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Traffic Tickets

What does careless operation of a vehicle mean in Louisiana

Careless operation is a very common traffic ticket in Louisiana, but what does it mean?

The state law outlining careless operation of a vehicle in Louisiana is purposely vague, simply stating that any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”

“Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation,” the law continues.

So, what constitutes careless operation? It could mean anything from swerving in and out of traffic lanes to rear-ending another vehicle because you didn’t brake in time. Often, police will issue a careless operation ticket if they believe you’re at fault in a traffic accident.

What are possible penalties for a careless operation ticket?

The fines for careless operation of a vehicle vary from parish to parish, but in most parishes, they’re quite costly. If you get a careless operation ticket in the city of New Orleans, the fine will be a $252.50. In Slidell, north of Lake Pontchartrain, the fine is $367.50.

That’s in addition to the likely increase in insurance premiums, plus it will go against your driving record.

If you want to avoid paying the hefty fine or avoid having to spend several hours in traffic court fighting the ticket yourself, you should consider hiring an experienced traffic attorney at Crescent City Law Firm to fight the ticket for you.

Is there a difference between careless operation and reckless operation in Louisiana?

There is a big difference between a careless operation citation and a ticket for reckless operation. Reckless operation, according to Louisiana law, is the “operation of any motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance in a criminally negligent or reckless manner.”

  • The distinction between careless operation and reckless operation has to do with the driver’s state of mind, whether he or she was being willfully reckless and driving in a way that he or she knew could endanger the lives of others.
  • A reckless operation ticket in Louisiana can mean hundreds of dollars in fines and/or up to 90 days in jail for a first offense.
  • Reckless operation is considered a misdemeanor offense in Louisiana.
  • In New Orleans, you must appear in court if you are issued a reckless driving citation. You cannot simply pay the fine.

An experienced traffic attorney can work on your behalf to get the careless operation ticket reduced to a non-moving violation — or have it dismissed altogether.

If you received a careless operation ticket in Orleans, Jefferson or St. Charles parishes, contact Crescent City Law Firm today, for a FREE CONSULTATION, to go over your options and see how to best handle your ticket.

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