Posted on 8/16/21

Whenever a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle in Texas, he or she assumes responsibility to drive with care and caution. Driving in a way that puts other people on the road in harm’s way can result in criminal charges. Under Texas law, reckless driving is a serious crime that carries significant criminal consequences. If convicted, you could be sentenced to jail and lose your driver’s license.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving in Texas?

Reckless driving means driving a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The definition of reckless driving is relatively broad, making it easier for prosecutors to convict drivers of this crime. Reckless driving includes many different actions, ranging from driving aggressively to speeding to driving while distracted. Some of the most commonly prosecuted types of reckless driving include the following:

  • Texting and driving

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Driving at a speed significantly over the limit

  • Swerving in and out of lanes with or without using turn signals

  • Street racing

  • Driving to wrong way down the road

  • Passing over a double yellow on the highway

  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to other bicycles, cars, or pedestrians

  • Running stop signs or red lights

  • Attempting to speed to beat yellow lights at an intersection

  • Failure to stop for a parked school bus with the stop sign out

Reckless driving is not limited to public roads in Texas. You could be charged with reckless driving even if you were on some type of private property. Specifically, prosecutors can charge a defendant with reckless driving if he or she displayed this dangerous behavior while on:

  • A public highway or another public place, or

  • A private access way our business parking area, other than a fee-based parking garage or lot

Prosecutors cannot charge someone with reckless driving on private residential property. They must prove that you were on a public road or in another private but open to the general public.

The Difference Between Negligence and Recklessness

Under Texas law, driving recklessly is different than driving negligently. Prosecutors must prove that a defendant’s actions were willful and/or wanton to convict them of reckless driving. If you simply made a mistake and acted negligently, the prosecutor cannot convict you of reckless driving. Reckless driving requires someone to make a conscious choice of a course of action. The driver must know that the action will cause serious danger to others. 

Or the action must be so dangerous that a reasonable person recognizes its danger. For example, we all know how dangerous it is to drive while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Driving while under the influence of a substance would be considered dangerous by a reasonable person. Likewise, driving aggressively and cutting off other vehicles would be considered dangerous by a reasonable person.

Contact a Flour Mound Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are you facing charges for reckless driving in Texas? If so, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your case. Contact Abel Law Firm today to discuss your case with one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers in Flower Mound, Texas. 

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office