Reckless vs. Careless Driving DUI Michigan

If you have been charged with impaired or intoxicated driving in Michigan, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction in charges through plea bargaining. For instance, an experienced Michigan DUI attorney may be able to negotiate an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge down to operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), depending on the circumstances of the case. In other cases, it may even be possible to have the charge reduced to a traffic offense such as reckless or careless driving.

What Is the Difference Between Reckless and Careless Driving?

Although the terms sound similar, there is a big difference between reckless and careless driving.

  • Reckless driving is a criminal offense, punishable by a fine and potential jail time
  • Careless driving is considered a civil infraction, meaning there is no associated jail time and it will not be reported on your criminal record

As you can see, careless driving is the lesser of these two charges. Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor, and a conviction of this charge will appear on your criminal record. However, it is highly preferable over an impaired or intoxicated driving conviction, as a reckless driving conviction cannot be used to elevate a second or subsequent drunk driving charge.