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What’s the difference between speeding and reckless driving?

| Oct 29, 2020 | Traffic Violations |

Speeding or driving at speeds higher than the posted limit is arguably the single most common law violation in the country. Many people speed at some point every day with little concern about doing so.

Some people are so accustomed to exceeding the speed limit that they will go 15 or even 20 miles over it. Some people pulled over for speeding in North Carolina may wind up instead facing a charge of reckless driving.

What is the difference between reckless driving and speeding in North Carolina?

North Carolina leaves much to the discretion of police officers

Some states have specific qualifying standards for a driver to face reckless driving charges. Exceeding the posted speed limit by a certain amount is an example of a common qualification for reckless driving.

North Carolina’s reckless driving statute does not create specific scenarios in which officers can charge someone with reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor instead of a standard traffic ticket. Instead, the officer must decide if they believe that the driver behaved with reckless disregard for the safety of others. Speeding close to a school or going way over the speed limit in a residential neighborhood, as well as racing on a local highway, may all be scenarios where the actual offense is speeding but the charge that results is reckless driving.

Given that much is open to interpretation when it comes to reckless driving charges, talking to an attorney about the scenario that led to your charges can give you an idea about what defense options you may have available to you.