Reckless Driving in New York

If you have been driving long enough, at some point you will likely experience getting pulled over for speeding or some other moving violations. While it is never an enjoyable scenario, things can get even hairier if your illegal driving leads to a charge of reckless driving.  But what does it actually mean under the law to be driving recklessly? What are the penalties? Are there any viable defenses?

It turns out that if you get a ticket for reckless driving, you are potentially in hot water. Common consequences include:

Were you issued a reckless driving ticket in the State of New York? Weiss and Associates, PC can help fight your reckless driving ticket no matter where it was issued in New York. From Upstate and Western New York to NYC and Long Island, our team will aggressively fight your ticket on your behalf. Contact Weiss and Associates, PC  today by using our Free Advice form or call us at 212-683-7373 for immediate assistance.

What is Considered Reckless Driving in New York? 

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212 defines reckless driving as driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle, or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power in any way that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of public highways or unreasonably endangers people using public highways.

While the language of this statute does not specify activities, the following actions may be  considered to be reckless driving:

  • Driving at excessive speed without regard to nearby pedestrians
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign while driving at an excessive speed
  • Crossing the center line into oncoming traffic
  • Racing with other cars
  • Weaving in and out of traffic at excessive speeds
  • Any other unreasonable conduct that may endanger others

Common Defenses to a Reckless Driving Ticket

Although most New York City traffic ticket hearings are held at the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB), reckless driving charges must be heard at one of the NYC criminal courts. This means that your attorney could try and work out a plea bargain — negotiating with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced to a less serious charge. This is a significant benefit, as it could avoid a criminal conviction, lower the number of points against your driver’s license and possibly lower fines/fees.

In addition to plea bargaining, your attorney would look at all of the circumstances of your case to argue that you were not driving recklessly — such as if there was improper signage, or if the speed limit was blocked by foliage. Your attorney could also verify whether the police officer’s radar gun was properly calibrated.  But all of these tactics require a trial so pursuing a plea bargain result first is strongly advised.

Every case is different, which is why it is crucial to speak with an experienced traffic ticket attorney to determine the best course of action for your case.

Out-of-State Reckless Driving in New York

You can drive in New York with a valid driver’s license from another state. And if you get pulled over for any reason while driving in NY, the state creates an ID number for the out-of-state driver and adds the conviction points to that driver’s record. Whether these points will be honored in the driver’s home state depends on the driver’s jurisdiction. Some of them will assess points against the driver’s license and/or honor a driver’s license suspension.   Regardless of whether this is reciprocity, we recommend that fighting a reckless driving charge to hopefully avoid a criminal conviction.

Reckless Driving with a Commercial Driver’s License

Getting a reckless driving ticket while having a commercial driver’s license (CDL) increases the stakes because in addition to all of the consequences of having a misdemeanor on your record, you are placed in jeopardy of losing your ability to make a living.

For how long your CDL would be suspended depends on whether you have any previous serious traffic violations on your record. In addition to reckless driving, these include:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Speeding 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit
  • Tailgating
  • Traffic offenses involving a fatal accident
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing
  • Leaving the scene of an accident

Depending on the circumstances, your CDL could be suspended between 60 days and one year.

Common Reckless Driving Questions

At what speed is considered reckless driving in New York?

In New York, there is no automatic speed limit that subjects you to reckless driving. Each case is evaluated on its facts.

Is reckless driving a felony or a misdemeanor?

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in New York. However, you should still take it seriously, as it is still a criminal charge. This means that in addition to 5 points being assessed against your driver’s license, substantial fees and penalties, and an increased auto insurance premium, you are also exposed to jail time. This could range between one and three months (or longer), depending on whether it was your first offense or if you are a repeat offender.

How long does a reckless driving conviction stay on your license in New York?

A reckless driving conviction will stay on your driving record for three years for insurance purposes. This is why it is essential to be represented by an experienced attorney, since, in addition to the dire consequences of fighting a reckless driving ticket, if you are pulled over again in the future, having a reckless driving charge already on your record will also significantly increase the consequences of other traffic violations.

At Weiss & Associates, PC, since 1991, we have successfully fought hundreds of reckless driving tickets in New York. And our initial consultation is always free. Contact us today.

What Courts Handle Reckless Driving Tickets In New York City?

Below is a list of courts in New York City which handle reckless driving tickets (also known as pink tickets): You can also find these in this New York Traffic Court Directory

Manhattan (New York) Criminal Court
346 Broadway
New York, NY 10013

New York Midtown Community Court
314 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019

Queens Criminal Court
125-01 Queens Blvd
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Bronx Criminal Court
215 East 161 Street
Bronx, NY 10451

Kings (Brooklyn) Criminal Court
120 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Kings (Brooklyn) Community Court
88-94 Visitation Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Richmond (Staten Island) Criminal Court
26 Central Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10301

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