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Reckless driving charges: What are the stakes for CDL holders?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Traffic Violations

For commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, reckless driving is not just a traffic violation; it’s a threat to their livelihood. But which actions count as reckless driving under Indiana law? What are the penalties for CDL holders caught committing these acts?

Reckless driving, according to the law

According to Indiana law, the following actions count as reckless driving:

  • Driving at unreasonably high speeds to endanger the safety or property of others or to block traffic
  • Driving at unreasonably low speeds to endanger the safety or property of others or to block traffic
  • Passing another vehicle from the rear while on a slope where vision is obstructed
  • Driving in and out of a line of traffic
  • Refusing to give one-half of the roadway to another driver looking to overtake or pass

The law states that these offenses are Class C misdemeanors. If the offenses cause property damage, the charge upgrades to a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the offenses cause bodily injury to another person, the driver responsible instead faces charges for a Class A misdemeanor.

Violations specific to school buses

If a CDL holder recklessly passes a school bus that’s stopped on the side of the road with the arm signal device deployed, the driver commits a Class A misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Level 6 felony if the driver causes bodily injury to another person. It becomes a Level 5 felony instead if the driver causes the death of another through reckless action.

The penalties for reckless driving

If a court convicts a driver of reckless driving, they could face the following penalties:

  • Class C misdemeanor: Up to 60 days of jail time and $500 in fines
  • Class B misdemeanor: Up to six months of jail time and $1,000 in fines
  • Class A misdemeanor: Up to one year of jail time and $5,000 in fines
  • Level 6 felony: Up to two and a half years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines
  • Level 5 felony: Up to six years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines

In addition to these penalties, a court may suspend the driver’s privileges for 90 days. If the driver has at least one previous conviction for reckless driving, the suspension period is extended to one year. Violations also lead to points assessed on the driver’s license, and enough points can lead to a suspension.

It’s crucial for CDL holders to understand their rights and how to protect them. The penalties for reckless driving aren’t just severe, they can also lead to a CDL holder losing their livelihood. If charged with reckless driving, they might benefit from legal counsel. A legal professional may be able to help them build a solid defense for their hearing.