Reckless Driving in Texas

A reckless driving conviction in Texas comes with fines, license suspension, and potential jail time—but penalties could be harsher if you injure or kill someone.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Edited by Jessica Barrett
If you operate a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people and/or property in
, you could be convicted of reckless driving—and the penalties include a fine of up to $200, up to 30 days in jail, and a major violation added to your driving record.
  • Reckless driving in Texas is operating a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people and/or property.
  • Reckless driving is usually a Class C or Class B misdemeanor offense, but it could be a felony if you injure or kill someone.
  • Penalties for a reckless driving conviction may include fines, license suspension, and jail time.
  • A reckless driving charge remains on your Texas driving record for three years, but you might be able to have it dismissed if you complete a defensive driving course.

Reckless driving in Texas means willfully disregarding the safety of others

In the state of Texas, reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people and/or property.
The following are some of the most common instances where you can be cited for reckless driving in Texas:
  • Driving significantly above the speed limit
  • Driving too fast for road conditions
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Street racing
  • Evading law enforcement
  • Endangering the life or property of a person while using your vehicle
At the end of the day, it’s at the police officer’s discretion whether your actions equate to reckless driving.

Penalties for reckless driving include fines and license suspension

According to the
Texas Transportation Code
, reckless driving is usually deemed a Class C or B misdemeanor. 
  • The traffic offense can be increased to a Class A misdemeanor if you recklessly engage in behavior that puts another person in danger of serious bodily injury—this conviction comes with a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
  • If you cause a car accident where someone is injured or killed or the violation is for street racing, you might be charged with a felony.
The following are the typical penalties for a reckless driving citation in Texas: 
  • Fines up to $200
  • Up to 30 days in county jail
  • Possible driver’s license suspension
Penalties may be harsher if:
  • The reckless driving incident resulted in injuries or death
  • The offender already has at least one prior conviction on record
  • The offender was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The reckless driving incident involved street racing
  • The reckless driving incident involved eluding a police officer
  • If intoxicated, up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine

You might be able to remove reckless driving from your driving record

A Texas reckless driving charge can remain on your record for three years or more from the date of conviction. It can appear on your
Texas driving record
and your criminal record, depending on the specific nature of the reckless driving charge.
Taking a court-approved
defensive driving course
can help you get a reckless driving charge dismissed from your record by proving that you can follow the rules of the road and drive safely without endangering others.
Eligibility for a state-approved defensive driving course is as follows:
  • You must have not taken a defensive driving course in the last 12 months
  • You must not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • You cannot take a defensive driving course to dismiss a reckless driving charge if you are already taking another course for any of the following violations: speeding more than 25 mph above the speed limit, operating a vehicle without insurance, fleeing the scene of a collision, passing or trying to pass a stopped school bus, committing a construction zone violation
To successfully dismiss a reckless driving charge by completing a defensive driving course, you must:
  • Get written permission from a court to take the course
  • The course must be approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Submit a copy of your certificate of completion for the defensive driving course along with your driving record to the court

Your insurance could increase by 50% or more after reckless driving

A non-moving violation on your Texas driving record might not be a big deal for your car insurance rates, but a reckless driving charge can increase your rates by an average of 53%.
High-risk drivers
are more likely to be involved in claims and require insurance payouts, so insurance companies increase car insurance rates to compensate.
To find the best
Texas car insurance rates
with a reckless driving conviction, use a comparison app like
to shop around before settling on a provider. From there on out, be sure to practice
safe driving habits
to avoid adding any other violations to your record.


Texas no longer uses the points system but instead counts violations. A reckless driving charge will result in one moving violation on your driving record. Your license will be suspended if you collect 4 moving violations in 12 months or 7 moving violations in 24 months.  
It depends. Texas law doesn’t define specific speeds considered a reckless driving offense, but driving more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit will generally get you a reckless driving charge. Driving 25 mpg over the speed limit is also considered excessive speeding and could land you a felony charge.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free