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New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212: Reckless Driving

Being accused of reckless driving is different from receiving a simple traffic citation. Reckless driving is a criminal offense. This means that if you are convicted of reckless driving in addition to having to pay a fine and having points added to your driving record, you could end up in jail and you will have a criminal record. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212, you could be charged with reckless driving if you:

  1. Drive in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or
  2. Drive in a manner that unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.

In order to be convicted of reckless driving, you must have been more than negligent in the operation of your vehicle. You must have driven in a manner that showed a reckless disregard for the consequences of your actions.

Example

In People v. Earley, 2014 NY Slip Op 7022 (N.Y. App. Div., 2014) the defendant was convicted of reckless driving as well as several other charges after crossing the center line and colliding into an oncoming vehicle, killing the driver of the other vehicle.

Related Offenses
  1. Vehicular assault in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 120.03
  2. Vehicular assault in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 120.04
  3. Aggravated vehicular assault: New York Penal Code § 120.04-A
  4. Driving while intoxicated: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.3
  5. Driving while ability impaired by drugs: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4
Defenses

In order for you to be convicted of reckless driving, the prosecutor must show that you showed a reckless disregard for the consequences of your actions. This standard is much higher than merely showing that you were negligent. For example, failing to stop at a stop sign may not be considered reckless, while failing stop at a stop sign and driving at a high rate of speed might be. If you can show that your actions were not reckless, you would have a valid defense to a reckless driving charge.

Sentence

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted your sentence could include:

  • Up to 30 days in jail if it is your first offense, up to 90 days for your second offense, up to 180 days for your third offense
  • Revocation of your driving privileges
  • A fine of up to $300 if it is your first offense, up to $525 for your second offense, up to $1,125 for your third offense
  • A fee of $93
  • 5 points on your driving record
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212: Reckless Driving

Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. Every person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though reckless driving is a misdemeanor and not a felony, the possible consequences are significant. In addition to being required to pay a substantial fine and fees, you may also have to spend several weeks in jail. You will also end up with a permanent criminal record. Furthermore, points will be added to your driving record resulting in increased insurance rates and the possible suspension of your driving privileges. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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