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2 min read

Careless vs. Reckless Driving: What You Need to Know

One of the most often-confused sets of offenses occurs when a driver is cited for either reckless driving or careless driving. Though many drivers use the words careless and reckless interchangeably, a DUI lawyer in Somerville from Simon Law Group will tell you that these are actually two very different charges that carry unique penalties.

The difference between a charge of careless driving and reckless driving is the driver's state of mind. That is to say, whether or not the driver was willfully disregarding the safety of other drivers on the road when he or she was cited.

Careless driving is the lesser of the two offenses, and can be defined as failing to operate a motor vehicle prudently. This means that, when one is charged with careless driving, the prosecution believes that while the driver was not paying as much attention as he or she should have been to the rules of the road, there was no ill-intent behind their actions.

Careless driving is not a criminal offense but will carry a hefty fine and points on the driver's license that may result in a license suspension if this is not the driver's first offense.

On the contrary, reckless driving is defined as willful and wanton disregard for property and other drivers on the road. A charge of reckless driving means that the prosecution believes that the driver's state of mind should be taken into consideration in light of the damage or endangerment that they caused while on the road.

Most often, this comes along with proving that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when on the road. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated on any type of substance is considered by the law to be dangerously irresponsible conduct. Reckless driving is a criminal charge that carries the potential for both fines and jail time, so you will likely need to employ the services of a DUI lawyer in Bridgewater to fight your conviction.


If you've been charged with ether careless or reckless driving, Simon Law Group can help you navigate the next steps in your case. Call us today at 855-370-5359, email or fill out a contact form to learn more!