Following Too Closely

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New York VTL § 1129 Following too closely Defense Lawyer

Have you been charged with VTL § 1129, Following Too Closely in New York?

Our New York following too closely traffic court lawyers can represent you when you have been charged with following too closely. Our lawyers can represent you anywhere in New York State. Following too closely is 4 points and a popular violation of troopers and local police alike. We have extensive experience in defending following too closely tickets, NY VTL § 1129. If cited for following too closely call our firm and speak to a NY lawyer for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

New York VTL § 1129 proscribes that a motorist not follow another vehicle more closely than what is “reasonable and prudent.” In determining how far to follow another vehicle, the motorist must take into consideration that speed, traffic, and condition of the highway. There are special rules for truckers, in that they must, when following another truck or passenger vehicle, leave enough space so that an passing vehicle can enter and occupy the space without danger. See, VTL § 1129(b).

Defenses to NY VTL § 1129 following too close

The charge of following too close, VTL § 1129, is the ultimate opinion case. Who is to say that a vehicle was following at an unsafe distance unless there was an accident and the charged motorist struck another in the rear. Even then, unless the officer witnessed the accident it is improper to charge the infraction, as an officer must witness the infraction in order to charge it.

Nor can a court apply a “rule of thumb” standard, as the trial court in People v. Heid, 50 Misc.2d 409 (Westchester County Court 1966) found out. In Heid the county court over ruled the Scarsdale Village Court’s finding of guilty to the charge of VTL any sign that a motorist is charged with disobeying must be in proper position and sufficiency § 1129. Trial evidence indicated that the distance between Heid’s vehicle and the vehicle in front of Heid, at speeds up to 30 MPH, was less than 1 car length. The trial court applied a “rule of thumb” that 1 car length for every 10 MPH was a safe distance, and found Heid guilty as charged. In its rebuke of the trial court, the appellate court held that:

“The statute itself makes no reference to the rule of thumb…The expression ‘reasonable and prudent’…allows for flexibility…[a] rule of thumb would…provide for the improper spacing of vehicles…Indeed there is some indication that the police officer himself could have violated that rule of thumb in pursuing this defendant…through this flexibility…the statute maintains its…constitutionality…if it were inflexible, it would… be unconstitutional [because]…it would be unreasonable. Application of a ‘rule of thumb’ dehors the record and without any proof to sustain this judicial observation should not be the basis for a conviction of this defendant. The statute…does not prohibit one following a car closely, but make[s] an unreasonable and improvident operation in close proximity a violation.” Id.

Have you been charged with following too close? We can help. Give us a call today to start your defense.