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Penalties for Reckless Driving in Wisconsin?


To many, reckless driving is sort of a vague term because the definition of the word "reckless" varies from person to person. The law, however, has a more objective definition. In Wisconsin, reckless driving is any negligent driving behavior that endangers the safety of another person (or property).

Examples of Reckless Driving

A few common examples of activities that can result in a reckless driving charge include:

  • Texting while driving
  • Eating while driving
  • Putting on makeup or shaving while driving
  • Illegal racing
  • OWI or drunk driving

There are certainly other examples - these are just a few. Any driving that endangers the safety of another (or their property) can be considered reckless driving.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

A reckless driving charge results in six points on your driving record. As we've discussed before, too many of these points can lead to suspension of your driver's license and other penalties.

First time reckless driving offenses generally only carry civil penalties in the form of forfeiture. But getting another conviction within four years carries criminal penalties including jail time and other fines. Again, if you have other traffic violations on your record, the penalties for a first time violation may be increased.

Sometimes a person charged with an OWI offense can negotiate with the prosecution to have the charge amended to a reckless driving charge (this is where a skilled defense attorney comes in handy!). This is a common defense tactic that, when successful, helps the offender save money on court costs, fines, and auto insurance.

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