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What constitutes reckless driving and how will a conviction affect me?

| Dec 11, 2020 | Traffic Violations

If you have a driver’s license, then you’ve likely heard of either careless or reckless driving; however, what you may not know is what the difference between the concepts is. Careless driving is a traffic violation that may result in points on your driver’s license, fines and other civil penalties. Reckless driving is a criminal offense that may end up with you in prison. The distinctions don’t stop here, though.

What type of driving behaviors qualify as reckless driving?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines reckless driving as someone’s operation of a vehicle with both “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” 

It’s unnecessary for an accident, property damage or injury to occur for a motorist to face reckless driving charges. Operating a vehicle at least 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit can result in such charges, though. So too can any instance in which a driver runs a red light, intentionally fails to yield to pedestrians or other motorists or drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers who attempt to evade police, drag race other cars, text while driving, pass a stopped school bus or cross over double lines on a two-lane highway may also face reckless driving charges.

How a reckless driving conviction can impact you

New York officials may suspend or revoke your license for engaging in reckless driving. A conviction for such an offense may also result in up to an 87.5% increase in your annual auto insurance premium. 

Anyone convicted of reckless driving while operating a fleet vehicle could end up with a lower FMCSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) score or a reduced Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) rank. This decline in score or ranking could result in you losing the ability to operate a commercial vehicle. 

Reckless driving can leave your car totaled, result in you or someone else getting hurt or killed, and have an adverse impact on your driving privileges, permanent record and finances. A traffic violations attorney will want to know more about the circumstances surrounding your stop before aiding you in coming up with defense strategies that you may be able to pursue in your New York City case. 

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