Under New York law, an officer can issue a reckless driving summons under
certain circumstances, such as when there is reasonable cause to suspect
that a driver has endangered others on a public highway. Yet a recent
editorial in the Poughkeepsie Journal begs the question of whether there
may be a connection between lack of common driver courtesy and the criminal
consequences of unlawful driving behavior, as reflected in traffic citations.
For example, the transition from winter into spring may create unusual
road conditions. Spring showers and melting snow may create slippery road
surfaces. To avoid hydroplaning, a driver may choose to drive below the
speed limit. However, the editorial writer questioned whether one driver’s
decision to drive in the center lane of a three-land highway at half the
posted speed of 55 mph actually created more danger. The writer observed
that other drivers in both the right and left lanes were passing the middle car.
Fortunately, this story did not end in a motor vehicle accident or a traffic
citation. Yet the question of reckless driving may not always be straightforward.
If an individual does receive a citation, a consultation with a criminal
defense attorney can ensure that proper procedures are followed.
As a preliminary matter, the procedures for responding to a
traffic citation in Buffalo, Rochester or New York City are distinct from the rest of the
state. According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, the Traffic
Violations Bureau handles tickets issued in those three locations. For
the remainder of New York’s municipalities, the local criminal or
traffic court in the city or county where the citation was issued will
An attorney that has experience in criminal defense knows that there can
be consequences for failing to respond to a traffic citation. The usual
consequence is a license suspension. However, that status is not a determination
of guilt. Accordingly, an accused may still have an opportunity to answer
the ticket, although he or she may also have to pay a suspension termination fee.
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “Too much caution can pose road risk, too,” Anthony Musso, March 28, 2014