A reckless driving conviction is punishable by up to a $500 fine, 93 days in jail, or both. In addition, a total of $1,000 will be assessed in a driver’s responsibility fees by the Secretary of State. Six points are added to the driver’s record. A first offense results in a mandatory 90-day license suspension. Two convictions within seven years result in license revocation.
To be convicted of reckless driving, there must be evidence that the “defendant was driving in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Another way of saying this is that the driver operated a vehicle with gross negligence. Reckless driving is distinguished from the civil infraction of careless driving, which requires evidence of only ordinary negligence.
The Michigan Supreme Court has articulated three elements that must be found for there to be gross negligence;
1. Knowledge of a situation requiring the exercise of ordinary care and diligence to avert injury to another.
2. Ability to avoid the resulting harm by ordinary care and diligence in the use of the means at hand.
3. The omission to use such care and diligence to avert the threatened danger when to the ordinary mind it must be apparent that the result is likely to prove disastrous to another.
Reckless driving involves more than simply poor, careless, or aggressive driving. For example, falling asleep at the wheel is not necessarily reckless driving. The driver must have known that it was likely that falling asleep was a possibility and chose to ignore that possibility.
Speeding by itself is not reckless driving. However, recklessness could be found even if the vehicle was going under the speed limit, such as where weather conditions do not permit such a speed. Also, intoxication alone is not necessarily reckless. There must be some sort of willful misconduct in addition to the intoxication.