Reckless driving involves operating a vehicle with wanton or willful disregard for others’ property or the safety of other people. According to Michigan law, a driver can face reckless driving charges for operating a vehicle in this fashion not only on a highway but in a designated parking area or on a frozen body of water that is open to the public.

Reckless driving in Michigan can incur either felony or misdemeanor charges. The seriousness of the offense depends upon whether any harm has come to anyone else as a result.

Felony penalties

A driver in Michigan can face felony charges of reckless driving if he or she causes death or serious impairment of a body function to another person as a result of the operation of the vehicle. In the former case, the court may require the driver to pay a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000 or serve a prison sentence of 15 years at most.

In the latter case, the driver could spend up to five years in prison or pay a fine of at least $1,000, $5,000 at most. In either case, the court may order immobilization of the vehicle involved, making it temporarily undrivable. Immobilization for reckless driving that causes death or serious injury cannot last more than 180 days.

Misdemeanor penalties

If no death or serious injury resulted from the alleged reckless driving offense, it is a misdemeanor in the eyes of the law. Upon conviction of misdemeanor reckless driving, the operator of the vehicle could pay a $500 fine and/or face incarceration for 93 days at most.

The law does not require vehicle immobilization for an offense of misdemeanor reckless driving. Additionally, a driver will not incur felony charges of reckless driving by merely causing damage to property. The law only imposes felony reckless driving charges when another person comes to harm.