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42-4-1402

Careless Driving — Penalty

Careless driving is defined by Colorado law as operating a motor vehicle without due care regarding the surrounding road conditions. under CRS 42-4-1402. Depending on if there were injuries involved, careless driving can be a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic charge.

Let’s face it. Life happens.

No one wants to get in trouble, but when it happens, what do you do?

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, the best decision you can make is to
hire a good criminal defense attorney. With the right defense lawyer in your corner, you
will be advised and guided towards the best outcome for your case.

Penalties for Careless Driving

Charge Classification Penalty
Careless driving (where no one was hurt) Class 2 traffic misdemeanor
  • 10 – 90 days jail time
  • $150 – $300 in fines
Careless driving (where injury was inflicted) Class 1 traffic misdemeanor
  • 10 days – 1 year jail time
  • $300 – $1,000 in fines
Careless driving (that resulted in death) Class 1 traffic misdemeanor
  • 10 days – 1 year jail time
  • $300 – $1,000 in fines
(Colo. Rev. Stat. CRS 42-4-1402)

Possible Defenses for Careless Driving in Colorado

It Was a Case of Mistaken Identity

You shouldn’t be found guilty of careless driving if someone else was at the wheel of your vehicle.

You Were Not Driving Carelessly

Depending on your circumstances, a Colorado criminal defense attorney could disprove a claim of careless driving by showing that you operated your car safely under the conditions.

There was No Injury Involved

If you have been charged with careless driving causing injury, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was some sort of bodily injury. Bodily injury has a very specific meaning under Colorado law. A defense attorney may be able to construct a defense around the question of whether or not there was an injury in this case.

The Careless Driving was Not the Proximate Case of Death

If you have been charged with careless driving causing death, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your careless driving was the proximate cause of someone’s death. If there was some other unforeseeable intervening situation related to the death, a defense attorney may be able to construct a defense around that issue.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 42-4-1402

(1) A person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, electric scooter, or low-power scooter in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, is guilty of careless driving. A person convicted of careless driving of a bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or electric scooter is not subject to section 42-2-127.

(2) (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection (2), any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.

(b) If the person’s actions are the proximate cause of bodily injury to another, such person commits a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.

(c) If the person’s actions are the proximate cause of death to another, such person commits a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.

Have You Been Charged or Arrested for Careless Driving in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

The burden of establishing careless driving beyond a reasonable doubt rests with the prosecutor. The distinction between safe and careless driving is sometimes hazy in criminal situations. By demonstrating that you were driving your automobile safely under the circumstances, your Colorado criminal defense attorney may be able to  refute an allegation of careless driving.

The criminal defense attorneys at Right Law Group have a wealth of experience in criminal defense. We are skilled in navigating the complex legal system and presenting the best possible evidence to a judge or jury. If you are in El Paso or Colorado Springs, please call or stop by our offices for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distinguishes reckless driving from careless driving?

Under Colorado criminal law, driving carelessly entails carelessness and inattention. Contrarily, reckless driving entails a deliberate disregard for the safety of persons or property. A conviction for reckless driving carries harsher sanctions than a careless driving conviction.

Are there other penalties I should know about?

A conviction for careless driving carries additional consequences in addition to fines and prison time, including 4 points applied to your driving record, and possibly compensating any victims who were injured.

Does careless driving apply to vehicles that aren't cars?

Yes. CRS 42-4-1402 includes a car, van, truck, tractor-trailer, electric bicycle, and scooter