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California Vehicle Code section 23103
The key definition of 23103 reckless driving is “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” There are other California Vehicle Code sections involving reckless driving, including 23104, 23105, and the sections that address court suspension of drivers license and DMV revocation of California drivers license.
A traffic ticket reckless driving 23103 is a criminal case because it is misdemeanor in California. However, the punishment is both greater and less than the standard criminal misdemeanor punishment of up to 6 months in jail and $1000 fine. According to California Vehicle Code section 23103, the punishment can be 5 to 90 days in jail or $145 fine to $1000 fine. Thus, to be cited for reckless driving in Long Beach or Torrance, or any city in Los Angeles County or Orange County, carries some very serious potential consequences.
Note: Jail time is usually carried out at Los Angeles County Jail through Twin Towers or Theo Lacy Jail in Orange County – this is not State Prison. Regarding the fines, note that $145 really means about $684, and $100 fine translates to about $4200.
Probably one of the more serious consequences, as far as effecting someone’s everyday life in the South Bay, are the 2 DMV points that remain on a driving record for seven years. The two points are called negligent operator points. The California DMV allows traffic school for 1 point violations but not for 2 point violations, like 23103 reckless driving, 23152 DUI, 14601.1 or 14601.2 or 14601.5 driving on a suspended license, etc. Thus, if someone is convicted for reckless driving (whether in Long Beach Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, or Airport Courthouse), they will get two points on their driving record that will make their insurance rates go up. However, for example, if they hire a criminal defense attorney to appear that is the best at handling traffic tickets for defendants, their lawyer can go to the Superior Court of California for them and seek a dismissal of the reckless driving charge, even a not guilty at trial or some reduction, that avoids DMV points.
The key to winning a charge for reckless driving, or any other 2 point DMV violation, is not always about fighting but about having an attorney that has a track record of successful negotiations with prosecutors and courts. Attorney David Dastrup is an experienced and successful negotiator that has had 2 point violation charges dismissed entirely at the West Justice Center, North Justice Center, and Bellflower Courthouse. He has also negotiated deals on serious traffic ticket criminal cases the County of Orange and Los Angeles.
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