Put the Brakes on this Possible Reckless Driving Situation

Make sure these work before you head out on the road. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

New York State law requires car owners to take full responsibility for the upkeep of their vehicles; failure to do so can result in a traffic ticket. You can receive a citation for many types of mechanical failures, including broken headlights, a missing side view mirror, and nonfunctional wipers.

Most equipment related violations are no-point tickets, which means you will generally only face a fine. Some offenses, however, are considerably more serious, such as a ticket for inadequate brakes. In fact, driving with inadequate brakes can even lead to a reckless driving charge.

A reckless driving charge applies to any situation in which a driver endangers the welfare of others. It is most often levied in situations where drivers commit multiple serious infractions or when drivers do something truly extreme, such as driving the wrong way on a highway.

There are a number of ways an inadequate brake charge can become a reckless driving charge. One such situation would be if the lack of brakes resulted in another infraction, such as disobeying a stop sign or running a red light. Another example would be if you were driving through a pedestrian-heavy area such as a parking lot. In that case, the inability to stop on time would pose a serious risk to pedestrians and other drivers, even if the car wasn’t technically speeding, which could result in a reckless driving charge.

In the above examples, as with most equipment violations, it doesn’t matter if you knew the brakes were faulty before hitting the road. The law holds you liable for ensuring your car is in safe, drivable condition and you can be charged even if you did not realize there was an issue with your brakes. However, if you knew your car had inadequate brakes and decided to drive it anyway, that in and of itself could be grounds for a reckless driving charge as the decision to knowingly drive a car in unsafe condition means you conscientiously chose to put others at risk. 

A ticket for inadequate brakes carries a $300 fine, four points on your license, and up to 30 days in jail. A second offense in 18 months increases the consequences to $525 and up to 90 days in jail. Reckless driving, however, is more than a traffic violation; it is a crime. A conviction could mean up to 30 days in jail, plus nearly $400 in fines, and 5 points on your license. The charge will also impact your insurance premiums, causing an increase of as much as 42%.

If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving or any other traffic related offense in New York, contact an attorney right away for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense and traffic attorneys who have helped many people in similar situations. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation about your case today.

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