Reckless Driving in New York

Definition of reckless driving

According to §1212 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Code, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that involves driving a motor vehicle  in a manner that interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway or unreasonably endangers the users of the public highway.

A person who is apprehended for reckless driving is usually issued a ticket.  The ticket is actually a summons or an order to appear before a criminal court at a specified time and date.  This is because a reckless driving charge is criminal in nature.  It is not going to be handled through an administrative hearing.  It is a criminal case for which you need the assistance of a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney.

Penalty for reckless driving

A person apprehended for reckless driving may be penalized with a fine, a surcharge and a possible jail term. The first offense may be penalized with a 30-day jail term a fine of up to $300 and a court surcharge of $85.  A second offense committed within eighteen months will be penalized with a fine of up to $525 and a possible 90-day jail term.  A third offence will be penalized with a fine of up to $1,125 and a potential 180-day jail term. Each count of reckless driving will cause five points to be recorded on your driver’s license. Since 2011, a person who drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may also be charged with aggravated reckless driving which is a Class E felony.

Problems with reckless driving

Any New York Traffic Ticket Attorney will tell you that changing lanes, tailgating, making an improper turn or driving against the flow of traffic may be included in a reckless driving charge.  This is because any behavior that endangers others on the road is considered reckless driving.

In order for a reckless driving charge to stick, the driver must have committed more than one act which shows not just mere negligence or the failure to observe an obligation imposed by law. The driver must have committed aggravating acts that are more than just one violation of a rule of the road. The acts must rise to a level of endangerment. For example, when a driver suddenly changes lanes, it is only a traffic violation. If the sudden changing of lanes is due to the driver being under the influence of drugs, his behavior includes two acts that endanger others on the road. In this instance, the driver committed a traffic violation as well as a criminal misdemeanor of driving under the influence of drugs—this is reckless driving.

Effects of reckless driving

The fines for reckless driving are certainly high and something to be worried about.  The possible jail time, if found guilty, is something to be nervous about. The five penalty points recorded against his driver’s license can also make a driver anxious. However, what should make the driver afraid when he faces a reckless driving charge is the fact that if he or she is found guilty, the conviction will constitute part of his permanent criminal record. It is best for the driver to consult a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney.

Maxwell Law Firm handles traffic ticket, speeding, red light, reckless driving, seatbelt, stop sign violations. If you have received a speeding ticket in New York, Brooklyn/Kings, Queens, and Nassau Counties you may contact Maxwell Law Firm, PLLC by submitting a request for a quote on our traffic intake form or by calling 718-701-0095.