Missouri Reckless Driving

Driving recklessly or carelessly in Missouri can mean a misdemeanor charge, six months in jail, and a fine of up to $1000.
Written by Sean Boehme
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Unlike most other states,
doesn’t have any “reckless” driving laws. However, it does have a law against careless driving, and the penalties for being charged as a careless driver include jail time and a large fine. 
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How does Missouri define reckless driving?

Although Missouri does not have a law against reckless driving, it does have a law against “careless and imprudent” driving. 
The laws state that every person “shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as to not endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person.
Similar to reckless driving laws in other states, careless driving in Missouri can be intentional or unintentional, so long as it puts other people or the property of other people at risk. Since the definition is vague, here are a few common examples of careless driving:
These are not the only infractions that can lead you to be charged with careless and imprudent driving, and it is up to the judgment of law enforcement to determine if you were being careless or not.

What are the penalties for reckless driving in Missouri?

Similar to reckless driving in other states, careless and imprudent driving convictions are accompanied by serious penalties such as:
  • A class B misdemeanor charge
  • Fines totaling as much as $1,000
  • Jail time for a maximum of six months 
However, if there is an accident involved, the penalties escalate to:
  • A class A misdemeanor charge
  • Up to $2000 in fines
  • Up to a year of jail time
In addition to these penalties, you will get four demerit
points on your driver's license
if you’re convicted. If you receive eight or more points in 18 months, your license will be suspended.
Generally, careless and imprudent driving is not considered a felony in Missouri. However, if someone is killed as a result of your driving recklessly, you can be charged with a felony. 
Key Takeaway: Whether Missouri calls it reckless driving or careless driving, the penalties are serious. You need to stay safe and aware on the road to avoid these consequences. 
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How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record?

You can expect a careless and imprudent driving conviction to remain on your
Missouri driving record
for 3 years in most cases. However, this jumps to
  • Four years for commercial drivers
  • Five years for a conviction that leads to a
    suspended license
As for the points, they won't
stay on your record
forever. They'll gradually be removed depending on how long you can go without an additional moving violation. The structure for points to be removed is as followed:
  • ⅓ of the points you accrued will be removed after 1 year without incident
  • ½ of the points will be removed after 2 years
  • After 3 years without a violation, your points will be reduced to 0
So in total, it takes 3 years for points to completely disappear from your record. However, if you take the initiative to complete a
defensive driving course
, it could make the process of shedding your points happen faster.

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up?

Traffic violations have a huge effect on your
auto insurance rates
, and careless driving in Missouri is no exception. Reckless, or careless, driving is one of the most costly violations you can commit.
If you’re a driver in Missouri, you can expect your insurance to rise by about $522 per year after a careless driving conviction. Believe it or not, that’s 45% less than the average price increase around the country. 
There are a few options you can consider if you need to lower your insurance rate. For example, many DMVs offer defensive driving courses, and some insurance companies will give you a discount on your rate if you take one of these courses.

How to find affordable car insurance in Missouri

If you’ve recently been charged with careless and imprudent driving, there is a good chance that your insurance rates have skyrocketed. Even if you have a relatively
clean driving record
, you may benefit from revisiting your plan.
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Although there is no charge for reckless driving, you can go to jail for careless and imprudent driving in Missouri. For a conviction where there was no accident, the maximum jail time you can face is six months.
If there was an accident caused by careless driving, the jail time can escalate to as much as one year.
The minimum penalty for careless and imprudent driving in Missouri is a class B misdemeanor, up to $1000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, and 4 points added to your license. You will only receive the minimum if there is no accident as a result of the incident.
Although both reckless and aggressive driving can qualify as “careless and imprudent” driving in Missouri, there are some key differences. Generally related to road rage, aggressive drivers intentionally try to scare or harm others on the road.
Reckless drivers aren’t necessarily trying to harm anyone, and any accidents that are caused by reckless driving may be wholly unintentional. With that said, many of the actions a reckless or aggressive driver may take are similar, such as passing when it’s not legal to do so.
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