What is Reckless Driving in New York

You never want to get a traffic ticket for reckless driving in New York. This is a serious violation that will incur major points on your licence.

According to Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1212:

“Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle … in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”

This is not only bad for your driver’s privileges, it’s incredibly dangerous and embarrassing.

You have to do some serious damage to be charged with reckless driving. Officers must show that you have shown more than “mere negligence” in order to charge you with reckless driving.

The officers must show that you didn’t have a good reason for your driving (such as an emergency), that knew others were in danger, and that you disregarded their safety and the consequences.

What Are Some Real-Life Examples of Reckless Driving?

It often turns out that there is new law in cases of so-called reckless driving. The determination of reckless driving is essentially left up to the discretion of a court in many cases. Here are some actual examples that have constituted reckless driving.

  • Excessive speed combined with changing lanes without a signal and tailing another driver
  • Speeding in the opposite lane
  • Driving the wrong way and failing to attempt to turn around
  • Speeding and crossing the median under the influence of alcohol
  • Breaking a police barricade
  • Failing to stay on the road while speeding
  • Speeding and not slowing down for pedestrians

As you can see, the instances of this type of driving are dramatic and require some serious judgement issues. These are things that no one would normally do. If you have been charged with reckless driving, the whole experience is likely to be quite problematic for you.

What Are the Consequences?

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in the State of New York. You can be fined and jailed for your offense, starting at around $200 including surcharges with 30 days jail time and going up to around $1,200 with 180 days jail time if your third offense is within 18 months.

You will also get five points on your driver’s licence for each infraction. After you get 11 points, your licence is suspended.

After six points, you may be subject to a Driver Responsibility Review.

But you may also be subject to a separate hearing in which your driver’s licence can actually be revoked if you incur even one reckless driving ticket.

Needless to say, the State of New York takes reckless driving very seriously, as it endangers other people’s ability to use the road safely.

How Subjective Is This Law?

Reckless driving law is highly subjective in New York. Officers have a lot of leeway to charge someone with what they may perceive as reckless driving, and courts have a lot of leeway to interpret the law.

It’s important to seek counsel if you have been charged with reckless driving. This is not something you want to navigate by yourself.

Always note that new litigation is frequently introduced after reckless driving cases. People have a lot of concern regarding road safety in this area of the law, and people who are viewed as reckless drivers incur many penalties.

You need a lawyer’s help if you are trying to convince a judge that you weren’t driving recklessly. There is a lot that goes into this law, and several key pieces of the case must be established for a charge to stick.

Don’t try to navigate the rules of evidence and this particular law alone. It is simply not worth the risk. You can lose a lot if you lose your case.

Things To Remember

In New York, you are automatically driving recklessly if you are going 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. New York is sixth in the nation when ranked for how tough each state is on reckless driving.

Jail time isn’t mandatory, but common advice by experts is that people who are convicted of this offense should expect to spend at least one day in jail.

So be aware that if you are charged with reckless driving, you may not get out of it so easily. These are not regular traffic tickets.

Some estimate that premiums go absolutely sky-high after a reckless driving conviction, with increases of up to 42 percent. Avoid this ordeal by driving carefully, but if you do get charged, seek counsel immediately by contacting The Law Office of James Lynch & Associates.

Categories: