Difference Between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving Charge

Have you ever had a close call while driving home from work after a long day? Making that turn just a little too fast or paying little attention to the red light in front of you. In that split second, you probably could get away with it. But what would happen if a police officer pulled you over for your driving? You could be charged with either reckless or careless driving. But which one?

That’s why we’ve created this guide to walk you through the difference between a reckless and a careless driving charge and show you how to defend yourself against these charges.

Difference Between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving Charge

Reckless and careless driving are considered forms of reckless or negligent driving, but they have some key differences. Here are some differences between the two charges.


The most important difference between these two charges is how much intent there was. Reckless driving is when you don’t care about other people’s safety, while careless driving is when you do something with your car that isn’t on purpose but is still dangerous. Because the driver was trying to break the law, a reckless driving charge is much more serious and can lead to harsher punishments.

On the other hand, careless driving is not done on purpose, but the result is still dangerous and careless. Even though being charged with careless driving is still a crime, it is usually seen as less serious because the driver didn’t mean to do it.

Degree of Danger

When it comes to reckless driving, the degree of danger can be seen in how the driver behaves. Reckless driving is behavior that endangers people, property, or both. The courts review these cases of reckless driving on a case-by-case basis and may consider the level of risk or degree of danger involved in the driving.

Careless driving involves a greater degree of danger. It is intentional and involves endangering people, property, or both. Careless driving can be seen as something that occurs when a driver ignores, disregards, or pays no attention to possible risks.


The difference between the two lies in the severity of the charges. Reckless driving is considered to be a more serious charge. It carries greater penalties, including higher fines, longer jail time, and longer suspension or revocation of driving privileges.

Careless driving is considered less serious and carries fewer penalties, including lower fines, shorter jail time, and less severe license suspensions or revocations. If you have ever experienced this situation, filing a car accident lawsuit immediately is essential.


Negligence means not taking the care a normal person would take in the same situation. If a person is physically reckless or drives dangerously but is not also careless, they could still be charged with reckless driving, but not with careless driving. In careless driving cases, a person must show that they did not drive with the usual level of care.

Learn the Difference!

In conclusion, reckless driving is aggressive and dangerous, while careless driving is a more passive infraction. Reckless driving charges can often result in harsher punishments, with possible jail time depending on the severity of the incident.

If you are facing a reckless or careless driving charge, it’s important to seek legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. Contact a criminal defense attorney today for more information.

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