Have you ever been minding your own business behind the wheel when seemingly out of nowhere another driver starts honking and yelling at you? Or perhaps someone did something to really make you mad and you were the one who freaked out on them.
Most people can relate to one or both of these stories. Driving is frequently an emotional experience, and it can be incredibly frustrating to get stuck in a traffic jam or have another driver cut you off or otherwise behave poorly.
Consider this, though: if you get into an accident, or the driver you’re cursing out happens to have a really bad temper, your road rage could get you in a far more “frustrating” situation.
Road-Rage Incident Leads to Attempted Murder Charges
Say another driver on the road has their high beams on in the presence of other cars, or doesn’t have any lights on at all. What do you do? Flashing your lights is a common signal between one driver and another, but a recent story from Lillington shows that it may not be the best idea.
What happened? A driver flashed their lights at 20-year-old Tyree Sharif Newsuan on January 28 in an attempt to get him to dim his lights.
Newsuan did not take the message in stride, though. He turned around, drove alongside the “offending” car, and exchanged heated words with the driver. Eventually, he pulled out his gun and fired it at the other driver, hitting his shoulder.
Newsuan was arrested for the incident and now faces multiple charges, including attempted murder.
That’s just one case among many. Here’s another.
Phone Video Goes Viral, Gets Woman Arrested for Reckless Driving
Most road rage incidents last for a few seconds, without the chance for either driver to properly document the incident. However, if the incident is captured on a cell phone video, the driver involved could get into big trouble.
That’s exactly what happened to Kristin Leigh Phillips. Sherri Hastings, the driver in the other vehicle, recorded a three-minute video of Phillips stopping her vehicle, trying to run Hastings off the road, and eventually confronting Hastings with plenty of profanity. Phillips even tried to punch Hastings, making the child in the back of Hastings’ car burst into tears.
The video was turned over to law enforcement, posted online, and reported by Fox13. Phillips was arrested and charged with assault and battery, communicating threats, and reckless driving.
Penalties for Road Rage-Related Crimes
Criminal charges related to road rage can vary, but often are very serious. Newsuan faces felony charges, and Philips could serve multiple years in prison for the multiple misdemeanor counts against her.
Even if a driver is merely charged with reckless driving, the penalties could have a big impact. Reckless driving convictions come with penalties that may include up to 60 days in jail, $1,000 in fines, and four points on your driver’s license.
Don’t forget that these are just the criminal penalties, too. With a reckless driving conviction on your record, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see your insurance prices go up.
If you haven’t made efforts to control your road rage, now may be the time to start. If you’ve already been charged with reckless driving or other charges due to a road rage incident, that doesn’t mean it’s too late. Contact a North Carolina traffic crimes lawyer to get started on your defense strategy as soon as possible so that you can give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.