Reckless Driving G.S. 20-140(b)

what is reckless driving

Reckless Driving?

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is a serious NC traffic offense

Most traffic and speeding offenses in North Carolina are infractions and not considered a crime. However, some offenses such as Reckless Driving may have serious consequences, that upon conviction includes permanently showing on your criminal record.

There are different types of Reckless Driving

  1. One type is when a driver of a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others is guilty of reckless driving. G.S. 20-140(a)
  2. Another type, which is, by far, the most frequently charged, prohibits driving a vehicle upon a highway or public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property. G.S. 20-140(b). A person who violates both G.S. 20-140(a) and (b) in one continuous operation of a vehicle is guilty of but one offense.
  3. In North Carolina, if you are charged for any speeding greater than 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit of more than 55 mph then you may be charged with reckless driving.
  4. Charges for speeding over 80 mph may also be charged with reckless driving.
  5. The final type is limited to commercial motor vehicles carrying oversize or overweight loads. A person who drives such a vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property commits the offense of reckless driving as defined in G.S. 20-140(f)

Is Reckless Driving an Infraction or Misdemeanor?

Reckless Driving is a class 2 misdemeanor

What are the possible outcomes if I am charged with reckless driving?

In some situations if a driver has no prior moving violations within a three year period and the officer consents, the State might reduce the North Carolina charge to a lesser offense such as Exceeding Safe Speed or Unsafe Movement.

In many situations if the driver voluntarily participates in a NC Defensive Driving School class then the State will consider a more substantial reduction from the charged offense than they would without having completed the NC defensive driving school program.

However, the most likely plea to be offered in similar cases is that of the State will not oppose the Court’s entry of the discretionary prayer for judgment.

How many insurance points does reckless driving carry?

This moving violation is class 2 misdemeanor and carries with it 4 license / insurance points

Will my license be revoked for a reckless driving conviction?

Generally your license will not be revoked as a result of a conviction for reckless driving unless certain other conditions are present. These may include conviction of reckless driving and certain speeding offenses within a twelve month period. Convictions of multiple reckless driving charges within certain time frames may also result in license revocation.


Other sites for additional information on this charge

NC Department of Insurance – Publications

NC Department of Insurance – Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance

NC DMV Handbook

NC General Statute 

written by

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Jon Welborn

Jon is an experienced trial attorney with over 10 years litigating a variety of cases in all NC Trial Courts. Be sure to visit us at FacebookTwitter, and Instagram