Reckless Driving, NY VTL 1212, in New York State

Have you been ticketed for reckless driving in New York State? If so, it is a very serious charge. Reckless driving, NY VTL 1212 is not an infraction but a crime. It is an unclassified misdemeanor. It carries 5 DMV points and is a major insurance demerit system violation. A reckless driving conviction results in a permanent criminal history, huge insurance increases, and often times the court will also suspend your license as part of a sentence, or suspend your license pending prosecution.

Under NY VTL 1212, reckless driving is operating a motor vehicle:

“in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers uses of a public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of a public highway.”

However, to fully understand what that means, you have to understand what the culpable mental state of ‘”reckless” means. This is NOT found in the vehicle and traffic law, but in the criminal procedure law. Under CPL 15.05, recklessness requires:

“[being] aware of and consciously disregard[ing] a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

In other words, it take a lot for the government to have a prima facie case of reckless driving against a motorist. Furthermore, in New York there is no such thing as reckless per se. Reckless per se means that an action in and of itself is reckless. For example, in Connecticut speeding 86 MPH or more is reckless driving per se. This means that if caught speeding at a mere 86 in a 65 MPH zone in Connecticut, the cop can either give you a speeding ticket or arrest you for reckless driving. Contrast, in New York a cop cannot arrest you for reckless driving, even if caught speeding at speeds in excess of 100 MPH.

In New York, to prove reckless driving requires not simply proving that the motorist disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk, but that motorists grossly deviated from the standard of conduct a reasonable person would observe. A mere traffic violation, or a series of traffic violations in a single occurrence does not constitute reckless driving.

Many people are charged with reckless driving in New York. However, in the history of our office in representing motorist none of our client have ever been convicted. This is because the quantity and quality of our inventory of legal acumen is of such a degree that our firm knows how to put together an affirmative defense package to defeat the prosecutions case and evidence against our client.

If you have been charged with reckless driving, VTL 1212 in New York, or any other traffic infraction or automobile crime, we know that you may have questions or concerns. If this is the case, pick up the phone and give us a call now. If you want to check us out further, check out testimonials left online by other clients here. We speak to people all day, every day about questions or concerns that they have with tickets they received, and we’d love to talk to you and answer any questions that you may have!