A criminal charge can be brought against a driver who operates his vehicles in a negligent, or reckless or dangerous manner.
Dangerous driving is also called reckless driving and it has serious penalties which includes spending time in prison. If you are caught driving recklessly even if no person died or was injured as a result of your reckless driving, you will still be charged and prosecuted although it will be for a less serious offense.
Whether a person was driving recklessly is a matter of fact and it is a matter of context. There are some factors from which reckless driving can be inferred. If you drive in excess of the speed limit, or if you drive in disregard of street signs or traffic lights then it will be considered reckless driving. In an area of high traffic, if you weave in between cars, cutting in front of other cars and tailgating others, then that is also considered reckless driving.
Where and when you are caught determines whether the way by which you were driving can be considered reckless. For instance, if you were speeding in a school zone in the city where the risk of putting children’s lives is that much higher, then your driving is reckless. If, however, you were speeding in an isolated back road in the country, then the manner of driving may not be considered reckless.
Reckless driving that presupposes that the driver knows that the manner by which he is driving poses a danger not only to others but also to himself. Despite the knowledge of the dangers that his manner of driving occasions to others, the driver still drives recklessly, without regard for the safety of others as well as his own. The danger posed by his driving must be over and above the usual level of risk associated with driving a vehicle on the road.
When because of reckless driving a collision is occasioned and a passenger or a pedestrian or another driver is injured, then the reckless driver may be charged with dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. If because of reckless driving a collision is occasioned and a passenger or a pedestrian or another driver dies as a result, then the reckless driver may be charged with dangerous driving occasioning death. The penalty of imprisonment for up to fourteen years is possible.
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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.