Reckless Driving and DWI


Reckless Driving in New York

by DWI Lawyer Ramy Louis, Esq. of the Law Office of Lance Fletcher

Reckless driving is a serious offense in New York. It is a crime, which would give you a permanent criminal record, and is punishable by up to one year in jail. It is not a charge to take lightly.

The crime of Reckless Driving is defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1212:

Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof 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 prohibited.

Interestingly, the highest court in New York has ruled that merely speeding is not enough to be found guilty of reckless driving. In People v. Grogan, the New York Court of Appeals said that "mere speed in itself in excess of that allowed by the highway law is not alone sufficient... Reckless driving, therefore, standing by itself means the running or operation of an automobile under such circumstances as to show a reckless disregard of the consequences." 260 N.Y. 138, 144 (1932).

If found guilty, you could face car insurance increases, points on your driver's license, and excessive court fines and jail time. If you've also been charged with DWI / DUI, a reckless driving charge could increase the risk that the criminal court judge sets bail at your arraignment. It could also cause the Assistant District Attorney to take a harsher position with respect to any plea offers. If your DWI case went to trial, the Assistant District Attorney could also argue that your reckless driving was caused by intoxication. If you are facing a DWI with a reckless driving charge in New York, contact us for a case evualuation.