In New Hampshire, reckless driving is committed when a driver acts with disregard to the substantial risks his or her actions have on the safety of the public. Unlike many traffic violations where a specific rule is broken, such as going over the speed limit or running a red light, a person can receive a ticket for reckless driving under any circumstances where driving is deemed dangerous.
Some common scenarios of reckless driving include:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving across lanes of traffic
- Failing to abide by posted signs
In most cases, drivers must be conscious that their actions are unsafe. However, street racing, or driving on a bet, wager, or to make a record is considered reckless driving regardless of whether or not the driver is aware of any danger to public safety. Even street racing-type activities where there is no risk of injuring others are deemed reckless driving.
Reckless Driving Penalties: Fines, Suspended License and Points
One common misconception about reckless driving charges is that they are simple traffic tickets, where you pay a fine and maybe get a ding or two on your driving record. In fact, reckless driving is one of the most serious moving violations. It not only carries hefty fines, but also requires suspension of driving privileges.
For a first offense, there is a minimum fine of $500 and mandatory license revocation for sixty days.
For a second offense, the minimum fine increases to $750 and a license can be revoked for a minimum of sixty days and up to a full year.
In New Hampshire, a conviction for a moving violation will cause demerit points to be added to a driver's record. Violations garner from one to six demerit points depending on the severity of the infraction.
For a reckless driving conviction, a driver will get six demerit points.
In addition to the revocation of driving privileges that goes along with a conviction for reckless driving, if a driver receives a certain number of demerit points within a one to three year period, a license will be suspended for up to one year.
In addition to the actual punishment given by the court, reckless driving convictions can also have collateral consequences. New Hampshire does not offer limited driving privileges for work or school, so take a moment to imagine what your life would be like if you could not drive, even for sixty days.
The extra time spent on the bus or money spent on other forms of transportation will certainly put a strain on your life. Your friends and family members will quickly tire of driving you around. The inability to get to and from work, or drive for a job could jeopardize your career.
To restore your driving privileges, you will be required to pay a $100 fee.
Even once your driving privileges are finally restored, you are likely to face a significant increase in insurance rates. If a second reckless driving conviction occurs within five years of the first conviction, the driver will be required to obtain an SR-22 auto insurance policy.