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Reckless and Wrong Way Driving Could Become Felonies in New York

Be careful making a right hand turn on a one-way street in New York, because if new legislation is passed, you could end up in jail for a long time. New York drivers take note, if you drive recklessly enough, you may lose your right to vote-indeed, you may become a felon.

A few months ago, the New York State Senate passed legislation that makes wrong-way driving and other reckless driving a felony offense.

A felony is a very serious offense; most states, including New York, require imprisonment for over a year for a felony. And once you have a felony conviction on your record, it can be challenging to pass background checks for new employment or rental housing. One’s livelihood should not be put on the line all because of a traffic violation conviction.

The proposed law also dramatically changes the punishment requirements for reckless driving. Previously, reckless driving was only a class A misdemeanor, with a maximum prison sentence of up to 30 days. Under the new legislation being convicted for reckless driving could result in up to four years in prison.

In New York reckless driving includes drivers who, knowingly or due to intoxication, drive against the flow of traffic. Other ways to be charged with reckless driving are to exceed the speed limit by more than 30 miles an hour while under the influence of alcohol or while racing.

As of April 2012, the proposed bill remained with the state Assembly.

Regardless of whether it is passed, it is important for all New York drivers to remember that an arrest is only an accusation. It does not mean that someone is guilty of the crime charged. If you have been charged with reckless driving or any other criminal traffic violation, protect your rights by talking to an experienced New York traffic defense attorney.

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