How to beat a Reckless Driving charge involving CVC 23103:
CVC 23103 is California’s Reckless Driving charge and involves mandatory jail-time for a person convicted under it. Like any crime, fighting a CVC 23103 charge takes knowledge of the law and knowledge of the defenses that work.
To figure out how to beat a CVC 23103 charge, its important to look at what the vehicle code actually says:
California Vehicle Code 23103:
As you can see, CVC 23103 can occur in an off-street public parking area (under subsection ‘b’) or on a public roadway or highway (under subsection ‘a’). The punishments for violating CVC 23103 are harsh, as spelled out in subsection ‘c’.
CVC 23103 Punishment: Jail-time and loss of Driver’s license:
A conviction for violating CVC 23103 involves mandatory jail-time: of no less than 5 days in the county jail. The good news is a crime involving county jail time can be expunged under PC1204.3. (Expungement is not available for state prison offenses.) The bad news is the person convicted of the charge will spend the time in a county jail.
Loss of Driver’s License
A person convicted of Reckless Driving can also face Driver’s Licesne suspension if the DMV determines, based on their driving record, that they are a negligent operator with a driving history that shows a license suspension is warranted. A loss of license occurs following a DMV hearing.
Defenses that work in CVC 23103 cases:
The central, defining feature of a CVC 23103 charge is that the person’s driving is “reckless,” meaning it is so dangerous that the person can be said to have acted with “wanton disregard” for the safety of those on the road. Therefore, a defense to a charge for CVC 23103 has to show that the conduct of the driver may have been stupid, or dangerous, but not to such a high level that it shows a reckless disregard for others’ safety.
Some examples of “wanton disregard” include:
-Driving 75mph through a school zone.
-Driving 125mph on a wet highway with moderate traffic, weaving between cars.
-Passing cars on a road where “no-passing” is designated where a person cannot see on-coming traffic because of hills or road obstructions.
Examples of behavior that, while dangerous, doesn’t exhibit a “wanton, reckless disregard” for safety:
-Driving 75mph through a school zone when school is not in session
-Driving 20mph over the posted speed limit when no other cars are around
Other defenses that work:
-Emergency Situation requiring the driver to drive very fast
-Conditions on the road are not like the police officer describes them in his report
-The driver involved is an expert driver and was capable of safely driving in the manner he or she was found to be driving
Other considerations for CVC 23103 Reckless Driving Defense:
CVC 23103 is a misdemeanor invovling jail-time for the accused. Consequently, the defendant has the right to a jury trial under Article 1 Section 6 of the California Constitution. This right is an important right and can be useful for the accused to assert. The California court system is crowded and has too many cases as it is…. a person asserting their right to a jury-trial can “jam” the system and push prosecutors (and sometimes judges) to accept a plea to a lesser offense that, while still involving punishment, will not involve mandatory county jail time.
Therefore, it is very important to consult with an attorney who handles criminal defense matters and understands this strategy.