Georgia Reckless Driving

If you’re charged with reckless driving in Georgia, you’ll receive up to $1,000 in fines, up to 12 months of jail time, and four points on your record.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by Amy Bobinger
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in
Georgia
—the penalties include up to $1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, and four points added to your record. 
  • If you’re convicted of reckless driving, you’ll receive a misdemeanor charge at minimum, or a felony if harm or death occurs.
  • Points remain on your Georgia record for life.
  • Reckless driving usually triggers an increase in your car insurance premium, so compare quotes to find an affordable policy after a ticket.

What is reckless driving in Georgia?

From Atlanta in Fulton County to the smallest border town, drivers all across the state of Georgia can be charged with a reckless driving violation by a police officer when they display ​​“reckless disregard for the safety of persons and property,” according to the
O.C.G.A 40-6-390
Here are several scenarios that are considered reckless driving in Georgia:
  • Excessive speeding (beyond 15 miles per hour over the speed limit)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Racing
  • Tailgating
  • Driving a vehicle that’s unsafe 
  • Failure to comply with
    Georgia traffic laws
Each offense is up to the interpretation of the law enforcement officer on the scene, but you’ll be charged with the more stringent charge of aggressive driving if there’s evidence of malintent toward the safety of others—not just another driver.
If alcohol or drugs were involved, you could be charged with drunk driving and ticketed for a
Georgia DUI
. Although it’s also a misdemeanor, DUI cases are different from reckless driving cases and could result in license suspension and vehicle impoundment (on a
2nd DUI
). You should seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney or a DUI lawyer if you’re facing DUI charges.

What are the penalties for Georgia reckless driving?

Despite the details of your charge, the offense of reckless driving will be considered a misdemeanor at minimum. Points associated with a misdemeanor in Georgia, unfortunately, stay on your record for life, and you’ll also receive additional penalties depending on the severity of the traffic offense.
In a moving violation that’s considered a reckless driving offense, the penalties are:
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Four points on your driver’s license
When the reckless driving accident escalates and the driver causes serious injury, harm, or death (vehicular homicide), then the offense is considered to be aggressive driving, and it counts as a felony. An aggressive driving charge comes along with harsher penalties, like the following:
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Six points on your driver’s license
If you were
driving without insurance
and you got pulled over, there will be additional penalties.

How long do Georgia reckless driving convictions stay on my record?

A reckless driving ticket results in
points
that could stain your driving record forever, but it’s possible to perform some damage control on your driving record by reducing some of those points in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) offers drivers the opportunity to complete a defensive driving class. Upon completion of the class, the DDS will remove up to seven points off your
Georgia driver’s license
, so if this reckless driving traffic violation is your first one, you might just be in the clear.
Applications for the defensive driving course are only accepted in person
at the Georgia DDS or by mail
. You can always reach out to the DDS office to get more details about your particular situation and what you can expect your record to look like in the future.
It’s only possible to exercise this option once every five years, so be careful about any repeat offenses to maintain access to your license and motor vehicle.
Key Takeaway: You don’t have to cause a huge accident to go to jail for reckless driving. Any behaviors that unnecessarily endanger other people could get you a reckless driving charge. 

How reckless driving charges in Georgia impact your insurance

A reckless driving charge is a fast track to significantly increasing your insurance premium. As this offense holds more gravity than most driving violations, insurance providers raise rates by an average of $748 per year for drivers in Georgia in the wake of a reckless driving charge.
That elevated rate is 54% higher than the average insurance premiums in the state of Georgia. Since you’ll already pay out of pocket for the fees, court costs, and accompanying expenses, it would be tough for anyone to sustain that steep of an increase. 
The best way to combat this slew of sums is to abide by the traffic laws to prevent landing these penalties or commit to completing a
defensive driving course
to decrease the points on your record if the conviction is already underway.
If you’re looking for affordable insurance after reckless driving charges, use a licensed broker like
Jerry
. This comparison app finds cheap quotes from top name-brand insurance companies to help you find new car insurance as a high-risk driver. 

FAQs

Reckless driving offenders can spend up to one year in jail depending on the severity of the traffic ticket charge. Speak with a car accident law office or criminal law firm if you need help.
Yes. Despite the specifics of your reckless driving charge, it’s counted as a misdemeanor (a criminal charge) and it will appear as a criminal offense on a background check.
The intent is everything, and the motive behind any variation of unsafe driving that could be potentially hazardous is the differentiator between it being considered “careless” or “reckless.” A careless driver may swerve while petting their puppy in the passenger seat or
eating while driving
, while a reckless driver speeds or tailgates another driver with disregard for their safety.
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