Enjoy this article today from New York based attorney Zev Goldstein. Just don’t read it on your smartphone while driving.)
When it comes to traffic violations, reckless driving often ranks just below driving under the influence. A violation can affect every aspect of your life, from your job to your ability to attain future credit.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving?
Although the legal definition of reckless driving varies from state-to-state, it’s generally taken to mean driving in a manner that indicates a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others.
Excessive speeding, tailgating, not signaling appropriately and running lights and stop signs are commonly considered reckless. Distracted driving from talking on the phone or texting behind the wheel can also fall under recklessness.
In the words of NY traffic ticket attorney Zev Goldstein, “Driving is a privilege, not a right, and playing around with this privilege can quite simply result in losing it.”
How Much Is a Reckless Driving Ticket?
Cost differs in every state, and sometimes county, but it can range into the hundreds of dollars.
Often, reckless driving citations are paired with additional tickets such as failure to yield, which can make the ticket even more costly.
If you don’t pay immediately there will be repercussions. These can include additional fines, credit reporting or even jail.
How Many Points Does It Put on Your License?
This cost is only for the ticket. There are often further hidden costs with the ticket, such as higher insurance premiums. Most states use a point system.
A reckless driving ticket is generally in the upper point range, falling only lower than DUI and hit-and-run offenses. The more points on your license, the more costly your insurance premiums.
When Will It Clear Off Your License?
Depending on the state and the seriousness of the reckless driving infraction, points can stay on your license for three to 10 years. That’s a long time to be paying higher insurance rates.
Some states do offer the option for early point removal, usually by taking safe driving classes. If it shows up on your credit report, it can take seven years for it to drop off.
Can It Affect Your Job and Credit History?
Reckless driving charges can affect your job in almost any industry. It can lead to dismissal in driving jobs such as trucking or the loss of a company car in a non-driving industry. Many behind-the-wheel jobs have point limits along with a policy for immediate dismissal for certain high-risk violations, such as DUI or reckless driving. Depending on the infraction, reckless driving can also go on your record as a felony. This can hurt you with any employer.
Failure to pay the ticket on time or in full will also negatively affect your credit rating and possible lead to additional fees. With more employers checking potential employee credit ratings, this can affect you even if the employer doesn’t check your driving record.
Is It Better to Fight It or Pay It?
You have very little to lose by fighting a reckless driving violation. Often going to court is the only way to bargain for a lower fine, less points or to gain access to alternative options like traffic school.
It’s a good idea to have legal representation before you go to court. If you’re innocent of the charges, you need someone at your side that is skilled at gathering and presenting evidence in your favor. A traffic lawyer can help you get a ticket dismissed or have the points dropped so it does not negatively affect your career.
Questions: Have you ever been cited or known someone who was cited for reckless driving? Did it impact you/them in any way?
Author Bio: Zev Goldstein is a New York based attorney. He has 28 years of experience dealing with traffic tickets and driving-related crimes such as DWI/DUI, Unlicensed Operation / Driving on a Suspended License or insurance, and in restoring driving licenses. You can connect with him on Twitter and Google+.