a misdemeanor in Wyoming. According to WY Stat § 31-5-236: “Any person who drives any vehicle in a manner inconsistent with the exercise of due and diligent care normally exercised by a reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances and where such operation of a motor vehicle creates an unreasonable risk of harm to other persons or property is guilty of careless driving.”
This means that in Wyoming, careless driving is defined as driving in a way that demonstrates a wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others. This can include speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and running red lights or stop signs. In addition, careless driving has the following consequences:
- First offense. The violation carries 20 days in jail for first-time offenders and a maximum $200 fine.
- Second offense. Courts increase the charges for second-time offenders. The second conviction has a 30-day charge and/or $300 in fines.
- Third offense. Motorists face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
The difference between careless driving and reckless driving is the intent or motive behind the driving. Careless driving is when someone is not paying attention to the road and they make a mistake. This could be something like not looking both ways before turning or not paying attention to the speed limit. However, reckless driving is when someone deliberately drives in a dangerous way. For example, speeding or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered reckless driving.
Though the crimes may sound similar, they are different in the eyes of the law. These are two separate and distinct offenses, each carrying its own penalties. Careless driving is a traffic violation typically charged when a driver fails to exercise due care while operating a vehicle. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is a criminal offense charged when a driver operates a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. When the court decides that both violations were crossed, the courts consider the outcome of the accident and may charge the accused with both of these charges and they may even add on DUI and other charges related to the incident.
Careless driving is a difficult accusation to defend against. Each of these defenses has different legal requirements and must be proven to succeed:
- The driver was not actually careless or reckless
- The driver did not intend to cause harm
- The driver was responding to an emergency situation
- The victim was partly to blame for the accident
- The driver's carelessness did not cause the accident
If you are facing a careless driving charge in Campbell County, you should consult with a Gillette criminal attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options and begin preparing your defense. Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. can help ensure that you are treated fairly by the criminal justice system and that you have the best chance of avoiding a conviction or severe penalties. Call (307) 257-7800 to discuss your case with our team.
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