Reckless & Careless Driving

The Difference Between Careless and Reckless Driving

Reckless and careless driving may sound like they may mean the same thing, but New Jersey law specifies a distinction. Here is how New Jersey Statutes define each offense:

  • A reckless driver is, “A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.”
  • A careless driver as, “A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.”

These laws sound very similar, and the decision of which charge to issue is made at the police officer’s discretion. The primary distinction between issuing a reckless driving or careless driving charge is that a reckless driver is well aware they are driving dangerously, while a careless driver has no ill intent.

Potential Consequences for Reckless and Careless Driving

New Jersey courts issue far different penalties for careless driving compared to reckless driving. Penalties for a first offense of careless driving is a an $85 or $140 fine and 2 points on a driver’s license. Comparatively, penalties for a first offense reckless driving may include a $50 to $200 fine, up to a 60-day prison sentence, and five points on a driver’s license. Additionally, a judge can suspend your license for a reckless driving violation if he/she deems you a road hazard.

If you have received a reckless or careless driving ticket, it is in your best interest to contact one of the experienced NJ municipal court lawyers at Goldstein Law Group. Since the police officer determines whether you were driving carelessly or recklessly, it may be possible to alleviate a reckless driving charge. The traffic violation lawyers at Goldstein Law Group have more than 50 years of combined experience practicing law and are prepared to build your reckless or careless driving defense.

Why should I seek legal counsel from Goldstein Law Group if I am being charged with reckless or careless driving?

  • Your Goldstein Law Group lawyer will help you understand the potential consequences associated with each charge.
  • A municipal court lawyer may be able to lessen the penalties associated with reckless and careless driving.
  • If you are being charged with reckless driving, it may be possible to lessen the sentence to careless driving.
Contact Goldstein Law Group for a Complimentary Consultation

If you have been issued a ticket for careless or reckless driving, the NJ municipal court attorneys at Goldstein Law Group are prepared to build your defense and attempt to negotiate a lesser penalty. To schedule your complimentary initial consultation, please call today at (732) 967-6777 or fill out our contact form.