Reckless Driving in Florida

Reckless driving in Florida carries a fine of $25 to $500, up to 90 days in jail, and 4 demerit points. Penalties for causing injury or damage are higher.
Written by Kianna Walpole
Edited by R.E. Fulton
Reckless driving charges in
can result in fines, demerit points, and even jail time. According to the Florida statute, reckless driving covers a variety of traffic violations but is generally more serious than a simple speeding ticket. It’s not only dangerous—it can also hurt your driving record and
car insurance premiums
for years to come.
  • In the state of Florida, reckless driving is different from careless driving, and is defined as any person who willfully or wantonly drives with a disregard for individual safety or property.  
  • As per Florida law, a reckless driving conviction is typically charged as a misdemeanor with a fine between $25-$500 first-time offenders and $50-$1,000 for second or subsequent violations.
  • All types of reckless driving charges add 4 points to your driving record and can remain for up to 75 years. 

What counts as Florida reckless driving?

Florida Statute 316.192 defines reckless driving as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others or property” or is “fleeing a police officer or other law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle.”
Some examples of reckless driving in Florida are: 
  • Excessive speeding over the posted speed limit
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Street racing
  • Tailgating
  • Passing in no-passing zones
  • Ignoring traffic signs and laws
  • Passing a school bus in a loading zone
  • Driving without consideration of weather and road conditions
Reckless driving is different from
careless driving
Careless driving charges occur when a driver is not paying attention and breaks a minor traffic control rule, such as going over the speed limit or following too closely behind another vehicle. A reckless driving violation is when a driver purposefully drives in a manner that could cause serious bodily injury to themselves or others. 
Additionally, in Florida, a reckless driving offense is regarded as a lesser charge than driving under the influence (DUI). 
However, if you’re caught reckless driving as a result of a DUI, you can be charged with a wet reckless infraction—meaning that alcohol was in your system at the time of your conviction. This will change your reckless driving charge to a DUI violation under
Florida’s DUI laws
, which will ultimately come with more severe consequences. 

What is the penalty for reckless driving in Florida?

There are three major categories of reckless driving in Florida, each with its own set of penalties:
Jail time
Misdemeanor or felony
Standard reckless driving - 1st offense
$25 to $500 
Up to 3 months
Second-degree misdemeanor
Standard reckless driving - 2nd or subsequent offense
$50 to $1,000
Up to 6 months
Second-degree misdemeanor
Reckless driving involving property damage or injuries
Up to $1,000
Maximum of 1 year
First-degree misdemeanor
Reckless driving involving serious bodily harm (i.e. impairment, disfigurement, or death)
Up to $5,000
Maximum of 5 years
Third-degree felony
Next to a DWI or DUI, reckless driving is just about the most significant charge you can have on your driver history record, and can also result in the
suspension of your driving privileges
Like many other states, Florida has a point system limit to determine when your license is suspended or revoked due to moving violations:
  • 12 points within a 12 month period: License suspension for 30 days
  • 18 points within a 18 month period: License suspension for 3 months
  • 36 points within a 36 month period: License suspension for 1 year
But if you are convicted of three separate reckless driving cases in the span of a single year, you could face license revocation. In this case, you may need to file for an
with the state of Florida. 

How long do reckless driving charges stay on your Florida record?

In Florida, it doesn’t matter if your charge is a first offense or subsequent—if you are convicted of a reckless driving charge for disregarding
Florida traffic laws
, it will remain on your driving record for 75 years
Florida is a part of the Driver’s License Compact in the US, and therefore, can share any violations on your Florida driving record with other states. As such, not only can a reckless driving charge damage your driver’s history, but it can also increase your insurance premiums and rates exponentially.
After you are convicted of a reckless driving charge, you are required to attend a state-approved driver improvement course. Notice will be sent via mail from the Florida DMV. Once you receive this letter, you have 90 days to complete the program. 
Florida provides different kinds of driver improvement courses depending on the kind of traffic violation:
  • Basic driver improvement: Required for drivers with charges of reckless driving, speed violations, or other traffic offenses.
  • 3-in-3 driver change course: Drivers who made three traffic violations that caused crashes in the past 36 months may be required to take this course. It includes behind-the-wheel training and driving assessment.
  • Advanced driver improvement: For drivers charged with non-DUI violations that caused serious injury or death. Required for drivers with suspended licenses or by court order.
Completing driver improvement courses can remove demerit points from your record, offset future demerits, and can help you avoid traffic violations altogether.
If your license is suspended or revoked due to multiple charges or as a result of substance abuse, you can file for a
Florida restricted license
through the
Bureau of Administrative Reviews
Keep in mind: If no bodily harm has occurred, you may be eligible to have your reckless driving charge reduced to a careless driving infraction. For additional legal information, refer to your criminal defense lawyer. 

Can Florida reckless driving charges impact my insurance rates?

A reckless driving charge will drastically affect your insurance rates in Florida, as it is seen as a criminal offense. This will indicate to insurance companies and providers that you are a high-risk driver with a criminal charge—especially if you are convicted of a DUI. 
Although your premiums may go up, there are several major insurance providers in Florida who offer high-risk coverage
  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • Progressive
  • Mercury 
  • Travelers
And if you want to save money even further on car insurance, the
app is a good place to start. To ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price.


To report reckless driving in Florida, contact the Florida Highway Patrol by dialing *FHP (*347) on your mobile phone.
When you dial this number, you’ll talk to an operator that will ask for details about the incident. Try to be as descriptive as possible in terms of:
  • The make, model, and color of the car
  • The license plate, if possible
  • Your location and which direction you’re headed
  • The type of behavior the other driver is exhibiting
If the driving is endangering the lives of other motorists, you can also call 911 in an emergency.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) may mean two different things, depending on the state you’re from. A DWI is usually related to drugs, whereas a DUI can be either alcohol or drugs. In the state of Florida, DWI and DUI are used interchangeably and both will affect your driving and criminal record. 
For Florida drivers, driving 30 mph over the posted speed limit is considered reckless driving—but if you get caught doing 50-100 mph over the speed limit, you can be charged with a felony. 
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