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What are the penalties for reckless driving in Arizona?

Every driver makes mistakes when they get behind the wheel. Sometimes we speed or rush through a stop sign without coming to a full stop if we are in a hurry. We might drift out of our lane or even run through a red light if we aren't paying attention. We know that these actions can be dangerous, but no one is perfect.

If a driver is lucky, these mistakes go unnoticed. In the worst cases, they lead to a serious car accident. But in many cases, a driver who makes these or similar mistakes is pulled over and given a ticket for violation of Arizona traffic laws. If an officer determines that the driver's behavior shows disregard for other people, that mistake could turn into a charge of reckless driving.

Reckless driving may not seem like serious offense, considering the fact that it is classified as a misdemeanor. However, it is a class 2 misdemeanor and a conviction can mean a sentence that includes significant fines and even jail time. A driver's license could also be suspended for up to 90 days. These penalties will get more severe if a driver is also convicted of other offenses.

For example, if a driver has been convicted of reckless driving or a similar offense within the past two years, the classification for the new reckless driving charge will be increased to a class 1 misdemeanor.

Additionally, a traffic stop for reckless driving can quickly lead to additional charges. If police see someone driving recklessly, they have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop. During that stop, a driver could end up facing charges of drunk driving if the officer suspects intoxication. Charges related to drug possession or even unlawful possession of a weapon could be filed if these items are discovered during a search of the driver or the vehicle.

This should serve as a strong reminder to Arizona drivers that reckless driving charges should be taken very seriously. Rather than try to ignore the situation or assume that there is nothing that can be done about a reckless driving charge or other misdemeanor, drivers should understand that they have a right to defend themselves with the support of an attorney in an effort to seek the reduction or dismissal of charges.

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