Reckless Driving

Texas Reckless Driving Laws

Reckless driving in Texas is defined by Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.401. Texas laws define reckless driving as the following:

A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Reckless driving penalties

Unlike a simple speeding ticket, reckless driving is a more serious offense. Under Texas Transportation Code, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Getting convicted means it will go into your permanent record and shows up on criminal background checks, which can make getting employment difficult.

Reckless driving in Texas carries significantly lower penalties than in most other states. Each reckless driving conviction in TX will result in a fine of $200 or less, or imprisonment in county jail for up to 30 days, or both.

There may be additional surcharges or court and lawyer costs involved, depending on each case. Reckless driving typically comes paired with other charges such as speeding or street racing. In case of death or injury to persons or damage to property it can come with felony charges, especially if the violation is classified as a Hit and Run.

In addition to fines, 2 points will be added against your driver license record, or 3 if involved in an accident. Your license will furthermore be automatically suspended for 30 days.

Proving reckless driving

Proving reckless driving or lack thereof can be difficult, as prosecutors must prove in court that you were intentionally driving with a “wanton disregard for safety“.

Reckless driving can potentially mean turning into a one-way street, running a red light, or even speeding, but proving you did it intentionally and knowingly can be difficult.

If you are facing a reckless driving charge it’s highly advisable to consult a competent traffic attorney. Although reckless driving in Texas carries fairly low fines and jail time is unlikely, having a violation in your permanent record can hurt your future chances of employment and even increase your car insurance rates.

Experienced lawyers can often plea your reckless driving charges to “simple” speeding which carries significantly lower penalties, or even drop the charges completely.

Related charges

In addition to reckless driving and depending on the circumstances you may even be charged with additional violations, potentially including:

  • hit-and-run or assault
  • speeding
  • street racing
  • driving under influence

Each charge can carry additional penalties and even felony charges which can amount to significant fees and jail time.

Texas Reckless Driving law reference:

This article about Texas Reckless Driving Laws was last updated in 2019. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!