Gwinnett County Reckless Stunt Driving

Reckless Driving Lawyer
Serving Gwinnett County, Georgia

Reckless Driving Traffic Violation Lawyer Serving Gwinnett County, Georgia

Georgia’s reckless stunt driving laws were introduced in 2021 to reduce the cases of dangerous street racing in the state.

A reckless stunt driving charge is no mere traffic offense. It is a serious criminal offense that has the potential to result in severe penalties, including jail time and wider consequences that can greatly impact the future of the defendant.

This is especially important when we consider that many offenders are youngsters with their lives ahead of them.

If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless stunt driving in Georgia, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can help mitigate the penalties and the wider impact on the future.

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What is reckless stunt driving in Georgia?

Georgia’s reckless stunt driving law under OCGA 40-6-390.1 states the following:

“Any person who operates any vehicle while drag racing, in violation of Code Section 40-6-186, or laying drags, in violation of Code Section 40-6-251, in reckless disregard for the safety of persons on a highway or upon private property without express authorization from the owner of such property commits the offense of reckless stunt driving.”

The two key elements of a reckless stunt driving charge are:

  1. Operating a vehicle while drag racing or laying drag, and
  2. In reckless disregard for the safety of others

To achieve a conviction, the prosecution must prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Weaknesses in the case against a defendant can be exploited by seasoned criminal defense lawyers, who may be able to pursue lesser charges or even case dismissal.

What are the consequences of a reckless stunt driving charge in Georgia?

The penalties, if convicted of a reckless stunt driving charge, depend largely on whether it is an offender’s first offense or not.

  1. A first conviction within 10 years: this is treated as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature with a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and between 10 days and six months in jail.
  2. A second conviction within 10 years: this is treated as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature with a fine of between $750 and $1,500 and between 90 days and 12 months in jail.
  3. A third conviction within 10 years (habitual violator): this can result in a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000 and between 120 days and 12 months in jail. A third offense can also result in license revocation and seizure of your vehicle by the state.
  4. A fourth conviction within 10 years: this is a felony with a fine of between $5,000 and $7,500 and between one and five years in prison—plus license revocation and seizure of your vehicle by the state.

With such severe penalties attached to reckless stunt driving charges, it’s essential to fight the case against you and avoid a criminal conviction. An arrest, charge, and conviction will show on background checks for the rest of your life and you will be required to report it on employment applications, rental applications, and other official application forms.

What are possible legal defenses for reckless stunt driving in Georgia?

Regardless of the strength of the evidence against you, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will investigate your case and can often propose a convincing defense against the charges.

Generally, one of the following three defenses will be employed for a reckless stunt driving charge:

  • Lack of evidence against the defendant: if the evidence doesn’t prove that the defendant was engaged in drag racing or laying drags or driving with reckless disregard for others, a reduction or dismissal of the charges can result. Sometimes, evidence is gained unlawfully, which can also bolster the defense’s arguments. Sometimes the officers do not document exactly how a defendant “laid drags” and simply states that a driver did a “burnout” but fail to mention whether the car was moving in a zigzag, circular, or with gyrations.
  • Private property with permission from the owner: if the alleged reckless stunt driving occurred on private property with provable permission from the owner, the driver cannot be found guilty of the charge.
  • Another individual was driving: only the person operating the vehicle can be found guilty of reckless stunt driving, so if law enforcement made a mistake when identifying the driver, no conviction can result.

How long does a reckless stunt driving charge stay on your record in Georgia?

A reckless stunt driving charge remains on your criminal record for life in Georgia.

Although certain misdemeanor offenses are eligible for restriction from the public record in Georgia, this doesn’t happen automatically, and, besides, reckless stunt driving arrests and charge records cannot currently be sealed.

Your best chance of avoiding the harsh consequences of a charge and conviction is to speak to a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested and charged.

How can a Georgia reckless stunt driving lawyer help?

Most importantly, a Georgia reckless stunt driving attorney can prevent an innocent person from going to jail. A criminal charge is not the same as a conviction but to avoid the latter usually requires a convincing argument for a defense.

Besides this, there are other reasons to hire a qualified lawyer. Often, reckless stunt driving is the first criminal charge the individual has ever received. Many defendants are youngsters. There is a good chance that the worst consequences can be avoided even if the defendant was participating in street racing or stunt driving—and the negative impact on the future reduced.

The support and guidance of a seasoned lawyer can also be invaluable as the defendant and his/her loved ones navigate the criminal justice system—often for the first time—in Georgia.

Promoting, Organizing, or Facilitating Reckless Stunt Driving in Georgia

OCGA 16-11-43.1 creates a separate crime for promoters, organizers, or facilitators of stunt driving in Georgia. There are two types of such an offense, under subsection (a) or (b):

Subsection (a) states: “Any person who knowingly promotes or organizes an exhibition of illegal drag racing, in violation of Code Section 40–6–186, or of laying drags, in violation of Code Section 40–6–251, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.”

Subsection (b) states: “Any person who is knowingly present and actively facilitating an exhibition of illegal drag racing, in violation of Code Section 40–6–186, or of laying drags, in violation of Code Section 40–6–251, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250.00. For purposes of this subsection, active facilitation may be evidenced by using a vehicle to block the portion of the roadway closest to exhibition participants allowing the event to take place.”

Contact the Law Office of Adam D. Brown Today

The Law Office of Adam D. Brown can help you with a reckless stunt driving charge or any other traffic offense or criminal offense in Gwinnett County. Contact us to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Call us at 404-883-8893 or contact us directly online.

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