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Courteous driving may help in avoiding traffic citations

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 have jurisdiction.

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