If you have been issued with a careless driving ticket in New York, then you don’t have to accept guilt. You can fight the citation with the help of a traffic violation lawyer. A careless driving ticket will mean points on your license, which don’t just disappear with time. They accumulate. In each 18 month period, if you have accumulated 11 points, then your license will be suspended.
Careless driving is a term used to cover a number of driving situations. It is not always very clear what it exactly means and you can get a ticket just because the police officer thought that what you were doing at the time was careless. This can be very subjective, as another officer might not think your driving was careless in the same situation. Because careless driving is not very clear cut, you should make sure you fight your ticket, even if it means you go to court. In the long run, you are better off with a clean record.
What is Careless Driving?
Careless driving is any driving in which a driver unintentionally drives in a manner which could lead to someone being hurt or property being damaged. It is different from the more serious charge of reckless driving, which is considered a misdemeanor. Reckless driving is driving in which a driver intentionally drives dangerously. It is the degree of intent which makes it different from careless driving.
Careless driving can cover any one of the following offenses:
- following too close
- failure to yield the right of way
- distracted driving e.g. using a cell phone, reading a newspaper, eating or drinking while driving
- improper passing
- driving over the center line
- unsafe lane changing
- failure to stop at a red light or stop sign.
Careless Driving Tickets Can Depend on a Subjective Decision
Careless driving is a common issue in New York City. In fact, most drivers are likely to do any one or more of the above every time they drive across the city. A moment’s inattention could mean a careless driving ticket from a watching law enforcement officer. It doesn’t mean you are a bad driver. If you are involved in an accident then it is much more likely that you were driving carelessly. If you get a ticket without an accident, then the decision depends on an interpretation by the police officer. It is the validity of this decision which can be challenged in court by an experienced New York traffic violation attorney.
Note that any one of the offenses above could also attract a reckless driving ticket. It depends on the interpretation of the officer who sees you. The offenses above can all attract a separate ticket and will incur a fine and points deducted from your license. The number of points is determined by the New York Department of Transportation.
If you get a ticket for careless driving and / or a traffic violation as listed above, then you will have a specified period to pay the fine. If you pay the fine, it is an admission of guilt and you will gain points immediately as a result. It is a better idea to fight the charge by hiring a New York traffic violation officer who understands the rules and regulations that deal with traffic laws in New York State. He or she will fight aggressively on your behalf to try to get your charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.