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Feeling the Wind in Your Hair May Put Handcuffs on Your Wrists

As the Crossroads of America, Indiana is a state with a particular bent towards open roads and driving. Many times, individuals may exceed the posted speed limit and may receive a traffic citation for that infraction. But, when does simply driving too fast become a crime?

In Crussell v. State of Indiana, 16A01-1407-CR-304, the defendant was stopped by police for driving 91 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone. It was 10:30 p.m., in the dark of night, and on a portion of back country road in Decatur County that had houses and cross streets. There was light traffic, but the roads were otherwise clear and straight. The defendant argued that simply traveling 36 m.p.h. over the speed limit in these circumstances was not reckless. The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed, and sustained the defendant’s conviction. In so doing, the Court of Appeals focused on the nearby houses and cross streets, in combination with the unreasonable high speed, when it concluded that the defendant’s operation of his vehicle endangered other persons or their property. As a result, individuals should be mindful that, while excessive speed alone may not constitute reckless driving, a reviewing court will look at all the surrounding circumstances of the operation of a motor vehicle and sustain a conviction where other people or property may be nearby.

Contact Keffer Barnhart LLP today if you have been accused of a crime. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.