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In Ohio, the law uses the terminology “operation in willful and wanton disregard” to define reckless driving. The term encompasses any vehicle operation that disregards ***** ***** of other individuals or property. Individuals can include drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. Property includes both public and private property.
Willful and Wanton are legal terms of art. Willful conduct implies an act done intentionally, designedly, knowingly, or purposely, without justifiable excuse. There must be evidence that the defendant intentionally did something, in the management of his or her automobile, with knowledge that injury to another or to the property of another was probable.
Conversely, a wanton act is an act done in reckless disregard of the rights of others, which evinces a reckless indifference of the consequences to the life, limb, health, reputation, or property of others.Wanton misconduct is a total absence of care and involves positive, perverse action.Similarly, when the operator of a vehicle, with full knowledge of the surrounding circumstances, recklessly and inexcusably disregards ***** ***** of other motorists, his or her conduct may be characterized as wanton.
Examples of what can include reckless driving can be things like failing to yield to the rights of pedestrians, failing to keep a safe distance, or swerving carelessly toward another vehicle.
Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Ohio. Reckless operation is punishable as a minor, fourth or third degree misdemeanor, depending on the number of previous convictions.
- A first offense is a minor misdemeanor in some Ohio cities, which is punishable by a fine up to $150.
- If the alleged offender has been convicted or pleaded guilty to another traffic offense within the preceding one year, the offense is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. This offense is punishable by jail time up to 30 days and/or fines not exceeding $250.
- If the alleged offender has been convicted of two or more traffic offenses within the preceding one year, the offense is a misdemeanor of the third degree. This offense is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or fines up to $500.
Operating a vehicle in Ohio with willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property can result in four points under Ohio’s driving point system. If any driver receives 12 or more points in a two-year period, their license will be suspended under a class D suspension. This class of suspension could result in a suspension of driving privileges for up to six months.
Based on the facts you've provided, I think you need to speak with a local traffic attorney about contesting it. In order to be found guilty, a prosecutor would have to prove you acted in a "willful, wanton" manner while driving. You were driving slowly through a parking lot, especially I am sure, because of the rain soaked conditions. If you drifted, it's not because you were acting willfully, but because of the rain. Not to say that there may not be a moving violation, just that reckless driving doesn't seem to fit the facts here.
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