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What constitutes reckless driving in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Driver's license suspension

North Carolina law enforcement officers have several options available if they don’t like how you are driving. One is to charge you with reckless driving which is a Class II misdemeanor in the state.

There are two grounds they can use to substantiate this charge. They can allege that you were driving:

  1. “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others” or 
  2. “without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property”

While the officers might think your driving met one of those conditions, you might not. You might be sure you were driving just fine and within the law. So what can you do to dispute the charge?

Challenge their view of events

How good a look at your driving did the officers get? Were they parked up in a place that gave them an eagle’s eye view of the road for almost half a mile? Or did they just catch a glimpse of you as they were heading in another direction? Were you the only vehicle on the road or were you surrounded by semi-trucks that would have blocked the officers’ view of you?

Explain your actions

Maybe you were driving less carefully than usual, but were only doing so as you were trying to rush someone who had been severely injured to hospital. Perhaps the reason you left it so late to make that turn was that you were trying to lose a very aggressive driver who was tailgating you.

Claim mistaken identity

The officers say they saw a tall Black male, in his late 30s in a white Chevrolet. You drive a white Chevrolet and were on that road at the time, but you are a female in your 50s. Maybe they stopped the wrong car.

To explore your defense options in more detail, it may benefit you to seek legal guidance.