New York Court Records
What are New York Traffic Tickets?
New York traffic tickets are legal notices issued by law enforcement officers to motorists or other road users charged with violating New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws. These tickets usually contain information regarding:
- The nature of the traffic infraction or violation
- The applicable penalties, such as fines or points assessed against the offender
- How to pay or plead fines
- How to dispute the ticket
- Court summons and appearance date
- Court name and address
In New York, local traffic courts and the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are responsible for managing traffic tickets. However, in selected counties, criminal courts maintain and process these tickets. Offenders who have been issued traffic tickets may respond by pleading ‘guilty’ and paying any fines, fees, or surcharges; or pleading ‘not guilty’ and scheduling a court hearing. Failure to answer traffic tickets may result in increased fines, arrest, prosecution, and a suspension of the offender’s driver’s license.
Records of traffic violations and all documents that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?
A traffic citation is a ticket issued by law enforcement officers to persons charged with violating Vehicle and Traffic Laws. Traffic citations typically contain an order to appear before a court to pay a fine or contest it. The terms ‘traffic tickets’ and ‘traffic citations’ are often used interchangeably; however, traffic tickets may be resolved without a court appearance.
Traffic citations may be issued for violations committed while operating a motor vehicle such as speeding, improper turns, disregarding traffic control devices, and failure to yield right of way. Persons who receive traffic citations must sign them on receipt. However, signing is not an admission of guilt or agreement with the charge; it is merely an acknowledgment of receipt.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in New York?
In New York, traffic ticket payments depend on the place where the ticket was issued. Outside New York City, local traffic or criminal courts are responsible for ticket management in the county, city, or town where the offense occurred. Ticket holders may be required to contact the local court directly to pay for a traffic ticket. However, some New York cities and counties have Traffic and Parking Violations Agencies where offenders can make payments. Examples are Albany, Buffalo, and Nassau.
Instructions on paying a ticket are typically on the back of the ticket, including available payment options for each locality, the court name, and address, and if applicable, the date and time of a scheduled court hearing.
Local parking violations bureaus or courts handle parking tickets and tickets for pedestrian violations issued in New York City. On the other hand, the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) manages all tickets for non-criminal moving violations.
Parking and TVB tickets can be paid in person, by mail, and online. On receipt of a ticket, recipients may choose to plead ‘guilty’ and pay the ticket. Such persons must enter their plea on the traffic ticket and send it, along with the fines or fees applicable, by mail to:
Traffic Violations Plea Unit
P. O. Box 2950 - ESP
Albany, NY 12220–0950
For parking tickets, send all information mentioned above to:
NYC Department of Finance
Church Street Station
P. O. Box 3640
New York, NY 10008–3640
Choosing to pay traffic tickets is an admission of guilt and may attract additional fees or surcharges. It may also result in increased insurance premiums, points added to the person’s driving records, or a suspension of the person’s driving license. Persons charged with traffic violations may choose to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea and schedule a hearing.
Failure to answer a ticket in the time allotted, which is 15 days of the violation date for TVB tickets and 30 days for parking tickets, may lead to the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. Offenders will be required to answer the ticket and pay a suspension termination fee of $70 to lift the suspension.
Can You Pay New York Traffic Tickets Online?
Yes, New York traffic tickets can be paid online. Parking tickets issued in New York City can be paid using NYCServ, NYC311, or the NYC Online Parking Payments website. On the other hand, non-criminal moving traffic tickets issued in New York City can be paid through the DMV’s online service.
Charged offenders may also contest traffic tickets, change pleas, schedule or reschedule hearings, and request ticket notifications using the online service.
For tickets issued outside New York City, violators must contact the court directly. However, some New York State cities and counties such as Buffalo, Nassau, and Albany offer online payment options for parking tickets, summons, and non-appearance traffic tickets. Payment options available in each locality are usually printed as part of the instructions on the back of traffic tickets.
To be eligible to use the DMV’s online service, the offender’s ticket must meet the following conditions:
- The traffic ticket must already be in the DMV’s system
- It must be a TVB ticket, with ‘Traffic Violations Bureau’ displayed at the bottom
- The traffic ticket must be unanswered or unpaid
The state’s online service cannot be used for entering pleas wherein a conviction would lead to the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. It can also not be used to enter ‘not guilty’ pleas if the offender’s license has been suspended for failure to answer a ticket. These instances require a physical appearance at a TVB office.
How do I Pay a Ticket online in New York?
To pay TVB tickets in New York, ticket holders may use the DMV’s online service. Ticket holders will need:
- Their TVB ticket number
- DMV ID number
- Full names, date of birth, and gender as it appears on the traffic ticket
- State of vehicle registration
- License plate number
- Violation number
To pay tickets issued outside New York City online, ticket holders should view the traffic ticket for available payment options in each locality.
