Reckless Driving Texas

Car Pulled Over by the Police for Reckless Driving in TexasCar Pulled Over by the Police for Reckless Driving in Texas

Safe driving is necessary for every motorist, as the effects of reckless driving spread beyond just the driver to passengers, passers-by, and even their families. Texas frowns heavily on such acts and defines them as those that reflect a willful or wanton disregard for human and property safety. Every reckless driving conviction in the state attracts a fine, jail term, or license withdrawal - and in some cases, all of these punishments.

It is important that you know the specific conditions that are considered reckless driving. Texas driving laws are strict, and so are the punishable measures. Keep reading to learn how to avoid reckless driving charges in Texas.

Reckless Driving Laws in Texas

According to the Texas transportation code §545.401, a driver will be charged for reckless driving if they are caught driving in a manner that will lead to loss of lives and property damage. Some of these punishable driving behaviors include driving beyond the posted speed limit, driving with aggression, driving with distractions, disobeying traffic signs, etc.

Anti-safe driving behavior in Texas is considered a criminal offense. And such behavior can cause you to have a criminal record and face reckless driving charges. Once caught, you could be asked to pay a fine, have your driver's license withdrawn, or face jail time.

Although driving laws are pretty strict, risky driving is still one of Texas' most prevalent driving infractions.

What Speed Is Considered Reckless Driving in Texas?

Texas does not have an exact speed to define reckless driving. But if you drive as fast as 20 mph beyond the allowed speed limit in that zone, you will face reckless driving charges.

Is Reckless Driving a Misdemeanor or Felony in Texas?

Reckless driving in Texas counts as a misdemeanor offense. This offense can cause you to be locked in jail for up to a month. Alternatively, you may be fined up to $200. You can be charged with a state jail felony and might lose your license if you are repeatedly caught violating the traffic law in Texas.

What Qualifies as Reckless Driving in Texas?

Texas has strict laws (code§ 545.401) against reckless driving within its state and gives punishable measures to prevent offenses. This driving law has specific circumstances under which it must hold. Check them below.

Driving at Excessive Speeds

In Texas, excessive speeding is a reckless driving offense. There is no uniformly accepted speed limit throughout Texas, as every region in the state has its allowed speed limit. However, you are considered to be speeding excessively when you drive up to 20 meters per hour beyond the allowed speed limit in your zone.

Racing a Vehicle

You are not allowed to drag a race, engage in speed contests, or perform other risky competitive driving activities on public roads or highways within the state.

Also note that racing can cause you a third-degree felony charge if it causes injury, and a second-degree felony if someone loses their life. These offenses are punishable by two to ten years of prison time.

Eluding a Police Officer

You should note that you are not allowed to elude a police official (by speeding away or trying to run) whenever they flag you to a stop. This offense, like traffic law disobedience, is considered a Class B misdemeanor and is as punishable by a 6-month jail time.

Unpredictable or Reckless Changing of Lanes, or Driving in the Wrong Lane

The Texas government frowns at disobedience to traffic laws. Some of these wrong behaviors include switching lanes recklessly or dangerously, driving against the red lights, driving in the wrong lane, etc. If found guilty of these driving charges, you could pay a fine of up to $200.

Driving While Distracted or Impaired

A Texas report shows that two out of ten accidents in Texas happen from distracted driving. Moreso, impaired driving is also a no-no. Once caught being distracted (texting, receiving a call, etc) while diving, you may pay up to $200. However, you may be charged up to $4000 or go to jail if someone gets injured or dies.

Texas Penalty for Reckless Driving

Every reckless driving charge has a nearly unique punishment. These are the criminal penalties attached to reckless driving charges in Texas law:

  1. If you are charged for behaving recklessly while eluding a police official, your case can be filed as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by 1 year of jail time and a fine of not more than $4000.
  2. When you refuse to obey a stop signal from a peace officer, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months of county jail time.
  3. If you are caught in a driving act that causes serious bodily injury to anyone, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and go to jail for 12 months with up to a $4000 fine.
  4. If you are charged for a first offense case of driving while intoxicated or impaired in Texas, you will spend up to six months behind bars with compulsory three days, pay a fine of up to $2000, and lose your driving license for up to 12 months.
  5. If you are charged for a second offense case as driving while intoxicated or impaired, you will immediately spend 30 days in jail, pay a fine of up to $4000, and lose your license for up to 24 months.
  6. If you are charged for a second offense case of driving while intoxicated or impaired, you will go to prison for any period between two years and a decade, pay $10,000, and lose your driver's license for up to 24 months.
  7. If you are caught driving with a child below 15 and under the influence of alcohol or impairment, you will face child endangerment charges, remain in prison for up to 24 months, pay a $10,000 fine, and lose your license for six months.
  8. If you drive an Open Container under the influence of alcohol or impairment, you will spend at least six days in jail.

Don't forget that while you will be subject to the above punishments, you may still face a state fine of $3000 to $6000.

Texas Reckless Driving: The Takeaway

The Texas transportation code ensures that divers and motorists do not endanger their lives or that of others on public roads. Thus, reckless driving in Texas is considered a misdemeanor offense. It is important that you do not get distracted while driving, swerves dangerously between lanes, or drive on the wrong lane. The least punishment for reckless driving is six days of penitentiary service, and it spans to paying a $10,000 fine.

It is important to note that the transportation law does not affect you if you drive recklessly on a private residential property or private access way. It is strictly for public roads.


What charge is reckless driving in Texas?

Reckless driving is regarded as a misdemeanor punishable offense. Anyone caught can be jailed for up to 30 days, lose their driver's license, or pay a fine of up to $200.

Is reckless driving a felony in Texas?

No, reckless driving isn't a felony in Texas. However, it can be counted as a felony if performed with a punishable act like racing or if someone gets injured or dead.

Is reckless driving a Class C in Texas?

Reckless driving is often considered a hybrid misdemeanor offense because it stands as a Class C and Class B offense.

How fast over the speed limit is reckless driving in Texas?

Driving up to 20 miles per hour above the allowed speed limit for your zone is considered reckless driving in Texas.

How much is a reckless driving ticket in Texas?

A reckless driving ticket in Texas costs up to $200.

Can you be arrested for reckless driving in Texas?

Yes, you can be arrested for reckless driving in Texas and possibly pay a fine, go to jail, or give up your license.

Do the police have to witness reckless driving to file charges in Texas?

No, the police officer does not need to witness an incident to press a reckless driving charge against an individual. While they can make a judgment from their observations, they can use a witness' testimony or some other form of evidence like a surveillance video record to press charges.

How long does reckless driving stay on your record in Texas?

Reckless driving can stay on your driving record for up to a decade and on your criminal record for a lifetime.

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