If you’ve received a ticket for careless driving in Eagle County, here are the steps you must take to resolve your ticket:
- Consult With An Experienced Careless Driving Defense Lawyer Immediately. While a careless driving ticket may look like any other traffic ticket, such as a ticket for a minor traffic infraction, it is anything but that. A careless driving ticket is a traffic offense citation, and it is a criminal charge, which means you will need a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in traffic offenses to help you tackle your careless driving ticket and help you fight your pending criminal charges. Careless driving charges should not be taken lightly as the consequences of a conviction are long lasting. Get in touch with an experienced careless driving defence lawyer serving the Vail, Colorado area as soon as you are able to after you have been charged with careless driving.
- Contest Your Criminal Charges. A careless driving charge is a criminal charge and you will need to defend yourself against the criminal charges against. Your careless driving defense lawyer will look at the facts of your case and will identify whether a different traffic offense better fits the description of your actions. It would be better for you to get a traffic offense conviction that is a minor infraction of the law rather than a criminal conviction for careless driving. Alternatively, you may seek a favorable plea deal, which could mean a downgraded charge from criminal careless driving to a more favorable, non-criminal traffic offense.
- Work Out Favorable Sentencing. If, unfortunately, you are convicted of careless driving, or some other downgraded charge, the next thing to do will be to negotiate for a favorable sentencing option for you. No one wants to spend time in jail, and your traffic offense criminal defense lawyer may be able to get you community service or a high fine in exchange for little to no jail time, depending on the circumstances surrounding your careless driving case.
If you are not a resident of Eagle County, you likely don’t have the time or energy to deal with this. Call us, and we’ll deal with it for you.
An Overview of Colorado Careless Driving Laws
Careless driving in Colorado is defined as driving a vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner, without regard for the width of the road, the grade, any curves or corners, and any other vehicles or people that you may be sharing the road with. The driver must consciously operate the vehicle in a way that they know to be potentially dangerous. You can get a careless driving ticket if you are driving a motorized vehicle, motorized bicycle (moped or scooter), or are riding a bike, and it does not matter whether you were driving on a public roadway or on private property. Even out-of-state drivers can get a Colorado careless driving ticket.
Colorado’s careless driving law is purposely vague so that a number of different activities can fall under the umbrella of “careless driving”. For example, some of the more common examples of careless driving that can be ticketed include:
- Being involved in a traffic accident where the citing police officer believes that the accident was primarily your fault.
- Accidentally rear-ending another vehicle because you were following too closely, or you were distracted while driving.
- Excessive speeding.
- Speeding, in particular if there is poor visibility or bad weather conditions that make driving unsafe, i.e., icy roads, rainy weather, or foggy conditions.
- Situations where a citing police officer believes that you were operating your vehicle in a way that was imprudent or careless.
- Aggressive driving, such as weaving in and out of traffic when it is unnecessary to do so, or weaving in and out of dense traffic.
Potential Consequences for Colorado Careless Driving
Careless driving is a criminal offense, which means a conviction results in a criminal record. Careless driving is generally a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. However, if an accident occurs as a result of your driving where someone is hurt or killed, the charge may be upgraded to a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.
In terms of the penalties associated with a careless driving conviction:
- Careless driving that amounts to a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado is punishable by a up to one year in jail and a fine that can be anywhere from $250-$1,000 dollars.
- Careless driving that amounts to a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado is punishable by a up to eighteen months in jail and a fine of between $500-$5,000 dollars.
- In either a class 2 or class 1 misdemeanor case, the precise jail time and fines will depend on whether the case is prosecuted before a municipal court or a county court. Municipal courts are more strict when it comes to punishment of a careless driving conviction.
- Careless driving convictions are also accompanied by court costs.
- Additionally, a careless driving conviction will result in the Colorado DMV adding four points to your driving record. If you already have points on your record, the points you get from a careless driving conviction can be enough to cause your license to be suspended.
- Very often, people who are convicted of careless driving experience an increase in their auto insurance rates.
- Someone who holds a commercial driver’s license risks losing their job over a careless driving conviction.
A careless driving conviction is a criminal conviction, and you will have a permanent criminal record as a result. If you have pending criminal charges against you for a careless driving ticket, you should seek the guidance and legal representation that only an experienced careless driving defence attorney can offer.
Don’t wait. We can help you get your careless driving ticket resolved so your can get back to what is important to you.
If you’re from outside of Eagle County, you likely don’t have the time or energy to deal with this. Call us, and we’ll deal with it for you.