What is the New York Traffic Ticketing System?
In New York, traffic offenses are classified as violations and infractions. Violations are serious traffic offenses that result in severe penalties such as imprisonment, forfeiture, fines, and other collateral consequences. The state’s road traffic law also categorizes violations as felonies or misdemeanors. These offenses typically either cause severe injury or pose a risk of injury or harm to other people, property, or the public.
Infractions are less severe violations of vehicle and traffic laws. They are not considered criminal offenses and therefore result in considerably lighter penalties. Law enforcement penalizes infractions through tickets and summons, and points assessed on a driver’s record.
New York State DMV uses the Driver Violation Point System to identify and take punitive action against traffic law violators and high-risk drivers. A certain number of points are issued for each traffic violation, and if a motorist or road user accumulates up to 11 points in 18 months, such persons will have their driver’s license suspended. Point totals are calculated based on the date of the violation, and the accumulated points for all violations recorded in the last 18 months make up the point total.
The highest number of points assessed for a single traffic violation is 11 points for driving more than 40 MPH above the posted speed limit. Generally, the system is as follows:
- 3-point violations: offenses such as failure to yield right of way or disobeying traffic control signals
- 4-point violations: offenses such as tailgating or driving with inadequate brakes
- 5-point violations: offenses such as reckless driving or railroad crossing violations
- 6-point violations and above: offenses such as going over the speed limit by up to 30 MPH
Persons who accumulate up to six points on their record within 18 months must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. The minimum amount payable is $100. The actual amount payable is estimated based on the number of points and the type of traffic violation. Failure to pay the fee may result in the suspension or revoking the offender’s driver’s license.
The total points on a driver’s record may result in increased insurance premiums. However, Point and Insurance Reduction Programs (PIRP) may help save up to 10% on insurance premiums and reduce points and prevent a suspension of the record holder’s license. If a person has accumulated up to 11 points on their record, taking a PIRP will deduct four points in a suspension calculation. However, the actual traffic points are neither reduced nor removed. DMV-approved PIRPs can be taken in person or online.
In New York, there are no points assigned for parking violations, pedestrian and bicycle violations, and other violations not resulting from a vehicle’s operation.
How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in New York?
Interested persons may use the MyDMV portal to check for any existing traffic tickets. Alternatively, interested persons may request their driving records from the DMV to check for any traffic tickets or accumulated points. State residents may request their traffic tickets in person, by mail, and online. Driving records also contain information about traffic violation charges and convictions, including:
- The type of violation
- The date the violation occurred or was recorded
- The location of the violation
- The date of the conviction
- Applicable fines and points assessed
Depending on the purpose of the request, there are different types of driving records. Standard driving records contain information designated public according to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic law. The report includes biographical data, accidents and traffic convictions, suspensions and revocations, and serious violations. The DMV is only required to retain this information for some years. Lifetime driving records contain all the information about a driver in possession of the DMV even after the stipulated retention period. For example, suspensions and revocations only appear on official records for four years, while lifetime records may contain suspension and revocation information older than four years.
To request personal driving records, interested persons may use the MyDMV portal. Sign up is required, and requestors must pay $7 to access the requested documents. Interested persons may also make in-person requests to the local DMV office. For in-person requests, requestors must submit a completed Request for Driving Record Information (MV15-C) form and a copy of government-issued photo identification and a money order or check of $10 payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
For requests made via mail, requestors must complete a Request for Certified DMV Records (MV–15) form and mail it along with a copy of their government-issued photo identification and a money order or check of $10 to:
NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
Interested persons may search for driving records and traffic tickets with independent citation search websites. However, accuracy cannot be guaranteed as they are third-party organizations and, therefore, not government funded.
How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in New York?
Traffic tickets are typically given as paper citations and are managed by local law enforcement or the court that hears the case. Applicable fines, fees, and surcharges are included on a traffic ticket. However, where a New York State police officer issues the ticket, the offender may need to contact the TVB or the local court designated to hear the case to find the traffic ticket and figure out the total amount to be paid.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in New York?
In New York, traffic tickets can stay on a driver’s record for up to six years, depending on the violation. Records of alcohol-related traffic offenses can remain in a driver’s history for up to 10 years.
Is a Summons Worse Than a Ticket in New York?
Not necessarily. A New York summons is an order to appear before a court to contest a traffic violation charge or pay a fine, and in some cases, determine the appropriate penalty for an offense. Summons are issued for serious traffic violations as they require the use of more state resources to resolve. Tickets typically contain information about the nature of the traffic violation and fixed fees or penalties. Tickets can be contested or paid without a court appearance.