Traffic Tickets

What to do if you’ve been ticketed for careless operation of a vehicle

Getting a careless operation of a vehicle ticket can be confusing. It seems much more serious than a regular speeding ticket or a failure to signal ticket. So what is careless operation of a vehicle, and what should you do if you get a ticket for it? Read on to find out how a traffic court attorney can help you fight this type of ticket in court.

Definition, examples, and common penalties

Louisiana law defines careless operation of a vehicle as: “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 definition is purposefully vague, so that officers can write this ticket for any number of reasons. These reasons might include:

  • Failing to brake in time to avoid an accident
  • Swerving in and out of traffic 
  • Speeding more than 15 miles over the posted speed limit
  • Causing a traffic accident  

Penalties for a careless operation ticket can vary depending on the parish where you received the ticket. For example, in New Orleans, the fine is $252.50, but in other parishes, the fine goes up to $367.50 (if you cause an accident).

Careless operation vs. reckless operation

But there is a big difference between careless operation and reckless operation of a vehicle. According to Louisiana law, the difference between them stems from 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. As the law states, driving “in a criminally negligent or reckless manner.”

Furthermore, reckless operation carries much heftier penalties in Louisiana, including:

  • Hundreds of dollars in fines and/or up to 90 days in jail for a first offense
  • A court appearance (not just paying the fine)
  • Misdemeanor charge on your criminal record 

In either case, if you received a careless operation ticket or a reckless operation charge, you should contact a traffic court attorney immediately to get the representation you need.

Can I fight my careless operation ticket?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage people to fight these tickets – not just because of the court fees and fines, but also because your insurance premium will go up when your insurance company finds out about your ticket (whether or not you actually caused an accident). The ticket will also be reported to your driving record, which can even affect your credit score.

These are the consequences if you admit your guilt and just pay the fine.

So what’s the alternative? 

Fight your Traffic Ticket! Your first step is to hire an experienced traffic court attorney who will examine your ticket and represent you in traffic court. Remember – the careless operation language in the law is intentionally vague, so your lawyer can use this to your advantage. With their expertise, they’ll be able to pick apart the language of the law and apply them to your case to try to convince the judge to rule in your favor.

Contact our traffic ticket attorneys today

Experience is everything when it comes to these tactics in traffic court. That’s why it’s so important to hire an attorney who has been fighting traffic tickets for years. If you or someone you love has been given a careless operation of a vehicle ticket, give us a call at Crescent City Law Firm to hire our team of traffic ticket experts today.