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What is Reckless Driving in Georgia?

Question: It wasn't supposed to big drinking night. But I admit it got a little out of hand. We hadn't been together fishing for what seemed like 5 years. So when we all got together all the times at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech sort of came back. The fish in Lake Lanier were pretty safe. I think between the five of us we caught two fish.

The night included stops at Norman's Landing, Summits Wayside Tavern and the Big Creek Tavern. There were shots of tequila, drinks with vodka, gin and whisky and beers from around the world.

I got pulled over by a Forsyth County deputy sheriff when I was in Cumming. I don't really want to go into the details. But I got charged with DUI and reckless driving. What exactly is reckless driving?

Answer: In the world of DUI lawyers, having a client plead to a charge of reckless driving, as opposed to DUI, is usually considered a big victory. § 40-6-390 of the Georgia Code is reckless driving.

The Code defines reckless driving as follows:

(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless driving.

(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, provided that no provision of this Code section shall be construed so as to deprive the court imposing the sentence of the power given by law to stay or suspend the execution of such sentence or to place the defendant on probation.

In Georgia, reckless driving carries a penalty of 4 points to your driver's license. Many times a court will impose additional penalties than are required by the statute. These penalties will often be the same as those for a DUI conviction, including DUI school, an alcohol and drug evaluation and a community service requirement.

Reckless driving itself is only vaguely defined. Unlike other traffic offenses like speeding or running a red light or stop sign, reckless driving is not specifically defined. It is more subjective and open to interpretation than DUI. But, in any event, it is the choice of many prosecutors and DUI attorneys when looking for an alternative to a DUI conviction.

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