By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:
A reckless driving ticket in New York is serious business. A conviction for reckless driving can result in 5 points being assessed on one’s driver’s license, as well as a substantial fine. More importantly, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense that can lead to jail time and a permanent criminal record.
In New York City, a reckless driving ticket is issued on a pink ticket. These are the same pink tickets that a person would receive if they were charged with other minor offenses such as trespassing or loitering. In other parts of the state, reckless driving is issued a full 8.5-inch by 11-inch white paper.
This article will break down each type of ticket separately due to their notable differences. It’s important for a driver to read the summons carefully and understand what the officer has written and how it impacts the driver.
Anatomy of a NY Reckless Driving Ticket
A reckless driving ticket in most parts of New York State will record the make, model, and color of the vehicle involved in the infraction, as well as the license plate number and corresponding state in the top-left portion. Contrary to popular belief, minor mistakes here—including those involving the driver’s name and/or the type of vehicle—will not result in an automatic dismissal.
The second section on the left details the charge. VTL 1212 indicates reckless driving, although the name of the infraction will often be written in the box labeled “Description.” Also noted here will be a radio button indicating that the offense is a misdemeanor.
Below the charge the officer will fill out the location where the offense occurred, as well as the date. Significant errors here are uncommon, so drivers should not expect to see anything that could be used to argue the ticket.
At the time the ticket is issued, the driver will be assigned a court date and time. This will be recorded here, along with the location of the court in question. Below this is a warning that any driver must heed: To plead guilty to a reckless driving ticket (or any traffic ticket) is the same as being found guilty at trial.
The top-right portion of the ticket will have directions for how to plead by mail. However, for reckless driving or any other traffic violation that is also a criminal offense, a person cannot enter a plea by mail. Instead, that person must appear in court.
Anatomy of a NYC Reckless Driving Ticket
The top part records the information of the driver. These details are copied from the driver’s license. Unlike most a reckless driving ticket in other parts of the state, a NYC ticket will not contain vehicle details, since the ticket is the same kind used for non-traffic offenses. Again, minor mistakes here are not likely to lead to a dismissal.
This section here shows the date the driver is expected to show up to court. Just below that is the court where the driver must appear along with the corresponding address. It’s worth noting that a NYC reckless driving charge is heard in criminal court and not the Traffic Violations Bureau.
Here is where the charge will be recorded. Reckless driving will be documented as VTL 1212. In addition, the box for VTL will be checked, indicated that the infraction was a moving violation. A person charged with a municipal violation or a violation of park rules will have the corresponding boxes checked instead.
Also in this section, the officer will record the place and time where the offense took place. While a significant inconsistency or error in this area could potentially be used to dismiss the ticket, such mistakes are incredibly rare.
The bottom part is where the officer will record any additional observations or notes regarding the instance. An officer’s statements are generally regarded as fact by judges. However, if there are comments or statements that can be disproven or sufficient doubt can be raised as to their validity, this could be used to fight the ticket.
A Note on Negotiating NYC Reckless Driving Tickets
For most traffic violations issued in New York City or other areas under the jurisdiction of the TVB, drivers cannot negotiate to reduce tickets. However, reckless driving tickets are not tried at the TVB; they go through the criminal court system of county where the offense occurred. That’s good news, as it means a NYC reckless driving ticket can be negotiated in circumstances where getting the charge dismissed is not possible.
How to Fight a NY Reckless Driving Ticket
While it’s a bad idea to just give up and pay any traffic ticket in New York, a reckless driving ticket is particularly serious and must be challenged in court. A driver who wants the best chance of beating a reckless driving charge should hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney. An attorney can assess the details of the case to determine the best course of action. If there are inconsistencies in the testimony of the officer, or if the driver’s rights were violated during the traffic stop, these can be used in court to defend against the charge. In some cases, the most effective strategy may be to negotiate the reckless driving ticket down to a lesser offense such as a speeding ticket or other basic traffic tickets. In addition to reducing the fine and points, this will also help the driver avoid jail time and a criminal record.
Who Should I Contact for Help with My Reckless Driving Ticket?
If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving or any other traffic offense in New York, it is advisable that you retain a skilled attorney to help fight the serious consequences you may face. The lawyers at Rosenblum Law are experienced criminal defense and traffic attorneys who will work to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call 888-883-5529 or email Rosenblum Law for a free consultation about your case today.