New York Reckless Driving Ticket Attorneys
What started as a drive around town can quickly become a nightmare if you’re charged with reckless driving in New York. Reckless driving isn’t a simple traffic violation — it’s a criminal charge. The potential consequences reach far beyond a ticket and a fine, and such a case should be handled by a lawyer focusing on New York traffic laws.
Feifer & Greenberg regularly represent drivers with reckless driving cases and our clients are confidently guided through the legal representation process. Our attorneys understand that a criminal charge of reckless driving doesn’t necessarily mean our client did anything wrong or deserved to be charged so seriously and we’re prepared to relay these concerns to the prosecution. If you’re facing a criminal traffic ticket in NY for reckless driving, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.
Defining reckless driving in New York
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law §1212 defines reckless driving as:
|“Driving or using any motor vehicle…in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”
Common reasons for reckless driving in New York
The broad language of §1212 leaves room for various driving behaviors to fall under the category of reckless driving. Often, the independent judgment of a single police officer is all it takes to charge someone with reckless driving, and there are many reasons why a driver may be charged. In some cases, it might just be an officer who isn’t familiar enough with the individual traffic violations so a decision is made to just write a general reckless driving ticket which unfortunately is a more serious offense.
Unlike some states, New York doesn’t specify a threshold where speeding becomes reckless driving. Instead, a police officer may issue a reckless driving charge if they believe the speeding meets the legal definition of recklessness.
Aggressive driving is characterized by hostile, pushy, or overly bold driving habits. This encompasses a variety of behaviors that may be charged as reckless driving, including swerving in and out of traffic, tailgating, honking, flashing headlights excessively, and cutting off other drivers.
New York has strict laws against racing and a violation can be considered reckless driving in addition to an independent charge of racing.
Passing a school bus
Passing a school bus when its stop sign and flashing lights are activated is illegal in New York. This offense is separate from reckless driving, but a police officer may also issue a reckless driving charge if they believe the circumstances warrant it.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can easily result in reckless driving behaviors due to impaired judgment and reflexes. If a police officer believes that someone is driving while intoxicated, they may charge them with both reckless driving and DWI.
Penalties for reckless driving in New York
Individuals convicted of reckless driving in New York are subject to a misdemeanor conviction. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense — not a simple traffic infraction — and brings a variety of potential penalties.
A reckless driving conviction will create a lasting criminal record. This can impact employment, ability to rent or purchase, ability to obtain certain licenses or immigration status, etc. There is a wide range of potential consequences from having a criminal record.
Fines and surcharges
If you’re convicted of a first-time reckless driving offense, you’ll be ordered to pay a fine of up to $300, plus an additional state surcharge of up to $93. The maximum fine increases to $525 for a second offense and $1,125 for a third offense.
License suspension or revocation
A reckless driving conviction could ultimately contribute to the state suspending or revoking your driving privileges. The possibility of such a penalty and the length of a license suspension or revocation depends on various factors such as your driving history.
The New York State DMV assigns “points” to drivers’ licenses for certain traffic violations. A conviction of reckless driving in New York will add five (5) points to your driver’s license. 11 points in an 18-month period can result in a license suspension.
People convicted of reckless driving often see a substantial increase in their auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies can see the convictions on your driver license and would certainly take note of any behavior deemed reckless.
Impact on immigration status
While it’s not a deportable offense, a reckless driving incident — even one that doesn’t result in a conviction — can negatively impact an immigrant’s application for permanent residency.
Applicants are asked whether they’ve been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, so a reckless driving conviction must be disclosed. This can make it more difficult to achieve your immigration goals and maintain your status.
Possible jail time
In some cases, a reckless driving conviction may be punishable by jail time. First-time offenders can face up to 30 days in jail, while second or third offenders may face up to 90 or 180 days in jail, respectively. Incarceration is typically reserved for more serious cases, such as those resulting in bodily injury or extensive property damage, but is a possibility nonetheless.
Importance of hiring a New York reckless driving ticket attorney
Some people underestimate the gravity of a reckless driving charge and attempt to handle it independently. While it may work out for some this can also be a mistake. Most courts would prefer an attorney to represent you and feel more comfortable knowing the defendant understands the charge and can competently handle the case. An attorney who regularly handles these matters would maximize your chances for a successful outcome.
Your fate isn’t sealed when you are charged criminally and don’t need to accept these charges. There are often a variety of arguments that can be made in reckless driving cases. In many cases, reducing the charges to something significantly less severe will be possible.
Why hire Feifer & Greenberg?
Whether you’re up against a reckless driving charge or handling any legal issue in general, experience matters. The vehicle and traffic attorneys at Feifer & Greenberg have been representing New Yorkers faced with driving-related offenses for over 25 years. With thousands of traffic violations and related criminal matters successfully handled you can trust that we have what it takes to help advise you and guide you towards the best possible outcome. Our fees will always be low, fair, and flat fees.
Our New York reckless driving ticket lawyers are ready to help
Our attorneys understand the subjective nature of New York’s reckless driving law and are often able to communicate our concerns to the District Attorney. We aim to minimize any potential damage a charge like this could cause. We will fight to avoid any criminal convictions and, because significant points are involved, fight to avoid those. For our clients, this can mean the difference between a crushing conviction and an outcome that allows them to move forward with minimal to no damages.
Start with a free consultation with Feifer & Greenberg. Call us at (888) 842-5384 to discuss how we can help.