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Reckless Driving

Reckless driving, codified at New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1212, occurs when someone drives in a way that infringes on people’s right to use the road freely, or improperly creates a dangerous condition on the road. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in New York, for which the maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $300.00 fine. Probation may also be imposed for up to a year.

If you or someone you know has been accused of reckless driving call our experienced New York traffic attorneys today. Our attorneys have the experience to successfully fight your New York reckless driving ticket.

The required intent, to be convicted of reckless driving, is one of intentional disregard for the risks involved with driving, and a further disregard for the consequences of said risky behavior. Gross negligence is another authorized state of criminal intent that satisfies that statute. This is confusing because the crime is called reckless driving, not grossly neglectful driving. Yet, conduct that was not sufficient to prosecute criminally negligent homicide was sufficient to prosecute reckless driving.

Acts like fleeing the police and running through police barricades or driving in the wrong lane and hitting the sides of police cars are strong evidence of reckless driving. Driving a motorcycle on the sidewalk and requiring people to jump out of the way also is strong evidence of reckless driving. On the other hand, merely driving through a stop sign does not prove reckless driving. Generally, more than one traffic violation has to be committed simultaneously to constitute reckless driving.

Many different fact patterns have been found to establish reckless driving. Speeding may provide evidence to support a conviction of reckless driving. Speeding more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit has been found to evince reckless driving. Speeding in a manner that risks the health and safety of others also shows conduct that may constitute reckless driving with more facts. Speeding alone does not prove reckless driving without more facts and evidence as to intent. On the other hand, when a car driver was driving at a very high speed on a winding road, fishtailed a number of times, then crashed, the facts supported a conviction of the charge of reckless driving. The evidence required to support a reckless driving conviction must amount to more than proof of just a mistake in judgement or inattention. There must be evidence of the defendant’s failure to behave in the same manner as a reasonably prudent person. Sleeping at the wheel in and of itself is not sufficient to prove reckless driving without evidence that the person accused knew they were drowsy or in danger of falling asleep.

Double jeopardy does not prohibit the prosecution of reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, and driving without a license for the same conduct because the crimes are sufficiently distinct to permit prosecution of all three at once.

In the criminal information charging reckless driving, it is important that the crime be specifically alleged. Because reckless driving is more severe than a mere violation, a misdemeanor, the charges must be specifically alleged in the criminal information.

If you or someone you know has been accused of reckless driving please call our New York traffic lawyers today for a free consultation. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and skill to successfully fight your reckless driving ticket.

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