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What is reckless driving in Ohio?

Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) laws are easy enough for the average driver to understand. Getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher will result in an arrest. Police can use blood test data to show that the suspect categorically broke the law. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is much more subjective. Witnessing poor behavior behind the wheel may be enough to support an arrest.

To avoid traffic stops, one must understand the rules. What qualifies as reckless driving?

The definition of reckless driving

Ohio’s Title 45 states that “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property” is against the law. This vague description does not name any specific illegal actions which can confuse many drivers. Charges could stem from any of the following behavior:

  • Tailgating
  • Running through a stop sign or a red light
  • Going the wrong way down a one-way street
  • Street racing
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Excessive speeding

The consequences depend on the situation

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Ohio. Punishments largely depend on the severity of each situation and how many times the driver has committed traffic offenses. First offenses typically result in a fine of $150 and no jail time. But second or third offenses shortly after a first offense could mean a loss of license, a fine of up to $500, and two months in prison.

Charges can stem from many careless actions. Understanding the law and practicing caution behind the wheel can help drivers avoid harsh penalties like jail time for negligent behavior.