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Are you facing a criminal reckless driving charge in Rhode Island?  Our team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys can help.  We have handled 1,000's of criminal cases in our combined 25 years of criminal defense experience including dozens of reckless driving cases.  In Rhode Island, reckless driving is a criminal charge and you can be arrested and taken into custody by the Police. The punishments for a first offense reckless driving charge carries up to one year in jail and a subsequent arrest for reckless driving can be charged as a felony and carry a sentence of up to five years in jail. 

Because the potential penalties are severe, it is important to hire a skilled Rhode Island reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible to obtain the best results under the particular facts and law of your case. Your attorney's knowledge of defenses, sentencing guidelines, and alternative sentencing options will be vital to obtaining the best outcome under the law and facts of your case.  Our criminal defense legal team has over 25 years of combined criminal defense experience and can help you fight your reckless driving charges.

Rhode Island Reckless Driving Lawyers
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm
We Can Help – Call Now – 401-228-8271

What is criminal Reckless Driving in Rhode Island?

Reckless Driving in Rhode Island is a criminal offense as provided in Rhode Island General Law 31-27-4.  Unlike many criminal laws the spell out the certain elements of a crime, reckless driving makes it illegal to “operate a motor vehicle recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, or operates a vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee from a traffic officer or police vehicle” but does not define what “recklessly” actually means.  If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving, call an experienced attorney to help navigate this tricky area of the law.

What is the Rhode Island's Reckless Driving Statute?

Reckless driving is a criminal offense and is codified in Rhode Island General Law 31-27-4.  Reckless eluding, which is eluding a police officer while operating in a reckless manner, is found in Rhode Island General Law 31-27-4.1 and provides for specific, enhanced penalties above and beyond simple reckless driving.

Is reckless driving a felony or a misdemeanor in RI?

Reckless Driving under Rhode Island General Law 31-27-4 is a misdemeanor for a first offense.  However, if you are charged with reckless driving and have a previous conviction then you can be charged with a felony.

What are the penalties for Reckless Driving in Rhode Island?

First offense reckless driving under Rhode Island General Law 31-27-4 is a misdemeanor criminal offense and carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison (ACI).  If you are charged with a second offense reckless driving offense, you are facing a felony criminal offense that carries up to five years in prison (ACI).

How likely is jail time for reckless driving?

The crime of reckless driving means that you allegedly put the lives of the public at risk by the operation of your motor vehicle.  Reckless driving cases tend to be highly dependent on their individual circumstances which can include the time of day, the weather conditions, the presence of other people on the road, and other factors.  In most cases, the number one factor that will be examined by a prosecutor is whether other people were injured and, if they were, the extent of their injuries.  Reckless driving cases involving significant physical injury to another individual typically do result in substantial jail sentences in Rhode Island.

Can you get a reckless driving charge off your record in Rhode Island?

Yes, you can expunge a reckless driving charge off of your record.  There are a number of conditions, but generally speaking if you have not been convicted of any other criminal offenses you are eligible to expunge a misdemeanor reckless driving conviction 5 years after the completion of your sentence and you are eligible to expunge a felony reckless driving conviction 10 years after the completion of your sentence.

Can reckless driving charges be dropped?  Can you get reckless driving dismissed?

It is possible for reckless driving charges to be dropped or dismissed.  Sometimes that involves a negotiated agreement with a prosecutor to complete some out of court obligations.  Sometimes that involves a hearing challenging probable cause or a trial challenging the State's ability to prove the matter beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is always best to seek the counsel of an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you on your reckless driving charge.  A lawyer cannot guarantee a dismissal of any type of criminal charge, but hiring the right lawyer can substantially increase your likelihood of a positive resolution.

Can Hiring a Reckless Driving Lawyer Help me Fight my Case?

Yes, it can. As a local Rhode Island Reckless Driving Lawyer we see a lot of these charges, and there are almost always good defense strategies that can get charges reduced, dismissed, or work out a reasonable arrangement.

If you made a mistake, were talking on the cell phone, adjusting the radio or GPS map, drinking a cup of coffee or eating and momentarily lost control of you car, you could easily end up charged with Reckless Driving.  If this is the case, you shouldn't be facing a criminal punishment and deserve a second chance. 

You can be charged with reckless by driving in a way that the police officer decides is reckless or endangers the lives of others on the road, but these factors are not explicitly defined or stated under Rhode Island law, so the charge is very subjective.

Our Team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help you by:

  1. Advising you and keeping you updated at all times on the status of your case
  1. Arguing for lower bailor personal recognizance
  1. Investigating your case and gathering evidence supporting your defenses
  1. Making court motions. These will include a Motion for Discovery so that we can obtain all the evidence the police have against you.  These can also include a Motion to Suppress the evidence, which if successful can result in your case being dismissed.
  1. Evaluating all legal defenses available. Depending on the facts, these can include mistakes and inaccuracies by the arresting officer, evidence that you were not driving, improper stop and arrest, and other defenses.
  1. Seeking Reduction of the Charges.
  1. Representing You at Trial or Plea Bargain
  1. Seeking alternative sentencing, or the lowest sentence available. Alternative sentences (available in some cases) can include drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, community service, and other sentences

Call for a consultation on your case today; we are here to help. We can offer defense suggestions, and let you know what we can do to beat the case, and keep your record clean. To discuss your criminal charges with an aggressive RI Reckless Driving Lawyer, call 401-228-8271 or email at [email protected].

Rhode Island Reckless Driving Law

  • 31-27-4  Reckless driving and other offenses against public safety.– Any person who operates a motor vehicle recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, or operates a vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee from a traffic officer or police vehicle, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first conviction and a felony for the second and each subsequent conviction. 

Rhode Island 

Reckless Driving Penalties

First Offense - a first offense reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor carrying with it a sentence of up to one (1) year in jail and up to a one-thousand ($1,000) dollar fine.

Subsequent Offense - a subsequent reckless driving charge can be charged as a felony carrying with it a sentence of up to five (5) years in jail and up to a five thousand ($5,000) dollar fine.

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyer for Ten Consecutive Years 2014-2023

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island SuperLawyer for 10 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2023. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.

Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Matthew Marin and Kensley Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.