In a recent case that came down dealing with the issue of a charge for careless driving in the municipal court, the Supreme Court made clear that the judge should have very good reasons for considering either imposing a license suspension or jail time. The judge must consider the following factors:

1.  Was the defendant’s conduct enough to pose a high risk of danger to the public;

2.  The defendant’s driving record;

3.  Whether the defendant’s past driving record suggests a substantial risk that he or she will commit another violation;

4.  Whether the defendant’s character and attitude indicate whether he or she is likely to commit another violation;

5.  Whether the defendant’s conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur;

6.  Whether a license suspension would cause excessive hardship to the defendant or his or her dependents; and

7.  The need for personal deterrence.

It is a rare case that under only a charge of careless or reckless driving, the court will suspend a license; it is even rarer that jail time will be imposed. The Supreme Court dealt with this issue in State v. Palma.

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