In the world today, driving is a necessity for many people. Most days, we need to be able to drive to work, school, when visiting friends and family, running errands, and hundreds of other reasons. Without the ability to drive, getting through our day can be almost impossible. Despite this, the state of Florida views driving as a privilege, and one that they can take away if necessary.
This is potentially one of the main reasons that no driver wants a reckless driving charge on their driving and criminal record. Aside from a DUI conviction, reckless driving is possibly classed as one of the worst driving offenses in Florida. Because of this, there are also serious penalties that you may be facing after being charged with reckless driving, including a license suspension and other long-term consequences.
One of these long-term consequences is that the charge will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. This means that when a background check is performed on you by a potential employer or your dream school, they will be able to find it and may decide not to take you on because of it.
Because of the severity of the consequences of a reckless driving charge, it is important to get in touch with a law firm and to receive trusted legal advice specific to your case. At The Ticket Lawyers, our criminal defense lawyers are well-equipped to handle your case, and you can be assured that they will fight on your behalf. An attorney will be able to build a case against the conviction and fight to ensure that the case against you is dropped or fails. If you have already been to court, we can also help guide you through the process of getting your charge sealed or expunged to prevent it from impacting your life any further. So call us today at (855)-323-8488 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is a Reckless Driving Charge In FL?
According to Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is the act of operating a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This is very different from careless driving, as careless driving is considered to be somewhat accidental and is classed as a civil traffic offense, such as rolling through a stop sign, whereas reckless driving is very intentional, and therefore a criminal traffic offense. Below is a list of some driving behaviors that are commonly committed and can be constituted as reckless driving:
Failure to yield at a stop sign, red light, or other traffic control device
Weaving in and out of traffic
While these specific behaviors are classed as reckless driving, the concept of reckless driving is actually much vaguer, and can even cover the act of screeching around a corner or slamming on the brakes suddenly. In the most general sense, reckless driving is a person driving in a way that puts others on the road and/or themselves in danger. This is because not only can the driving itself cause accidents, but it can also limit the driver’s reaction time, making it incredibly difficult for them to avoid unexpected hazards.
In Florida law, reckless driving is a serious offense, and those who are charged face harsh penalties. This is why you should contact our law firm as soon as possible. Not only will our experienced criminal defense attorneys be able to guide you through court and fight to win your case or have it dismissed or reduced, but they’ll also guide you through the process of sealing or expunging the charge. So call The Ticket Lawyers today.
What is the Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Record?
When you seal or expunge a record, it means that the public will no longer be able to see that you were charged or convicted. Some entities will have access to the sealed record, usually government departments, as well as the subject of the record and their attorney, but for the most part, the general public will not. This means that when applying for jobs or schools, they will not be able to see the charge. However, while they both achieve the same thing, sealing and expunging records are two very different things.
An expungement clears an arrest, charge, and/or conviction off a person’s records. Sealed records merely give the appearance that the conviction or arrest has been cleared, meaning that it’s just not available to the public. Sealed records can be “re-opened” by way of a court order.
Can a Reckless Driving Charge Be Sealed or Expunged in FL?
While sometimes a reckless driving charge can be sealed or expunged, not all can, and so it is not guaranteed that you will be able to qualify for an expungement or sealing. In Florida, it’s only possible to seal or expunge a reckless driving charge if adjudication is withheld, the case is dismissed, or you aren’t found guilty at trial. You also will have had to comply with all the terms and conditions of supervisory court orders, pay all fines and costs, and successfully complete any probation that you were sentenced to.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement determines whether a person qualifies to have their reckless driving charge sealed or expunged. If they are eligible, then the department will issue a certificate for expunction.
Below are the basic requirements of applying for your reckless driving charge to be sealed or expunged:
You have never had a criminal record sealed or expunged before.
You have never been convicted of a misdemeanor, criminal ordinance violation, or a felony.
You are not currently under court supervision.
Your offense received a withhold of adjudication.
If all of the above criteria apply to you, then you will most likely be able to seal or expunge your charge, although this is not guaranteed. If this is not the case for you, then it may still be worth booking a consultation with The Ticket Lawyers to receive legal advice about what your next steps should be and to check that you are definitely unable to have your record expunged or sealed.
If you believe that you may be able to seal or expunge your charge, then you may want to contact a law firm. The process of having your record expunged or sealed can be lengthy and complex. Therefore, it’s recommended that you contact The Ticket Lawyers so that an experienced attorney can walk you through the procedure.
What Is the Process to Seal or Expunge Reckless Driving Charges in FL?
The first thing you must do is file an application with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You will also need a State Attorney to complete part of an application if you wish to expunge your records.
If you qualify, then you will be required to file a petition in the jurisdiction where your reckless driving charge took place. You don’t need to worry too much about this, as your attorney will be able to obtain the correct forms and fill them out for you. Once completed, the forms will need to be filed and served to the correct State Attorney’s office within six months of being deemed eligible.
The documents will then be served, and a judge will decide if you need a hearing for your request or not. If they decide that your request does not require a hearing, then you can expect an answer in about a month.
How Long Does a Reckless Driving Charge Stay on Your Record in FL?
The consequences you face after being convicted for reckless driving can be severe. The penalties that you could potentially receive are listed below:
Sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and up to six months in jail if you receive a second reckless driving conviction.
Minimum fine of $25 and a maximum fine of $500, and from $50 to $5,000 if you receive a second reckless driving conviction.
Receive four points on your license, causing your insurance rates to rise exponentially for the next three years.
Your charge may be upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor if you damaged someone’s property.
Your charge may be upgraded to a third-degree felony if you injured someone due to your reckless driving.
In addition to this, the reckless driving charge will be on your record, accessible to the general public. In Florida, adults have two records: a driving record and a criminal record. While a reckless driving conviction only stays on your DMV record for 11 years, which is still a significantly long time, it will stay on your criminal record forever.
Having such a charge on your record could notably damage your employment chances and impact your educational or housing opportunities. This is why it is so crucial that you fight the charge in court and, if possible, seal or expunge your records.
Can You Get a Job With a Reckless Driving Charge?
Job hunting is hard enough, and unfortunately, it becomes even harder if you have a reckless driving charge on your record. While you may not think the charges are that important, reckless driving is considered to be a major traffic violation, and many companies will deem potential employees to be unemployable if their record shows that they have been charged and/or convicted of reckless driving within the past 24 months.
Some employers will ask you to report any crimes for which you have been charged, and in which case you should accurately tell them your criminal history, even if you did manage to beat the charges. If the application only asks you to report any convictions, then you will only need to report the reckless driving charge if you were convicted.
It is important to answer accurately, as the majority of employers in America will still conduct a routine background check on any potential employees. Because of this, it is crucial that you are honest. If you are not, then your employer may have grounds to terminate you or not employ you.
However, it can be difficult to know whether you should disclose your criminal history after your records have been expunged or sealed. If this is the case for you, you should ask your attorney for advice.
In many cases, you shouldn’t have to disclose your records if they have been sealed or expunged. However, there are a few exceptions to this. When seeking employment with the government or looking to work with vulnerable members of society, such as children, you should disclose your records.
Contact Us Today!
The Ticket Lawyers have years of experience in dealing with Florida law and working with people who are in the same situation that you are. They possess the skill and knowledge necessary to assist you in fighting your charge and in sealing/expunging your records. Every attorney-client relationship will involve a supportive environment, and you can rest assured that our law firm will fight their very hardest on your behalf. So call us today at (855)-323-8488 to arrange a free consultation.
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