Reckless driving is among the most serious traffic offenses in the state of New York. This is because it is considered to be a misdemeanor charge as opposed to an infraction. Therefore, you could have a criminal record if you are convicted of the offense. Fortunately, a New York City criminal lawyer may be able to help you obtain a plea bargain or have your case thrown out entirely.
What Does the Law Say About Reckless Driving?
There are two ways in which a person can be charged with reckless driving. First, if a police officer may determine that a driver is operating a vehicle in a manner that interferes with the free use of the road. Second, a driver could face this charge if he or she is driving in a manner that puts others on the road at an unreasonable risk of harm.
What Are Some Examples of Reckless Driving?
Let’s say that a driver was using an expressway to get from New York City to Albany. That expressway would have lanes specifically for drivers who are driving northbound on that highway. Those who were driving south from Albany to New York City would have their own designated section of the highway.
Drivers who decide to drive northbound on the southbound lanes would put other drivers at a heightened risk of harm. This is because there may be little time to react while driving at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Poor road conditions or lack of sunlight may also make it harder for other drivers to see a driver going the wrong way before it is too late.
Another example of reckless driving would involve a driver who is impaired on drugs or alcohol. He or she may be swerving between different lanes or failing to stop at red lights. This could increase the risk of an accident for all drivers on the road with that impaired person. It could also increase the risk of injury to any person who is riding in a vehicle involved in an accident.
What Are Some Possible Defenses to the Charge?
To win a reckless driving case, a prosecutor must show that a person’s actions were willful and without regard for the safety of others. For instance, running a red light may be negligent, but it may not be reckless if a driver wasn’t impaired or going through the light at a high rate of speed.
What Are the Possible Penalties for a Conviction on This Charge?
In the state of New York, a driver may be have points added to his or her license as a result of a conviction for reckless driving. Drivers may also have to pay a fine in addition to spending time in jail. The presence of a traffic ticket and a criminal conviction may cause a driver’s insurance rates to go up.
What Effect Does a Criminal Record Have on an Individual?
Those who have a criminal record may find that it is harder to get a job or get into school. As a person with a reckless driving conviction may also have their license temporarily suspended or revoked, he or she may be forced to use public transportation or ask friends of family members for rides.
Those who are charged with reckless driving may benefit from talking to an attorney. It may be possible to avoid jail time or receive a reduced fine as part of a plea bargain. In some cases, the charge may be reduced to prevent a driver from having a criminal record.