NY Criminal Defense Attorneys Answer Traffic Offense Questions.
WHAT IS RECKLESS DRIVING?
Reckless Driving is a violation of N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212. Reckless driving occurs when a person drives a motor vehicle or a motorcycle, a moped, or ATV in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the use of a public road or endangers the users of a highway, road, street or avenue.
IF I AM CONVICTED OF RECKLESS DRIVING, WILL I RECEIVE ANY POINTS ON MY LICENSE?
Yes. A Reckless Driving conviction will place 5 points on your license.
IS RECKLESS DRIVING A CRIME?
Yes. Reckless Driving (N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212) is a crime. It is considered an unclassified misdemeanor.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR RECKLESS DRIVING?
The penalties for Reckless Driving are:
- 5 points on your license.
- Up to 30 days in jail.
- A minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $300.
- A surcharge of $88 (Municipality other than Town/Village)/or $93 (Towns/Villages).
WILL I NEED TO APPEAR IN COURT IF I AM CHARGED WITH RECKLESS DRIVING?
Yes. As Reckless Driving is a crime, your personal appearance will be required. However, you should contact a criminal law attorney as there may be an opportunity for an attorney to appear on your behalf.
DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR A RECKLESS DRIVING TICKET?
Yes. Since Reckless Driving is a misdemeanor charge, a criminal lawyer will be required.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPEEDING TICKETS?
Speeding is a violation of N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1180. A speeding ticket can be issued in several ways:
- Driving too fast for road conditions (Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent).
- Driving over a posted speed limit.
- Driving over a posted speed limit in a school zone or restricted area.
If I GET CONVICTED OF SPEEDING, WILL THERE BE POINTS ON MY LICENSE?
Yes. A conviction for speeding will result in points on your license. The points are as follows:
|MILES PER HOUR OVER SPEED LIMIT||NUMBER OF POINTS|
|1 to 10||3|
|11 to 20||4|
|21 to 30||6|
|31 to 40||8|
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL PENALTIES FOR A FIRST TIME SPEEDING TICKET?
For a first-time (non-school zone/non restricted zone) offense, the following are potential penalties.
|MILES PER HOUR OVER SPEED LIMIT||MINIMUM FINE||MAXIMUM FINE||DAYS OF JAIL||SURCHARGE (other courts/town and village)|
|1 to 10||$45||$150||0||$88/$93|
|11 to 30||$90||$300||15||$88/$93|
|31 and higher||$180||$600||30||$88/$93|
The potential fines and jail time increase if this is not your first offense or if you received a ticket in a school zone or construction site. You should contact a traffic attorney to discuss your potential outcomes if you have prior speeding tickets or your ticket was in a school zone or construction site.
DO I NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE A SPEEDING TICKET?
No. Since speeding is not a crime, an attorney is not required to handle your case. You can appear in court and attempt to resolve your speeding ticket with the officer who issued the ticket or the attorney who represents the municipality where you were charged.
SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HELP ME WITH A SPEEDING TICKET?
The decision to hire an attorney for a speeding ticket is a personal choice. An attorney may be able to help eliminate your ticket if you are falsely accused or there are legal mistakes in the paperwork. An attorney may also be able to obtain a favorable reduction which can reduce points, fines and surcharges. Finally, a traffic lawyer may be able to resolve your traffic ticket so you do not have to go to court. It is important to remember that multiple speeding tickets can cause significant license consequences including a license suspension. In other words, if you have any concerns beyond just the fine, such as license issues, potential points, or insurance concerns, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer.
HOW MANY POINTS CAN I HAVE ON MY LICENSE BEFORE IT IS SUSPENDED IN NEW YORK?
If you obtain 11 points on your license in an 18-month timeframe, your license may be suspended. Depending on your driving history, the reduction of points may be necessary for you to keep your license. Consulting with a traffic lawyer can be useful in minimizing the amount of points on your license.
IF I HAVE MULTIPLE SPEEDING TICKET CONVICTIONS, WILL I LOSE MY LICENSE?
Yes. Your drivers license can be suspended if you have multiple speeding tickets. Examples include 3 speeding tickets in 18 months or 2 convictions for speeding in a work zone. If you receive a speeding ticket, it is important to attempt to have the ticket reduced to a non-speeding offense.
CAN I REDUCE POINTS THAT ARE ALREADY ON MY LICENSE?
Yes. You can reduce up to 4 points on your license by taking a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Point and Insurance Reduction Program. To obtain the benefit of the point reduction, you can take the Point and Insurance Reduction Program once every 18 months.
IF I HIRE AN ATTORNEY FOR A SPEEDING TICKET, DO I NEED TO APPEAR IN COURT?
No. If you hire an attorney, your attorney can appear on your behalf if you prefer. You always have the option of appearing in court with your speeding ticket lawyer. You may be required to sign a waiver of appearance that allows the attorney to appear on your behalf. In many Courts, if you hire an attorney, your speeding ticket lawyer will be able to resolve your ticket through the mail without the necessity or requirement of an appearance.
ARE THERE COMMON REDUCTIONS FOR SPEEDING TICKETS?
Yes. The goal is to reduce/eliminate the points on your license. With this is mind, some typical reductions include parking tickets or equipment violations which have no points or failure to obey a traffic control device, which has 2 points, but does not typically cause any increase in your insurance premium.
WILL A SPEEDING TICKET CAUSE MY INSURANCE TO GO UP?
Most likely yes. A conviction for speeding will, in many cases, cause your insurance rates to go up the next time your policy is renewed. You should call your insurance agent to see the potential effects of a conviction on your insurance premium. You should consider contacting a traffic ticket attorney as the attorney may be able to help you obtain a reduction of your charge to something that does not cause your insurance rates to go up.
ARE COURT APPEARANCES GOING FORWARD DURING THE COVID/CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC?
No. Court appearances for traffic related offenses are stayed pursuant to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE NY Order until, at least, May 30, 2020. If you do receive a ticket during this time frame, it is still in your best interests to hire a lawyer and send in your not guilty plea to the tickets. While Courts are not in session, some attorneys for municipalities are still working on resolving speeding tickets.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES FOR TRAFFIC RELATED MATTERS?
Many factors go into the cost of a traffic related matter including the location of the court, whether the ticket be resolved through the mail or requires a personal appearance, the driving history of the person with the ticket, and the amount of time required to resolve the case or conduct a trial. For additional information regarding fees, please see our “HOW MUCH DOES A CRIMINAL LAWYER COST” BLOG.