Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: The Truth About New York Reckless Driving

There is a great deal of mis-information on the internet. The first thing on Google that pops up when searching New York Reckless Driving is this:

Which states that in New York, speeding is automatically considered reckless driving once you're 30 mph over the posted limit. Is this really the case in New York State?

If you are 30 mph over the posted limit are you driving recklessly in New York State?

Is that all they need to prove to find you guilty of the criminal misdemeanor of New York Reckless Driving?

Reckless Driving Requires More than One Traffic Violation of Any Type in New York State

New York is an old state, and we still use case law. That means that to understand what is required by a prosecutor to prove a charge, a violation, or a crime they need to have a high level of proof. It's NOT all cut and dried. Now to prove RECKLESS driving . . . It's certainly not just that you were speeding. People v. Goldblatt tells us that very clearly.

Reckless driving involves the presence of additional aggravating acts or circumstances beyond a single violation of a rule of the road (People v Goldblatt, 98 AD3d 817 [3d Dept 2012], lv denied 20 NY3d 932 [2012]).

So what is required to prove reckless driving in New York. Well let's start with this, negligence is NOT recklessness. So being careless which is being negligent does not equal being reckless. Being distracted is NOT reckless either.

Reckless Driving in New York may involve a motor vehicle accident but not necessarily. 

But case law states that just having an accident and a single moving violation is still NOT reckless in and of itself. People v. Grogan tells us that.

... An accusatory instrument (legal paper) charging reckless driving must show more than the defendant's involvement in a motor vehicle accident (People v. Grogan, 260 NY 138 [1932]). Rather, it must demonstrate that the defendant's manner of operation "interferes with or endangers the user of the highway through the failure to exercise reasonable care, reasonable caution or the reasonable foresight of a reasonably prudent and careful person"
To prove reckless driving in New York the district attorney must prove that YOUR DRIVING
interfered with OR endangered other drivers because you acted UN-reasonably without caution or care.

Many factors need to be looked at:

1. Was there drugs or alcohol used by the driver? This in and of itself is merely a factor but the totality of the situation and of course the driving must be focused upon.

2. Was there a serious accident? Were people hurt? Was there a large amount of property damage? Again this is a merely another factor.

3. Finally, what was the driving like? How many moving violations were witnessed or could be inferred post crash?

Reckless driving is decided by a jury who weighs out all the facts of the case. Unless a person accused of reckless operation chooses a bench trial with just a judge.

The TRUE Facts About New York Reckless Driving

  • Reckless Driving is a five (5) point serious moving violation in New York State.
  • Reckless Driving will increase your insurance rates dramatically.
  • Reckless Driving is a criminal misdemeanor, a crime in New York.
  • All criminal convictions remain on your record for a lifetime in New York state as there is NO expungement statute.

Reckless driving can and should be defended against because of the above facts. Do not just plea guilty to any charge without a consultation with a local criminal defense traffic attorney who practices in that area of the state.