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Defending a New York Reckless Driving Charge
Are You Facing Recklss Driving Charges, VTL § 1212 in New York State?
Our New York State reckless driving defense lawyers at Palumbo & Associates, PC have extensive experience representing drivers accused of reckless driving under NY V & T Law § 1212, even for cases that involve accidents and injuries. If you have been arrested or charged with reckless driving, call us for a free consultation to find out how we can help.
Does your firm know and understand how to defend a NY reckless driving case?
Yes, we do. We have defended motorists throughout the state of New York in defending against reckless driving charges. One notable case was that of the case of People v. Jackson, 2009 BX 116428 (Bronx Criminal Court 2009). In that case, the motorist had started defending his case himself pro se and had unknowingly waived his discovery and disclosure rights. By the time our office had gotten involved he had already twisted himself into a trial.
We researched the case, researched he law, and fully prepared Mr. Jackson for trial. We prepared a written memorandum to dismiss and, at the commencement of the trial orally moved to dismiss. Oral arguments where heard by the court and at the close of oral arguments all parties (Mr. Jackson, the prosecutor, and the judge) felt it best to enter into a plea bargain rather than seek a decision on the motion and, if the application was denied then go forward with a trial. Our office brokered a deal whereby Mr. Jackson plead guilty to a parking ticket, paid a small fine, and got on with his life.
When is reckless driving in New York?
To understand what reckless driving is in New York, you have to understand what the definition of “reckless” is first. For that, we look to NY Penal L. § 15.05(3):
PL §15.05(3) defines "Recklessly" as follows:
“A person acts recklessly…when he is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation...”
To be found guilty of reckless driving, the state must prove the elements. Under NY VTL § 1212, those elements required that the state prove that the motorist drove in such a way that it “unreasonably interfere[d] with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endanger[ed] users of the public highway.”
How serious is reckless driving in New York?
First off, reckless driving is not a traffic infraction. If you are charged with reckless driving in NY you are charged with a moving violation misdemeanor. If you are found guilty of this charge you will accrue a permanent criminal history which cannot be sealed. This means that anytime an employer does a criminal background check, and anytime someone does a driving history check, this criminal conviction will appear. Reckless driving is also a 5 point moving violation, and also causes a large insurance increase.
What are some examples of reckless driving in NY?
Not all dangerous driving meets the recklessness criteria. Under Sheridan v. Fletcher, 58 NY2nd 466 (1945), the court held that recklessness is more than ordinary negligence or want of ordinary care, but requires a wanton or heedless indifference for the consequences. A mere error in judgment or the fact that a collision occurred does not sustain the charges of reckless driving. See, People v. Sander, 292 NYS 545; see also, excessive speed with nothing more does not sustain the charge of reckless driving. People v. Armlin, 6 NY 2nd 231. Likewise, mere negligence coupled with traffic violations are not enough to sustain the charge of reckless driving. See, People v. Orlofsky, 332 NYS2d 298.
The court found that the motorist’s action was reckless in the case of People v. Muscarnera, 2007 NY Slip Op 27224 (2007) when sworn witness statements alleged that the motorist was (1) traveling with no lights on at night; (2) speeding by; (3) traveling at a high rate of speed; (4) went flying by; and (5) lost control of the vehicle. The court held that driving a motor vehicle in this manner unreasonably interfered with the free and proper use of the public highway and unreasonably endangered users of the public highway.
We can help you if charged with New York reckless driving
If you are charged with reckless driving in New York, the penalties you face are extremely serious, and can include:
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