According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1212, Reckless Driving is more than a mere traffic infraction, it is a misdemeanor offense. If an individual is convicted of Reckless Driving it will go on his/her criminal record.
Reckless Driving is defined as “driving or using any motor vehicle … in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”
An individual can be pulled over if he/she drives in a way that unreasonably interferes with the use of the road OR he/she drives in a way that endangers users of the road.
Specific actions that have supported a conviction for Reckless Driving include excessive speed, speeding and traveling in the wrong lane, speeding and driving off the road, speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians, driving across a median of a road and running through a police barricade. This list is not exclusive and because Reckless Driving is defined so broadly many different actions may qualify and courts largely deal with it on a case by case basis.
The penalties for a Reckless Driving conviction increase with multiple convictions. For a first offense the fine ranges from $100-$300 and the individual faces up to 30 days in jail. For a second conviction within an 18 month period the fine ranges from $100-$525 and the individual faces up to 90 days in jail. For a third conviction within an 18 month period the fine ranges from $100 to $1,125 and the individual faces up to 180 days in jail.
Additionally a Reckless Driving conviction will put 5 points on your New York State license. If an individual has 6 or more points on his/her license during an 18 month period, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles will assess civil penalties called a Driver Responsibility Assessment, the annual assessment is $100 and the total assessment for the three years is $300. If an individual receives more than 6 points on his/her driver record during an 18 month period, the annual assessment is $25 for each point in addition to the original 6 points. The total assessment for the three years is $75 for each point in addition to the original 6 points. If an individual receives 11 or more points on his/her driving record in an 18 month period all driving privileges are suspended.
A Reckless Driving conviction may also result in a separate hearing at which an individual’s license can be suspended or revoked. It is also considered a “serious driving offense” in terms of an individual’s lifetime driving record. Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders may also lose their privilege to drive commercial vehicles with such a conviction.