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Reckless Driving

Driving a vehicle in the state of Colorado is a privilege. Unfortunately, many individuals lose their privilege when they drive recklessly on the road. Colorado state law prohibits operating a vehicle in a way that jeopardizes the safety of others.

Reckless driving is a crime that, upon conviction, can result in fines and jail time. The law in Colorado says that an individual is guilty of reckless driving if he or she drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrically assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton (intentional and unprovoked) or a willful disregard for the safety of other people or property.

Denver Reckless Driving Attorney

Fighting a reckless driving charge can be complex therefore it is something that a person should leave to experienced professionals. If you have been arrested for operating a vehicle in a reckless manner, retain the legal counsel of Denver criminal defense attorney Matthew A. Martin at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Mr. Martin has 20 years of experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney and can give you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed. He can represent your best interests in court. To schedule an initial consultation, call (303) 725-0017 today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. serves clients in Denver, CO and surrounding cities including Welby, Aurora, Englewood, Northglenn, Arvada, Lakewood, and Federal Heights.


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Information Center


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Examples of Reckless Driving

Because reckless driving can be similar to careless driving, here are a few examples of what could be considered reckless driving:

Example 1 – Intentionally driving a vehicle on a residential street at speeds over 100mph.

Example 2 – Intentionally driving a vehicle on the highway at night with the headlights turned off.

Example 3 – Drag racing with another vehicle on a public road.

Example 4 – Intentionally driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed through a school zone or an area with a crowd of people.

In these examples, the person operating the vehicle is doing so in a way that is clearly dangerous to others. Another critical aspect is that the driver intentionally operates the vehicle in a risky and unsafe manner. Reckless driving, unlike careless driving, requires the individual to engage in behavior beyond a simple mistake.


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Penalties for Reckless Driving in Colorado

Under Colorado law, reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor. What this means is that if an individual is found guilty of reckless driving, then they can receive a sentence of:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $300 in fines

If previously convicted of a reckless driving charge, then the penalties increase. A person convicted of a subsequent reckless driving charge can face penalties of:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Separate from the criminal penalties, the accused can face additional negative marks on their driving record. This can include points and a potential loss of their driver’s license.


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Defenses for Reckless Driving in CO

Reckless driving, like all criminal charges, must be proven for the defendant to be convicted. A prosecutor must show that the individual’s conduct met all the elements of a reckless driving offense. Several potential legal defenses could make it difficult and even impossible for a prosecutor to prove their case. Some of the available defenses are:

There was an emergency – If a crazed gunman was chasing the accused and, to get away, the accused drove their car at a high rate of speed while swerving through traffic, they may be able to argue that they had no choice but to drive recklessly, as their life was in danger.

They were not driving – To prove a reckless driving charge, it must be shown that the defendant was operating the vehicle. If an individual falls asleep in the back seat of a car that slips into neutral and crashes into a stop light, they may be able to claim they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The driver was not reckless – As mentioned above, reckless driving differs from careless driving. Many drivers use their phones while they are driving, for example. While this is dangerous and could cause a situation that could harm others, it may not be considered reckless but could be deemed careless. Similarly, unintentionally operating a vehicle without headlights at night is dangerous, but it likely would not be considered reckless.

The vehicle was not a motor vehicle, bicycle, e-bike, or low-power scooter – The law says that to be convicted of reckless driving, an individual must be operating a motor vehicle, bicycle, e-bike, or low-power scooter. If an individual is recklessly operating a skateboard, they cannot be convicted of reckless driving under the law.


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Statute Of Limitations

The law limits the time the government has to bring charges against an individual. The statute of limitations is the length of time that the prosecutor can bring charges for a specific offense. If they bring charges after that time has expired, then the person charged can request that the charges be dismissed as they have been brought too late and in violation of the statute of limitations. Reckless driving is considered a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Under Colorado law, all class 2 misdemeanors must be charged within one year of the date of the offense.


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Additional Resources

Model Traffic Code For Colorado – A complete and thorough guide to the uniform and state-wide traffic rules for all Colorado drivers. A clearly defined and all-encompassing manual on the rules governing drivers and pedestrians on public roads and streets and highways.

Rules of the Road and Trail – A guide for individuals that operate bicycles on public roads in Colorado. This website not only summarizes the rules of the road for bikers but also contains bicycle-related laws as they pertain to drivers of other motor vehicles.

Colorado Driver Handbook – A summary of the rules, laws, and safe driving practices that govern all individuals who operate vehicles in Colorado. This is an informational booklet designed to give drivers and operators of other vehicles safe practices and a summary of current regulations.


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Colorado Reckless Driving Lawyer | Denver, CO

If you have been arrested in Denver, CO, it is important that you understand the charges against you and what your legal rights are. Colorado traffic laws are complex. You should not try to take on the criminal justice system on your own.

Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. is prepared to offer you skilled legal representation. If you reside in Denver, CO, contact Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. at (303) 725-0017 to schedule a free consultation. Criminal defense attorney Matthew A. Martin has over 20 years of experience in criminal law and can mount a strong defense for your case.


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