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The charge of reckless driving in New York can invoke mental images of accidents and injuries, and sometimes those visualizations are entirely accurate. Recklessness is a more serious accusation than negligence, and generally means that the accused not only is aware of an unreasonable risk of harm to others, but elects to engage in it anyway.

Reckless driving, however, does not always involve injury to another person, or even getting into an accident. A recent incident in Melville that seems like it was taken from a "Fast and Furious" movie offers a case in point.

About 70 cars were gathered in one location and two of them were evidently preparing to engage in a street race when a police officer arrived at the scene, triggering a general flight of the spectators as well as one of the two would-be race participants. The other was not as fortunate, and was arrested.

The charges that have been filed against the apprehended driver include engaging in an illegal street race, attempting to flee a police officer, and reckless driving; even though the race itself never took place, no accident occurred and no one was apparently injured.

Traffic crimes in New York can result in penalties ranging from the issuance of a simple traffic ticket to a prison sentence. The more serious the charge against you, the more essential it is to have an attorney on your side who is intimately familiar with the laws under which you have been accused and can use that knowledge effectively in pretrial negotiation or trial defense.

Whether conduct can be accurately described as negligent instead of reckless can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Source: CBS New York, "Police: Bay Shore Man Faces Street Racing, Other Charges," Nov. 24, 2014

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