Reckless Operation In Ohio

What Does Reckless Operation Mean in Ohio?

According to Ohio Law, reckless operation of a vehicle is defined under Section 4511.20 of the Ohio Revised Code as:

Operating a vehicle

  1. without due regard for the safety of persons or property; or
  2. in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

In the event you operate a vehicle on any road or highway in Ohio in a manner which endangers the safety of persons or property, you will be at risk of being slapped with a citation for reckless operation. As the definition is a bit vague, law enforcement officers and prosecutors are given the power to determine whether your driving is dangerous enough to qualify as “willful or wanton disregard”. The subjectivity of this definition makes it difficult for the accused of driving recklessly to defend themselves. It may be beneficial to have a good criminal defense attorney represent you if you have to go to court for this violation.

Penalties for Reckless Operation in Ohio

If you plead guilty, or if you are found guilty, the court may impose a driver license suspension of 6 months to 3 years under Section 4510.15 of the Ohio Revised Code. A conviction for Reckless Operation in Ohio also results in up to four points on your driver license. Under Ohio’s points system, if you receive 12 or more points over a period of two years, your license will be suspended for six months.

In addition to the points and license suspension, you may also be subjected to additional fines and penalties for reckless operation. If this is your first offense, the usual charge is a minor misdemeanor, which does not carry jail time but can result in a $150 fine plus court costs and community service.

The severity of the penalties increase in the event that you have a conviction for a moving violation within the past year. The violation can be categorized as a fourth degree misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $250 and up to 30 days in jail. It can also be a third degree misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Some cities have more serious penalties for reckless operation. A reckless operation conviction likely means your auto insurance rates will rise, and your policy may even be canceled due to your conviction.

Defenses to a Reckless Driving Charge in Ohio

In the event that you have been charged with this offense, there are defenses to reckless driving charges in Ohio which can help you reduce or eliminate the consequences. For example, law enforcement officers sometimes charge drivers with reckless operation when the charge should have been classified as speeding, and many courts have determined that simply speeding does not necessarily qualify as reckless driving. In addition, the evidence may be insufficient to prove your state of mind at the time of the driving. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you present defenses and mitigating evidence for your charge for reckless operation in Ohio.

Columbus, Ohio Attorney for Charges of Reckless Operation

The Dominy Law Firm is a criminal defense firm which represents clients charged with traffic offenses such as reckless operation. If you would like to discuss your case with the Dominy Law Firm, schedule a free phone consultation by calling 614-717-1177 or by completing a CONTACT FORM.