Louisiana Reckless Driving

Reckless driving in Louisiana is charged as a misdemeanor and carries a possible fine of $200 and jail time of up to 90 days.
Written by Melanie Johnson
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
A reckless driving charge in
is charged as a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to $200 in fines and up to 90 days in jail. It will also be added to your Louisiana driving record.
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How does Louisiana define reckless driving?​​

Reckless driving in Louisiana is defined as operating a vehicle “in a criminally negligent or reckless manner.” In layman’s terms, this generally refers to any action that could put yourself or others in danger while you are behind the wheel.
While this definition is fairly broad, a driver may be charged with reckless driving for any of the following behaviors: 
  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for weather conditions 
  • Drag racing or spinning wheels 
  • Illegal turns
  • Excessive lane changes
  • Generally disrupting the flow of traffic 
Speeding is considered reckless if you’re going 15 miles per hour above the speed limit. For other violations, it is typically at the discretion of the law enforcement officer to decide what constitutes reckless driving.

What are the penalties for reckless driving in Louisiana? 

Reckless driving is charged as a misdemeanor in Louisiana, and the penalties depend on the severity of the infraction, as well as whether the charge is a first, second, or third offense. 
In addition to possible fines and jail time, you will receive a blemish on your driving record after a reckless driving charge.
Penalties for a first conviction of reckless driving in Louisiana will include some or all of the following:
  • Fines: Up to $200
  • Jail time: Up to 90 days
Penalties for second or subsequent convictions will include some or all of the following:
  • Fines: $25 to $500 
  • Jail time: 10 days to six months
  • License suspension: Up to two years
Your license will be suspended if you are charged with reckless driving three times in one year.

How does reckless driving affect my driving record in Louisiana?

A reckless driving citation will be added to your driving record
Louisiana doesn't have a state-based point system to log negligent behavior. Instead, it is a participant of the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS), which is a database of the
National Driver Register (NDR)
with information related to license suspensions and revocations.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Louisiana, your driver’s license information and the charge will be logged into the PDPS. If you acquire too many offenses, you can face a number of punishments, including:

How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record? 

Reckless driving in Louisiana is a misdemeanor offense that will not go away just by paying a fine or taking a driving class. You will likely have to appear in court and may even face jail time. 
Although Louisiana does not disclose how long citations stay on your record, you may be eligible to apply for expungement. Expungement means sealing or destroying the records of a prior conviction—effectively removing the charge from your record. 
To apply for expungement, you must wait five years after the offense was committed. You may not have any current or pending felony convictions during this time.
The steps to apply for expungement are as follows:
  • Complete the required forms and necessary documents.
  • File your petition for expungement with the court clerk.
  • Pay the $550 fine.
  • Wait about 60 days for the court’s response.
  • Notify any private background check companies about your expungement; Louisiana law requires it.
You may expunge one misdemeanor conviction every 15 years.
Key Takeaway You may be able to remove a reckless driving charge from your record by applying for expungement five years after the offense was committed.
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up? 

Yes. Insurance companies increase rates by an average of $1,147 per year after a reckless driving charge in Louisiana—that’s 52% higher than the typical car insurance rate in the Pelican State.
Because the consequences are so severe with regard to your
car insurance
premium, it’s best to avoid a reckless driving charge by practicing safe driving habits. Take a defensive driving course or brush up on some
safe driving tips
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Yes. A first-time reckless driving citation carries a possible jail sentence of up to 90 days. A second or third-time offense carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months.
The minimum penalty for reckless driving in Louisiana is a fine under $200.
While reckless driving is a crime in Louisiana, there is no law against aggressive driving. That doesn’t mean you won’t be held accountable, though, since aggressive driving and reckless driving share some overlap. 
Examples of aggressive driving include speeding, following too closely behind other vehicles (tailgating), failing to yield, and improper passing. It is at the discretion of the law enforcement officer to decide if aggressive driving behavior justifies a reckless driving charge.
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