Road rage is a cluster of behaviors that some drivers exhibit when they grow frustrated while on the road. These behaviors include things like tailgating, intimidating other drivers, and speeding.
Road rage accidents are on the rise, with Florida ranking second for the most shootings related to road rage. As you can imagine, a road rage accident involving gunshots will lead to felony charges. What about other kinds of road rage incidents?
If you’re a driver who struggles to remain calm behind the wheel, it’s time to learn about road rage arrest laws in Tampa.
Read on to learn when you can get arrested for road rage and what to do about it.
What Constitutes Road Rage?
As we mentioned earlier, road rage is an umbrella term that encompasses all or some of the following behaviors:
- Gesturing or yelling at other drivers
- Tailgating or racing other drivers
- Excessive honking
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals (e.g., running stop signs or red lights)
Road rage typically impedes surrounding drivers’ ability to drive safely. This is due to both the distraction that road rage can cause and the potential for enraged drivers to target other cars on the road.
Many drivers who experience road rage may have additional mental health or psychological issues in play. However, this does not make these drivers exempt from Florida traffic laws.
Are There Road Rage Laws in Tampa?
There is no law against road rage, specifically. Some behaviors associated with road rage may not lead to traffic violations or accidents. For example, gesturing at another driver may signify that you have road rage, but without the presence of other behaviors, it likely won’t lead to an arrest.
That said, many behaviors associated with road rage are explicitly illegal. For example, drivers can receive a speeding ticket for exceeding 10 mph over the speed limit. Driving over 30 mph above the speed limit will result in a misdemeanor and over 50 will result in a felony charge.
Let’s take a look at a few other situations that could lead to an arrest when a driver exhibits road rage.
Believe it or not, those gestures at another driver could lead to an arrest. Certain forms of harassment, ranging from hand gestures to tailgating, convey that you are targeting another person or threatening to escalate. If an active duty police officer sees this behavior or another driver calls 911 to report the behavior, you may be in trouble.
Some drivers with road rage don’t confine that behavior to their time behind the wheel. It is not unheard of for drivers with road rage to get out of their vehicle to intimidate another driver, damage their property, or cause them harm, which can lead to assault charges. If the assault involved a weapon or an item that could be used as a weapon, they may face the more serious charge of aggravated assault.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Road rage-related shootings are on the rise, indicating that more drivers are carrying deadly weapons. In fact, if you use your car to harm another person (e.g., ramming their vehicle with yours), police may consider your car a deadly weapon. Even if the other driver was left unscathed, you may face the charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
Reckless driving is another umbrella term that encompasses several different behaviors that are often related to road rage. All of these behaviors break Florida traffic laws, but only certain conditions will lead to an arrest. For example, if reckless driving leads to a serious bodily injury to another person on the road, you will face a felony charge.
Legal Consequences of Road Rage
In the event that road rage doesn’t lead to an arrest, you can still receive tickets and points against your driving record. When the driving offense constitutes a misdemeanor or felony, the fines and additional consequences increase.
First-time traffic felonies can lead to an arrest and jail time. A series of misdemeanors can also lead to jail time or the loss of your driver’s license. You may also face a probation period during which additional offenses will have serious consequences.
One key example is the three-in-36-month law. If a driver’s behavior leads to an accident that causes serious bodily harm or fatalities followed by a second and third accident within 36 months, that driver will have 90 days to complete a driver improvement course. Failure to do so within 90 days will lead to the state revoking the driver’s license until the course is completed.
What to Do After a Road Rage Arrest
If you were arrested for road rage, the first thing you should do is hire an experienced traffic law defense attorney. You will need to attend a trial to review the facts of your case. During this trial, the judge will determine the penalties and consequences you will face.
An experienced attorney can help to reduce your charges. This can include reduced fines, reduced jail time, and more.
It is crucial that you cooperate with both the police and the judge, showing up to all court dates and behaving in a calm manner. An attorney can prepare you for your court dates and represent your defense. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of Tampa traffic laws and case precedents, the RHINO Lawyers can put together a strong defense that most drivers cannot achieve on their own.
Tampa Road Rage Traffic Incidents
Road rage does not constitute one illegal type of driving but instead refers to a variety of behaviors, many of which violate Florida traffic laws. In the worst-case scenario, these behaviors can lead to a road rage arrest in Tampa. If you’re facing legal repercussions after getting angry on the road, it’s time to talk to an experienced lawyer.
RHINO Lawyers have decades of behavior defending Tampa residents in court, including after serious traffic offenses. We start our clients off with a free case review to determine the best course of action. Contact us today to get started.
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