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What is Reckless Driving in New York?

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What is Reckless Driving in New York?

What’s the difference between speeding and reckless driving? And what happens when you’re charged with reckless driving?
 
Here’s what you need to know.

Reckless driving has no hard definition.

 
Have you heard people say, “it’s not reckless driving until you’re doing 20 mph over the speed limit?” That’s not strictly true.
 
An officer could charge you with reckless driving even if you were only doing 15 mph over the speed limit. Or 10. The criteria isn’t a specific speed, but whether you’re “unreasonably endangering” the other people who are on the road. In court, the prosecution would have to show no reasonable person would drive the way you were driving.
 
Excessive speed on the Interstate may only produce a speeding ticket. People often speed on the Interstate, everyone’s going the same direction, and sometimes you have no choice but to go with the flow of traffic.
 
By contrast, going 15 mph over the limit in a residential neighborhood where a child could pop out of a yard at any moment could easily be considered reckless.
 

Reckless driving makes a mess of your driving record.

 
Each charge is worth 5 points on your license. It only takes 6 points for the DMV to require a “Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee” before allowing you back on the road. This means you’re taking an annual assessment for the next three years at $100 a year, plus $25 for each point over six.
 
And every point on your driver’s license skyrockets your insurance rates. Of course, this may not matter as you may find your driving privileges revoked after a reckless driving conviction.
 
 

Reckless driving is a criminal offense.

 
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense capable of causing you a great deal of trouble.
 
Even your first offense could result in up to 30 days of jail time. For most people, one month in jail is more than enough to lose a job and housing. The judge may also levy a fine of up to $300.
 
On the second offense you could be put in jail for up to 90 days, and on the third, for up to 180 days. The fines get pretty steep too; by the time you’ve committed a third offense you could be fined up to $1,125. Usually there are other fines and fees to contend with as well.
 
Being convicted of reckless driving generates a criminal record, which can be life-changing. Not only might you lose your job or your housing, but you could find it harder to secure these things after you get out.
 
 

Reckless driving charges can be added to other charges.

 
A police officer could charge you with reckless driving and speeding. Or with reckless driving and a DWI or DUI. Prosecutors often like to stack charges, because it makes it easier to make sure something “sticks.”
 
This can make your case even more complicated.
 
 
Don’t let one bad driving incident change your life. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, take the charge seriously. Make sure you have a dedicated traffic lawyer on your side who knows how to fight these charges.
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