New York Reckless Driving Lawyer

Police officers in New York are on the lookout and charging motorists with reckless driving. In fact, New Traffic Ticket Lawyer Matthew Weiss believes that, in New York City, “more reckless driving tickets per capita are issued than anywhere else in the United States”.  Reckless driving is a criminal offense that is outlined in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) § 1212. The law states that it is unlawful for a motorist to drive any automobile, motorcycle or any other motorized vehicle in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free use of the public road or unreasonably endangers users of the public road.

What Are The Penalties For A Reckless Driving Charge In New York?

Being convicted of reckless driving will result in a misdemeanor and a permanent criminal record in New York which cannot be sealed or expunged (unless committed by a juvenile). Since reckless driving is a criminal charge, judges do have the authority to impose a jail sentence of up to 30 days for a first offense (although it is rare for first offenders). A conviction under § 1212 for a first offense will result in a $100 to $300 fine and an $85 court surcharge, as well as five points that will be assessed against your New York driver’s license (or your privilege to drive in New York with an out-of-state license).   For a second conviction within 18 months, the fine ranges from $100 to $525, and potentially up to 90 days in jail.  And for a third conviction within 18 months, the fine ranges from $100 to $1,125 and potentially up to 180 days in jail.

Reckless driving is a serious offense and can have a dramatic impact on your current auto insurance rates.  In addition, if you accumulate 6 or more points in the state of New York within an 18 month period you can pay an additional state surcharge known as the DMV Driver Responsibility Assessment (6 points = $100/year for 3 years).  In New York if you are found to have accumulated 11 points within an 18 month period than your driving privilege can be suspended.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving In New York?

The statute for reckless driving is rather broad and acts as a ‘catch-all’ phrase to cover any type of driving behavior that may endanger someone else on the road.  Often we see motorist charged with reckless driving when they have only committed a simple traffic violation.  For instance, as a Reckless Driving Lawyer, I recently consulted with a motorist that tried to avoid a car that was quickly leaving a parking space in New York. The motorist realized the parked car did not see him and quickly moved his car in the next lane over without signaling. To the motorist it was clear that he was trying to avoid a car accident, however, a police officer that witnessed this incident charged the motorist with reckless driving.

Reckless driving can cover any type of driving behavior from speeding, unsafe lane changes, tailgating and improper turns. This also means that with many reckless driving tickets, motorists are issued a second or third ticket to also cover the basis of the reckless charge. Multiple tickets can add up to a significant accumulation of points on a driving record that can result in a possible suspension and increased insurance rates. One Buffalo DWI Lawyer noted, “Reckless driving can be very harmful to your future in New York, especially if alcohol is involved.”

What Results Can A Reckless Driving Charge Have On My Auto Insurance Rates and License?

Your NY auto insurance rate will likely increase dramatically if you are found guilty of a reckless driving charge. Auto insurance companies review your driving record annually and adjust your insurance premium based on whether you are evaluated to be an at-risk driver. Equally important is the risk of having your driving privileges suspended because of a reckless driving conviction and any other accompanying violation.

If you have a New York reckless driving ticket, call Matthew Weiss of Weiss & Associates, PC, 440 Park Avenue South, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10016 (212) 683-7373 or email him at

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