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Reckless Driving: New York VTL 1212

Although some police officers, such as those with the NYPD, are often kind enough to issue a pink summons alleging a violation of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law as it relates to Reckless Driving, it is critical to recognize that whether you are fingerprinted, thrown in jail, given a Desk Appearance Ticket or handed a pink summons, VTL 1212 is a crime. In fact, Reckless Driving is a misdemeanor offense and by no means just a small traffic infraction.

If you are convicted of violating VTL 1212, Reckless Driving, will you just have to deal with points or maybe a small fine? You should have no misgivings and consult with a criminal lawyer and Reckless Driving attorney. Not only can a judge sentence you to thirty days in jail, but even when you get out of custody your case won’t be over. Simply, New York has no expungement laws. A criminal conviction – “big” or “small”, with jail or not – is forever. To pile onto your misery, VTL 510-2(iv) allows for a revocation of your license to drive in the State of New York.

Reckless Driving: Understanding the Crime of VTL 1212

Clearly, the above demonstrates that although Reckless Driving is a crime of the Vehicle and Traffic Law in lieu of the Penal Law, NY VTL 1212 is, you guessed it, still a crime. Setting aside the fact that you could be fined as much as $300 and slapped with five points to your license as a first-time offender, if you have a CDL, a commercial drivers license, there are potential enhanced penalties.

First-time offender or not, according to VTL 1212, you are guilty of Reckless Driving if you are driving any vehicle, including a motorcycle, and unreasonably endanger users of the public highway or unreasonably interfere with the free and proper use of the same.

Reckless Driving: Relevant Factors and Possible Defenses to VTL 1212

Because merely driving fast is likely not legally reckless (defined as consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk of a particular result to such a degree as it reflects a disregard of that risk and a gross deviation from a reasonable person’s standard of conduct), it is incumbent that the police demonstrate on a summons or the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were not merely negligent or careless.

Because each and every case is examined within the four corners of the criminal complaint or summons, and then later on if and when there is a trial, there are factors that your criminal lawyer should review and examine both at your arraignment when you first see a judge as well as throughout the criminal process. In addition to speeding, for example, did pedestrians jump out of the way? Did you run multiple red lights or drive down a one way street into oncoming traffic? Simply, beyond allegedly driving at an excessive speed, what else if anything did you do? As demonstrated in People v. Buglin, 29 Misc3d 286 (Bronx County 2010), an accused was not driving recklessly in violation of VTL 1212 when the evidence failed to establish any danger to pedestrians or other drivers even though the defendant was speeding and ran both a stop sign and red light.

Likely an aggregate of factors establishing Reckless Driving, it is of great import that you and your vehicular crimes lawyer examine all available evidence and prepare to challenge the accusations. As reflected in People v. Goldblatt, 98 AD3d 817 (3rd Dept. 2012), “the presence of additional aggravating acts or circumstances beyond a single violation of a rule of the road” is required before a court’s finding that you violated VTL 1212.

At bottom, your clean criminal record and driving record should not be subject to overly zealous prosecutions and accusations of driving recklessly. Even if you perhaps should have been more careful or respectful, a criminal act was not necessarily committed. Save yourself from a permanent criminal mark, increased insurance premiums, fines and the possibility of just one day in jail. Because there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law.

Call our New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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