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Reckless Driving Expungement in California

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What Does Reckless Driving Mean?

Reckless Driving, often referred to as “Dry Reckless” is another common offense in California. Typically, the person is pulled over with the initial suspicion they may have been driving under the influence. There are several factors which may go into determining this but if the driving is determined as “reckless” and no other inhibiting factors such as drugs or alcohol were involved, then the resulting conviction is typically Reckless Driving.


In California Vehicle Code, section 23103 states as follows:

(a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(b) A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

This section defines that when the defendant is proven to have willful or intentional disregard for the safety of others and personal property while driving a motor vehicle in a dangerous way, it will result in a reckless driving conviction. This can occur on a highway, street, parking lot etc.

If convicted, it is considered a misdemeanor and the punishments can include a fine between $145 and $1,000; a county jail sentence for no more than 90 days; and/or probation that typically lasts up to two years. There is no mandatory jail time for this offense and depending on the details of your case, the punishment can be any number of the penalties listed above.

Effects of A Reckless Driving Conviction

While a Dry Reckless is often seen as preferential when compared to a DUI conviction, it can still have lasting negative effects. Besides the criminal penalties, car insurance is likely to increase, as a conviction of reckless driving is an infraction that results in two points to a driving record.

Because this offense is considered so severe by the DMV, a two point infraction will likely remain on a driving record for up to 13 years. Once this time has elapsed, the conviction is then automatically removed from the record.

Additional Issues with Reckless Driving and Your License

While this conviction will not result in an automatic suspension, the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) is likely to come into effect. This system means that a set number of points can be accrued according to certain time periods. These are:

  • 4 points in 12 months
  • 6 points in 18 months
  • 8 points in 3 years

If any of these limits is met, then it will result in an automatic year-long license suspension. To mitigate this, a hearing with the DMV can occur if requested, but success is not guaranteed.

Expunge a Dry Reckless from a Criminal Record?

If you’re looking to have a dry reckless conviction expunged from your record, you’ll need a team of experienced attorneys. Rosenbaum and Associates have over 30 years of experience and will help you every step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation on your options for a reckless driving conviction record clearing.

Other Consequences to Reckless Driving:

  1. Reckless Driving Citation: Reckless driving in California is defined under California Vehicle Code Section 23103. Under this code, driving with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” is considered reckless driving. A first-time reckless driving offense can result in penalties including fines, imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or both. It can also result in two points on your driving record.
  2. Causing Bodily Injury: If your reckless driving causes bodily injury to someone else, it is treated as a more serious offense. Under Vehicle Code 23104, the penalties could include imprisonment in a county jail for 30 days to six months and/or a fine of between $220 and $1,000.
  3. Civil Liability: In addition to the criminal penalties, if you cause an accident that results in severe injury to someone, the injured party might also sue you for damages in civil court. This could include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
  4. Driver’s License Consequences: The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may take action against your driving privileges, which could include suspension or revocation of your license, especially if you accumulate too many points on your record within a specified time period.
  5. Insurance Rates: If you’re convicted of reckless driving, especially if it results in injury, it’s likely your auto insurance premiums will increase significantly. Some insurance companies might even choose to terminate your policy.
  6. Other Consequences: Depending on the severity of the injuries and circumstances of the accident, other charges could also be brought against you, including felony charges. If someone dies as a result of the accident, you could face vehicular manslaughter charges.

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About the Author


Paul R. Rosenbaum, Esq.

A graduate of University of Southern California's Gould School of Law with over 30+ years of experience in Litigation, Real Estate law and Business law, Attorney Rosenbaum has helped hundreds of people get past difficult legal problems that caused them personal and financial stress. Paul has been recognized by the Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating company with the highest honor of AV, Preeminent Attorney. He is an active member of the State Bar of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Los Angeles Jewish Bar Association.

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