Reckless Driving

The charge of "reckless driving" is a criminal offense that results in direct criminal consequences announced by the court at sentencing as well as indirect consequences that last long after the case is resolved.

Law enforcement officers, including patrol officers with the City of New York Police Department (NYPD), will often charge the offense of reckless driving when they cannot issue a ticket for a traffic infraction. In other cases, the officer may "over charge" the incident as a crime when a civil infraction for speeding, improper or erratic lane changes or failing to maintain a lane is a more appropriate charge.

Queens Reckless Driving Defense Attorney

Never pay any civil traffic tickets that went along with the reckless driving charge until after you have retained an attorney. Hiring an experienced attorney to represent you on a reckless driving charge in New York City can often help you avoid many of the direct and indirect consequences because an experienced attorney can fight to:

  • reduce or eliminate the points;
  • protect your driver's license;
  • get the charges completely dismissed, or
  • fight to avoid jail time, fines and court costs.

Call or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with Rochelle S. Berliner. With decades of experience in the New York criminal justice system, including time spent working as a prosecutor, Law Office will confidently represent your case. The initial consultation thorough and honest. Contact our law offices today and take the first steps towards clearing your record of a reckless driving charge.

Queens Reckless Driving Information Center

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Who is Our Typical Client Charged with Reckless Driving?

Young people (particularly young men between the ages of 18 - 26) are the most likely drivers to be charged with reckless driving in New York. Law enforcement officers are trained to be on the look-out for young drivers with numerous passengers in the vehicle. A study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found that 16-year-old drivers who were alone in a car were more than twice as likely to have a fatal crash as middle-aged drivers. The most shocking part of the study showed that if passengers were in the vehicle, then the 16-year-old driver was nearly five times as likely to have a fatal crash.

Recently we have noticed a sharp increase in cases involving elderly clients who make a mistake while driving, especially in cases in which a car crash occurred. Many of these cases involve a minor traffic accident or merely careless driving instead of the criminal offense of reckless driving.

Any criminal charge has serious consequences for future educational and employment opportunities, particularly for commercial drivers or individuals who want to acquire a commercial driver's license (CDL) as a part of their employment. An aggressive defense based on experience and thorough preparation often leads to the best results.

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Criminal Consequences of Reckless Driving in Queens, NYC

The direct consequences of a reckless driving conviction include a jail sentence of up to 180 days, and a suspension of your driver's license.

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Indirect or Collateral Consequences of Reckless Driving in Queens, NYC

The indirect consequences of a reckless driving conviction include five points on your driver's license and drastically increased insurance rates if your insurance company finds out about the conviction on the criminal charge. The points become particularly problematic when other infractions were issued at the same time or when the driver already has points on his New York driver's license.

If the New York licensed driver receives more than 6 points, then the driver is required to pay the responsibility assessment fee for up to three years. Additionally, if your license is revoked the 5-8 negative units that come with a reckless driving conviction will make it more difficult to get your driver's license back.

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Impact for Out-of-State Drivers Charged with Reckless Driving in New York

If you are convicted of reckless driving in New York, it will usually be reported to your home state which may have a serious impact on your out-of-state driving record. Often the other state will treat a conviction for reckless driving the same as it would if the conviction had occurred in the home state. Your attorney must carefully review your driving record to come up with a strategy for protecting an out-of-state driver charged with reckless driving in the State of New York.

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Reckless Driving with Speeding Ticket in New York

We usually see reckless driving charges where the defendant was also charged with speeding. Combining an 11-point speeding charge (more than 40 miles over the speed limit) with reckless driving adds up to 16 points, which makes suspension likely, and your license may get revoked. Also, the speeding fine can be up to $685 and the 16 points would lead to a DMV assessment of over $1,000, making the total fines and surcharges over $2,000. To top that off, your insurance rates will probably increase dramatically.

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New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law, § 1212 Reckless Driving

Under § 1212 of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), the crime of reckless driving can be charged when a motorist, driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power, operates that motor vehicle in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. Defenses to reckless driving often revolve around the following issues:

  1. whether the driver actually interfered with the proper and free use of the roads;
  2. whether the interference was "unreasonable";
  3. whether the vehicle was a "motor vehicle" which excludes certain electric bicycles;
  4. whether any other person was actually endangered;
  5. whether the officer has probable cause to make the stop to investigate the accusation of driving recklessly;
  6. whether any statements made by the driver should be suppressed if taken in violation of the Miranda warnings; and
  7. whether sufficient evidence exists to support a criminal charge for reckless driving.

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Courts Handling Reckless Driving Cases in New York

The Traffic Violations Bureau for New York City does not deal with Reckless Driving cases because it is a criminal charge. Instead, these criminal cases are decided at the Summons Appearances Parts or in Criminal Court parts at various Criminal Courts in the 5 boroughs.

Queens County Criminal Court - Reckless Driving Ticket
120-55 Queens Blvd.
Kew Gardens, NY 11375 
New York County Criminal Court for Manhattan - Reckless Driving Ticket
346 Broadway
New York, NY 10013 
New York Midtown Community Court - Reckless Driving Ticket
314 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019 
Kings County Criminal Court in Brooklyn - Reckless Driving Ticket
120 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 
Brooklyn Community Court for Kings County - Reckless Driving Ticket
88-94 Visitation Place
Red Hook, NY 11201 
Bronx County Criminal Court - Reckless Driving Ticket
215 East 161 St.
Bronx, NY 10451 
Richmond Criminal Court for Staten Island - Reckless Driving Ticket
67 Targee Street
Staten Island, NY 10301

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Reckless Driving Resources

New York's Times Article on Urging Teenagers to Rein in Careless and Reckless Driving - This news article cities studies showing that as the number of teenage passengers in a vehicle increases, so does the likelihood that a deadly or fatal crash will occur. The article highlights public service television ads from highway safety specialists aimed at reducing reckless driving incidents among minors or teenagers.

National Transportation Safety Board - This website contains solutions proposed by the National Transportation Safety Board to encourage states to limit the number of passengers allowed in the car when the driver is under 21 years old. The NTSB also encourages states to enact "zero tolerance" rules for drunken driving by young people under the age of 21 and an extremely low legal limit of .02 to .07.

Reckless Driving Casualties Rising as NYPD Enforcement Lags - This report on suggests that Mayor Bloomberg should establish a task force to focus on dangerous drivers in New York City in order to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on city streets. It discusses a suggested remedy of the NYPD allowing Traffic Enforcement Agents to issue a summons for moving violations in New York City.

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Law Office | New York Reckless Driving Lawyer/h3>

If you or a loved one was charged with the misdemeanor offense of reckless driving, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney right away. Rochelle S. Berliner represents clients in the five boroughs of New York, including Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island.

You can receive a complete evaluation of your case by calling or submitting an online form to schedule a free consultation.