Reckless Driving in Delaware County

The population of Pennsylvania was approximately 12,805,537 in 2017. Roughly one of every 44 people was involved in a traffic accident. One of every 159 people incurred injuries in a crash. One of every 11,263 was killed in a traffic accident. Unfortunately, far too many of these incidents were associated with motorists who were operating a vehicle recklessly.

Pennsylvania Traffic Fatality Data[1]

 

2015

2016

2017

Fatalities Involving Alcohol

345

297

293

Fatalities Involving Excessive Speed

302

316

304

Reckless Driving

Charges of reckless driving involve operating a motor vehicle with minimal regard for the safety of people and/or property. The behavior is explained as being “willful and wanton.” The charge is classified as a summary offense, which is the least serious type of violation. The court may impose a fine of $200 in these matters.

Careless Driving

The definition of careless driving is similar to that of reckless driving in that the motorist disregards public safety. This is also a summary offense; however, the fines may be increased. When the actions result in serious injuries, the fine is increased to $250. If this driver “unintentionally” caused a fatality, the fine is increased to $500.

Aggravated Assault by Vehicle

Reckless driving can also lead to more serious charges. Aggravated assault by vehicle involves a motorist who is operating “recklessly or with gross negligence” that leads to a severe bodily injury. This is a third-degree felony offense. Pennsylvania courts define gross negligence as being actions that demonstrate more than “ordinary carelessness, inadvertence, laxity, or indifference.”

The court may impose an additional penalty of two years of imprisonment on the defendant. This is independent of any penalties imposed and may apply when any of the following is proven:

  • The offense was committed in a marked work zone
  • The driver was operating with a suspended or otherwise invalid driver's license
  • The offense was committed when passing an emergency vehicle or while engaging in text messaging

Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While Under the Influence

Actions of reckless driving that result in severe bodily injury may often be committed by a driver that is operating under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. This is an offense that is enhanced to a felony of the second degree. The courts may also impose an additional two years of imprisonment when the offender is proven to have been operating without a valid driver's license.

A second-degree felony offense in Pennsylvania may result in a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of a $25,000 fine. A third-degree felony offense may result in up to seven years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000. The potential ramifications of being convicted of these offenses are certainly life-altering. Those being charged with these felonies are strongly encouraged to immediately retain assistance from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer.

Experienced Legal Defense for Serious Traffic Offenses

Attorney Joseph D. Lento provides effective legal representation for clients in Delaware County. He will challenge the evidence, ensure your rights are protected, and pursue a favorable outcome in these matters. Contact the office today for a free case consultation at (888) 535-3686.

[1] https://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/Documents/2017_CFB_linked.pdf

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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