New York Reckless Driving is a frequently prosecuted charge. It applies to situations where someone’s driving either interferes with someone else’s use of the road or unreasonably endangers users of the public road.
What Are the Elements of New York Reckless Driving Charge?
New York Reckless Driving is codified in Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1212. Under New York Law, a person is guilty of Reckless Driving when he or she:
- Drives or uses a motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle,
- In a manner which unreasonably interferes with free and proper use of the public highway, OR
- Unreasonably endangers users of public highway.
A prosecutor must prove all these elements to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone of this charge.
What Conduct Constitutes Reckless Driving Under New York Law?
The following conduct can constitute Reckless Driving under New York law:
- Driving in well in excess of the posted speed limit;
- Swerving in and out of traffic at high rate of speed;
- U-turning across multiple lanes of traffic and colliding with another vehicle;
- Consuming drugs or alcohol, getting behind the wheel and then committing several traffic infractions.
Which Vehicles are Excluded from Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving does not apply to vehicles that are propelled by muscular power. Therefore, bicycles are excluded from prosecutions for reckless driving. However, drivers of ATVs (all terrain vehicles) can be prosecuted for reckless driving under New York Law.
Is Intoxication Enough to Charge Someone with Reckless Driving?
Proof of intoxication, by itself, is not enough to establish reckless driving. Because one can recklessly drive without being intoxicated and one can be intoxicated and not drive recklessly. However, evidence of intoxication is admissible at trial to prove reckless driving when it is coupled with the evidence of how the vehicle was driven.
What Are the Penalties and Sentencing for New York Reckless Driving?
Reckless Driving is an unclassified misdemeanor. As such, it is punishable by up to 1 year in prison or up to 3 years probation. Most frequently, reckless driving, if it did not result in an accident or injuries to anyone, will be resolved without any jail time.
You may be subject to a fine up to $300. Additionally, New York DMV will add five (5) points to your license and driving record. Your license may also be suspended as a result of the criminal case. Furthermore, a conviction for reckless driving conviction may result in increased car insurance premium.
With all these collateral consequences, as well as a reckless driving arrest potentially resulting in a permanent criminal record, it is absolutely essential you have top-rated criminal defense attorneys by your side.
What is a Good Defense to New York Reckless Driving Charge?
For the prosecutor to convict you of the reckless driving charge, s/he must prove that your conduct rose to the level of reckless. Merely driving negligently is not enough to convict someone of the reckless driving charge. For example, failing to stop at the stop sign or forgetting to signal is not reckless conduct.
A good defense to the New York reckless driving charge is that your conduct was negligent, rather than reckless. Driving poorly is not a crime in itself.
What is the Statute of Limitations for New York Reckless Driving?
As Reckless Driving is an unclassified misdemeanor, this charge has a three year statute of limitations. This means, that unless the statute of limitations is tolled, you cannot be prosecuted for reckless driving more than 3 years after the date of the incident.
Contact Top Rated New York Reckless Driving Attorneys
If you or your loved one have been charged with New York Reckless Driving, you need experienced counsel by your side. Please call us at 212-729-9494 or contact us today for your free initial consultation.