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Reckless Driving in Indiana

Reckless driving in Indiana is a vehicular offense that occurs when a driver’s behavior is dangerous and has the potential to cause harm to others. Generally, most people believe this offense is mostly related to speeding in excess. However, there is no statutory determination on the exact speed that constitutes reckless driving speed in Indiana, and there are other factors at play when it comes to being charged with this offense. In fact, charges may be brought against anyone who is driving above the posted speed limit and endangering the safety or property of others.  

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, the Indiana traffic attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you build a sound defense aimed at reducing your potential penalties and protecting driving privileges. Each client who retains our legal representation receives trusted, experienced one-on-one counsel. In fact, one of our founding attorneys, Mr. Bradley Keffer, is a past chair of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum program responsible for educating lawyers about traffic violations, and Mr. Tom Hirschauer has been a presenter at multiple legal conferences regarding traffic law matters, so you can be confident that your case is in good hands. 

If you’d like to speak with an experienced Indiana defense attorney today, do not hesitate to call our office at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help. 

Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Indiana? Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP Today.

What is Reckless Driving in Indiana? 

Per Indiana Code 9-21-8-52, one may be charged with reckless driving when caught participating in one or more of the following behaviors:  

  • Driving at such an unreasonably high rate of speed that you are endangering the safety or property of others, or blocking the proper flow of traffic 
  • Driving at such an unreasonably low rate of speed, under the circumstances, that you are endangering the safety or property of others, or blocking the proper flow of traffic 
  • Passing another vehicle from the rear while on a slope or curve where vision is obstructed for a distance of less than 500 feet ahead 
  • Driving in and out of a line of traffic, except as otherwise permitted 
  • Speeding up or refusing to give one-half (1/2) of the roadway to a driver overtaking and desiring to pass 

The Indiana Reckless Driving Speed 

Currently, under Indiana law, speeding falls into two categories – driving over the speed limit and driving recklessly at an “unreasonably high rate of speed” in a manner that could endanger others or property. This means that, under the current laws, two drivers going the exact same amount of speed over the posted limit could be charged with two different crimes, despite, generally, committing the same offense.  

Given the discretionary nature of the language used in these laws, Indiana prosecutors have a certain degree of leeway when choosing to charge a speeding offense as an infraction or a misdemeanor. However, as a defense attorney told the Indianapolis Star, it’s quite rare for a person to be charged with reckless driving in Indiana solely for speeding. Typically, this only occurs when they’re going 26 miles per hour over the speed limit or more.  

That being said, under the current state of the Indiana speeding laws, a prosecutor may choose to charge a person with reckless driving at any speed, provided that they’re able to prove that the behavior endangered the safety of others or blocked the flow of traffic. This is important to understand as the offense of reckless driving in Indiana does not only apply to speeding drivers; it also applies to drivers going under the speed limit who are, more often than not, blocking the flow of traffic.  

Passing Another Vehicle on a Slope or Curve 

 In accordance with Indiana Code 9-21-8-22, a driver is not permitted to drive in the opposite direction of traffic upon (or upon the approach to) any curve, or near the crest of a grade, where the vehicle cannot be seen by the person who drives any other vehicle approaching from either direction within 750ft. Furthermore, if a person does choose to pass another vehicle while on a slope or curve where the vision is obstructed for a distance less than 500 feet, they could be charged with reckless driving.  

Weaving In and Out of Traffic 

One behavior that may lead to a person being charged with reckless driving in Indiana is weaving in and out of traffic lanes. Per Indiana Code 9-21-8-2, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except under the following circumstances: 

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing overtaking and passing 
  • When the right half of a roadway is closed to traffic under construction or repair. 
  • Upon a roadway divided into three (3) marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable to a roadway divided into three (3) marked lanes. 
  • Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic. 

Furthermore, as stated in Indiana Code 9-21-8-24, a person may not slow down or stop a vehicle; turn a vehicle from a direct course upon a highway; or change from one (1) traffic lane to another unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety. In addition, before making a movement, a person shall provide notice of the person’s intention by giving a clearly audible horn signal if any pedestrian may be affected by the movement; and an appropriate stop or turn signal. 

Refusing to Give One-Half of the Roadway 

Indiana Code 9-21-8-5 outlines the rules governing how drivers should overtake and pass other vehicles traveling in the same direction. Under this section of the law, a person who is attempting to overtake another vehicle moving in the same direction shall pass to the left of the vehicle at a safe distance and may not move back to the right side of the road until they have safely cleared the overtaken vehicle. In turn, the person being overtaken should give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle and may not increase the speed of their vehicle until they’ve been completely passed by the overtaking vehicle. Given this, when a driver decides to speed up or refuse to give one-half of the roadway to a vehicle desiring to pass them, legally, they may be charged with reckless driving in Indiana. 

Indiana Reckless Driving Penalties 

When someone commits an act of reckless driving, they may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor if their actions resulted in the damage of another person’s property or a Class A misdemeanor if it causes bodily injury to a person.  

Furthermore, under the statute of Indiana Code on Reckless Driving, a person who recklessly passes a school bus stopped on a roadway or a private road, while the arm devise is extended, may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, or a Level 6 felony if their actions cause bodily injury to another person. In situations where their reckless actions caused the death of a person, they may be charged with a Level 5 felony.  

While the severity of the criminal penalties for reckless driving will vary based on the circumstances of the charge and the penalties recommended under Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction for this offense may also lead to the suspension of Indiana driving privileges.  

How Many Points is Reckless Driving in Indiana? 

According to our list of point values for Indiana traffic violations, a person convicted of reckless driving would incur a penalty of six points on their Indiana driver’s license. This is in the second-highest tier of point values and would make a hugely negative dent in someone’s driving record. Remember, per Indiana Administrative Code 1-4.5-4-(b), drivers may only accumulate 20 points on their license in Indiana, after applying any credits awarded from the completion of a driver’s safety program, within a twenty-four-month period before an automatic suspension is placed upon them.  

Need to Speak with an Indiana Traffic Attorney? 

Being convicted of reckless driving in Indiana can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Not only would they potentially face criminal penalties, but they would also accumulate a large number of points on their driver’s license, which could lead to an automatic suspension. Given this, it’s vital that anyone who has been charged with reckless driving seek the counsel of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney in Indiana. This will help ensure that everything is being done to minimize the potential penalties and to protect their ability to stay on the road.  

The defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand Indiana law inside and out, and have a strong understanding of how to best tailor a defense strategy when it comes to fighting charges of reckless driving in Indiana. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.  

Summary
What is Reckless Driving in Indiana?
Article Name
What is Reckless Driving in Indiana?
Description
This article discusses the criminal offense of reckless driving in Indiana, and the possible penalties associated with a conviction.
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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