What is a careless and imprudent driving charge?

Many people do not know that bad driving behaviors can lead to more than just a traffic ticket. In some cases, reckless actions on the road can result in a criminal charge.

Here is what motorists need to know about careless and imprudent driving in Missouri.

What is careless and imprudent driving?

Missouri does not have specific legislation prohibiting reckless driving. Instead, the state has a careless and imprudent driving law, which requires that motorists do the following:

  • Operate their vehicles in a “careful and prudent manner”
  • Maintain a speed that does not put others in danger
  • Demonstrate the “highest degree of care”

Many different actions can fall under the category of careless and imprudent driving, including road rage, speeding, texting, and racing. Because this law is fairly broad and subjective, just about any unsafe behavior on the road could lead to this criminal charge.

What are the potential consequences?

Careless and imprudent driving is a misdemeanor crime with potentially serious consequences. The exact penalties depend on if the reckless behavior resulted in an accident. If there was no collision, the convicted individual could face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. For cases involving an accident, the maximum penalties increase to a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.

Even if a motorist avoids incarceration and a fine, careless and imprudent driving can have far-reaching repercussions. In addition to adding points to the driver’s license, a conviction stays on his or her record for multiple years, leading to increased auto rates and often preventing commercial driving activities.