From time to time we all drive with less than our full attention on the road and what we are doing. It is likely that you may speed or be a bit less cautious than you should be or perhaps even get into a motor vehicle accident. For any of these reasons, as well as many others, a police officer may issue a careless driving ticket.
Careless driving is perhaps the most common Traffic Violation, after speeding, to be heard in Philadelphia courts. With fines, points on your driving record, and a possible suspension of your driver's license, the effects of a guilty verdict can be substantial. You will need an experienced defense attorney to aggressively defend your rights.
What Constitutes Careless Driving
Careless driving is defined by 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 3714(a) as driving a vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Examples of careless driving:
• Failing to keep a safe distance from other vehicles
• Unsafe passing
• Causing an accident
Careless Driving vs. Reckless Driving
Remember though, careless driving is essentially a less serious version of reckless driving and is in fact a lesser included offense of reckless driving. The difference between the two falls in respect to the "willful or wanton" requirement. In essence, careless driving means you are driving dangerously but not necessarily aware of it while Reckless driving includes an awareness of the dangerous driving. This lack of awareness is designed to illustrate that while you made a potentially dangerous mistake, you did not do so in flippant disregard of the law.
The effect of the statutory language is to make careless an easier offense for the prosecution to prove. So though a less serious offense than reckless driving, the need for representation for a careless ticket may be that much more necessary!
Penalties for Careless Driving
• 3 points on your driving record
• Increased insurance premiums
• Resulting in injury carries up to $250 fine and 90 days in jail
• Resulting in death carries up to $500 fine and 90 days in jail
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.