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Is Reckless Driving a Crime in Colorado?


In Colorado, reckless driving is a misdemeanor traffic offense that can carry serious consequences. If convicted of this crime, someone can face fines, jail time, and a license suspension.

Because reckless driving is a crime in Colorado, you can be arrested, charged, and tried as a criminal defendant in court. While you may not be sentenced to jail, a reckless driving arrest and conviction may appear on your criminal record, unlike a less serious traffic violation.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is the operation of any motor vehicle in such a manner that displays a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of people or property. A motor vehicle may be a car, truck, or motorcycle, but it may also include an electric scooter or an electrical-assisted bicycle.

Reckless driving can take many forms. Some examples of reckless driving include:

  • Driving at excessive speeds, especially in residential areas;
  • Running red lights and stop signs;
  • Unsafe lane changes or passing other vehicles without adequate clearance;
  • Excessive weaving while changing lanes;
  • Following other vehicles too closely;
  • Failing to yield the right of way when appropriate;
  • Unsafe passing, such as passing on the shoulder or in a no-passing zone;
  • Making erratic and sudden maneuvers while driving;
  • Engaging in aggressive behavior like honking, gesturing, or yelling at other drivers;
  • Texting or using a phone while driving.

Reckless driving is not only dangerous for the driver engaging in it—it’s also a threat to all other drivers on the road. If you observe another driver engaging in reckless behavior, it’s best to keep a safe distance and notify the authorities if necessary.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Colorado

In Colorado, reckless driving is a serious offense. Depending on the severity of the offense, drivers can receive a range of penalties.

Penalties for reckless driving may include hefty fines and demerit points added to the driver's license. If the act was particularly dangerous or resulted in bodily harm, more serious consequences such as jail time may be imposed.

A first-time conviction for reckless driving may be punishable with up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $300. A second or subsequent conviction may be sentenced to a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. First-time convicts may face the latter set of penalties if the circumstances of their conviction were severe enough.

Additionally, each reckless driving conviction applies eight points against your license. Keep in mind that accruing 12 or more points in a 12-month period or 18 or more points in a 24-month period results in a point suspension of your license.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

At Orr Law Firm, we understand that facing reckless driving charges can be a stressful time. That’s why our qualified attorneys are here to provide the legal advice and representation you need. With decades of experience in defending clients from all sorts of traffic violations, we are confident in our ability to provide you with an effective defense.

Learn more about our legal services during a free consultation. Contact us today for more information.