What is Careless Driving in Florida?
Driving deserves your full attention. Unfortunately, many motorists are too distracted or careless when they get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Because of this, innocent victims are injured in collisions that were entirely avoidable.
If you commit careless driving in Florida, you’ll get a ticket and probably have points added to your driving record. Think carefully about whether you want to fight this Florida careless driving ticket.
Examples of Careless Driving in Florida
Florida statute §316.1925 governs careless driving. The statute requires that a driver operate their motor vehicle in a “careful and prudent manner”; if you don’t, then they can get a moving violation.
In some ways, this is a “catch all” ticket given whenever the police think you’ve done something wrong but can’t point to a more specific section of Florida law. If you were involved in a car accident and the police think you were at fault, they will often give you a careless driving ticket.
There are some common examples of careless driving:
- Drifting into another lane
- Failing to use a turn signal
- Failing to come to a complete stop
- Not using your rearview mirror when backing up or passing
- Misjudging distance in a parking lot and clipping another car
A careless driving ticket in Florida is a civil traffic offense that can result in a fine up to $500 and points being added to your driving record. Depending on your current driving record, you might end up with higher insurance premiums, or, if you have many violations on your record already, your license could be suspended for a certain amount of time. These are serious consequences for receiving a non-criminal traffic citation.
Careless Driving vs Reckless Driving in Florida: What’s the Difference?
Both careless and reckless driving can lead to accidents and severe injuries out on the road. Both will warrant a traffic ticket. However, there are key differences between the two that you should be aware of.
The first is the driver’s state of mind. Florida statute §316.192 defines reckless driving as a motorist operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people’s safety. Basically, this means the person intentionally drove in a dangerous manner or they were indifferent to the consequences of their actions.
Common examples of reckless driving include:
- Drag racing
- Fleeing from the police in a high-speed chase
- Pulling intentionally into a crowd of people
Reckless driving is more serious than careless driving and can result in criminal charges. You can be hit with a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for a first-time conviction. If this is a subsequent conviction, then you could spend up to 6 months in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,000.
Any reckless driving that results in bodily injury to other people will also be treated very seriously by the state. You could very easily end up in jail if, for example, someone suffered a serious bodily injury.
Why You Need an Attorney
As you can see, the main difference between careless and reckless driving lies in the mindset of the driver. The actions taken by a careless driver are not all that different from those taken by a reckless one. If you were insufficiently careful, then you face less severe penalties than if you operated the vehicle in a deliberately indifferent manner.
Sometimes, Florida drivers are overcharged. They might warrant only a careless driving ticket but get a reckless driving charge instead. In other situations, a driver doesn’t deserve any type of ticket. For example, a driver might have rear-ended someone but the car in front is to blame.
To fight these charges, you need an attorney who knows how to get traffic tickets dismissed or charges reduced. An attorney can carefully review the surrounding facts and circumstances to identify any evidence that works in your favor.
Speak to an Orlando Careless Driving Lawyer Today
Drivers should take careless driving citations seriously. If they incur 12 points in a one-year period, the state will suspend their license for at least three months. Additional points can cause a driver to lose his or her license for a much longer period of time.
Contact Skubiak & Rivas today. Our attorneys have practice traffic law for decades, and we have many satisfied clients who can testify about the attention that we focus on our clients’ cases.
If you are thinking about fighting your traffic ticket, please call us today, 407-598-8489. We offer a free initial consultation, which is completely confidential.