What is Considered Reckless Driving in Wisconsin?

McLario, Helm, Bertling, & Spiegel, S.C.

In the State of Wisconsin, driving is considered a privilege and not a right. Following the law and keeping your vehicle under control is imperative for safe roadways. If you drive in a reckless manner, it could impact your ability to hold a valid driver’s license and might even result in a reckless driving charge.

What is considered reckless driving?

If an individual causes bodily injury as a result of an accident, a reckless driving charge may be issued. That being said, it is important to remember that there are a number of other driving habits that might also result in a reckless driving charge.

  • Operating at a high rate of speed – If you are operating a vehicle, you must always be aware of, and follow, the posted speed limit. Excessive speeding could result in a traffic violation, including a fine and loss of points, however, it might also result in a serious accident or injury.
  • Flagrant driving habits – This might include racing, joy riding, intentionally swerving or performing tricks in your car.
  • Failure to obey traffic lights – A yellow light is not a signal to speed up. It means, slow to a stop  so that  you are not impeding the intersection during a red light.
  • Impeding traffic – Our roadways are designed to operate in a specific direction at a specific speed. Blocking the normal flow of traffic can inconvenience other drivers, and might even result in a serious accident.
  • Operating outside normal traffic lanes – Lane markings are designed to keep drivers safe and away from road obstructions. The shoulder is not a driving lane, and a double yellow line in the center of the road is not a suggestion, it means no-passing.
  • Aggressive driving – Road rage is a growing habit among today’s drivers. Aggressive driving is a danger to you, your passengers, and other vehicles on the road.

Possible Fines

If you are cited for reckless driving, fines and other legal implications will vary. The penalty for your actions will depend on the severity of the offense, if it a repeat issue, if there are injuries, and a variety of other factors.

  • First offense – Fines can range from $25 to $200.
  • Repeat offense – If the offense is repeated within a four-year period, fines can range from $50 to $500 as well as up to a year in prison.
  • Reckless driving with a minor injury – If someone is hurt as a result of your driving you could be fined $300 to $2000 and up to 30 days in prison.
  • Reckless driving and severe injury – If another person sustains a severe injury because of your reckless driving, you could face up to 3-1/2 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

In addition to monetary fines and possible jail time, a conviction for reckless driving could also result in up to a six-point penalty on your driving record. If more than 12 points have accumulated, your driver’s license will also be suspended.

If you are facing a reckless driving conviction, or have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, it is important to contact a qualified legal professional. The team at McLario, Helm, Bertling & Spiegel can assist in both criminal defense and personal injury matters.


Contact our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation.
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