Charged with Aggressive or Reckless Driving in Denton?
There is no specific law on the books in Texas for road rage; but road rage that becomes violent or puts those around you in danger is regarded as aggressive or reckless driving. As expected, the penalty for this depends on the severity of the situation and can be a monetary fine, loss of driver’s license, or even jail time. However, if the violence was sufficiently severe, you could be convicted of a felony.
Aggressive Driving vs. Reckless Driving
Although Texas doesn’t have a specific law governing road rage, many situations involving aggressive or reckless driving could be considered a form of road rage.
The definition of aggressive driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is “a traffic offense that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” The penalty for aggressive driving would depend on the driver’s intent.
Types of aggressive driving are as follows:
- Assaulting one or more other drivers
- Smashing the window of another driver after an accident
- Cutting another driver off and slowing down
- Deliberately cutting another driver off
- Preventing other drivers from changing lanes
- Running another vehicle off the road
- Shooting a gun at one or more other drivers
- Tossing items at other vehicles
- Weaponizing your vehicle
- Switching lanes unsafely
Charges for aggressive driving are most often criminal charges that come with more severe penalties than those for reckless driving.
According to Texas law, reckless driving is “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” In most cases reckless driving is charged as a misdemeanor, however it can easily be raised to a felony if the driver’s actions are considered quite severe. The penalties for reckless driving in Texas can be community service, up to $200 in fines, loss of driver’s license, and up to 30 days in jail.
Types of reckless driving are as follows:
- Driving while distracted
- Street racing/drag racing
- Significantly exceeding the speed limit
- Wrong-way driving
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Gesturing inappropriately while driving
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Yelling at other drivers
- Weaving in and out of traffic
Prosecuting Road Rage
Negligent driving is not sufficient to charge you with aggressive or reckless driving. To be convicted of either charge in Texas, there must be irrefutable evidence, which means beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that there is proof that the driver knew he/she was driving or behaving dangerously. The type of evidence needed to prove this might be excessive speed, an incriminating toxicology report, or a bad driving record.
If you are facing street racing charges in the Denton Texas area, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel K. Peugh for a free consultation on your case.