In New York, dodging potholes is practically an art form. One website even ranked New York City sixth worst city in America for potholes. Most of drivers would prefer to avoid the risk of a bent rim or damaged undercarriage, and will try to give potholes a wide berth. Drivers who aren’t cautious, however, could get nailed with something even worse than damage to the car: a reckless driving charge.
In order to be charged with reckless driving, a driver has to commit an act or acts that fulfill two criteria. The first is to demonstrate a conscious disregard for the safety of other drivers. The second criterion is that the action must represent a gross deviation from the standard of conduct. In other words, it is not a normal response to the situation.
In most cases, a minor swerve around a pothole would not be considered unsafe or a gross deviation. In order to justify the charge, your action would have to be fairly extreme. For example, if you swerved very suddenly, jumped all the way into the other lane, and nearly (or actually) caused an accident, that could be justification. You could also face a charge if you swerved into oncoming traffic, which an officer would almost certainly see as a gross deviation of normal conduct.
Reckless driving can also apply in situations where drivers commit multiple serious infractions. In the case of dodging potholes, if you commit an unsafe lane change while driving at a truly excessive rate of speed – or worse, while drunk – that increases your chances of a reckless driving charge (on top of tickets for the other infractions).
A reckless driving charge is a serious crime and a conviction means that you will have a permanent criminal record. This in addition to up to 30 days in jail, nearly $400 in fines, and five points on your license. If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving or any other traffic related offense in New York, you need the help of a skilled attorney. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense and traffic attorneys who can help protect your legal rights. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation about your case today.