Reckless driving in New York is about more than a driving mistake or a moment of distraction. It involves the willful disregard for the safety of others. As a result, if an officer pulls you over and gives you a pink ticket, it is not a traffic infraction. It is an offense that may result in criminal charges. If convicted, you would have a criminal record.
The New York State Senate, reckless driving occurs when anyone using a motorized vehicle interferes with the proper use of a public roadway or unreasonably endangers individuals nearby.
Reckless driving behaviors
Police officers may consider your behavior reckless driving, but for a conviction, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you purposely disregarded the safety of others. Examples of this behavior include the following:
- Drinking or taking drugs before driving, then committing traffic violations
- Traveling at excessive speeds and going off the road without trying to slow down
- Swerving from one lane to another without using a signal and cutting off other drivers
- Running red lights or stop signs
An officer may cite you for aggressive driving if you exhibit two or more behaviors considered reckless.
Consequences of reckless driving
Depending on your unique situation, you may face up to 30 days in jail, get five points on your driver’s license and up to $300 in fines for a first offense. The penalties increase with each subsequent offense. If convicted, you may have a misdemeanor on your criminal record. This might affect whether you can get financial aid, a mortgage or a car loan. It may also prohibit you from holding certain jobs and prevent you from living where you wish.
Understanding defenses against reckless driving charges is critical to protecting your rights and minimizing the effects on the rest of your life.