The Skinny on Reckless Driving in Colorado

Reckless driving in Colorado is a misdemeanor traffic offense, which means it is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. A second conviction for reckless driving includes a mandatory minimum 10 days in jail.

In this article, Denver DUI lawyer Jay Tiftickjian offers the law, penalties, and collateral consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Colorado.

Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1401 defines reckless driving as when “[a] person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property…” Serious accidents or driving that is dangerous or imprudent often results in this criminal charge. Alternatively, careless driving is a less serious traffic offense in Colorado law.

Tiftickjian reports that DUI attorneys in Colorado often seek to negotiate a reckless driving charge in a DUI case.  The conviction causes eight points on a Colorado driving record, which is the same as DWAI. While a case may not involve bad driving or irresponsible conduct, a reckless driving conviction is more desirable then a DUI or DWAI conviction because it is not an alcohol-related driving conviction. Even when classified as a “wet reckless,” the conviction usually comes with a fine or low-level alcohol education class, and not the punitive sentences associated with a drunk driving conviction.

The points issued at the Colorado DMV could be a problem. An adult driver 21 or older cannot accumulate 12 or more points in any year, or 18 points in a two-year period. The points associated with a reckless driving conviction could put someone over their points limit and cause a driver’s license suspension.

If serious bodily injury results from the reckless driving, a class five felony, punishable up to three years in prison, will be charged.

“Reckless driving is serious, and obviously a charge that it is desirable to avoid,” says Tiftickjian. Aggressive driving, excessive speeding, or other actions can lead to a reckless driving charge.