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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in New York

There are over 700,000 traffic violations in New York each year. Tickets are usually issued for some of these violations. These tickets are handed out by law enforcement agencies and are managed by the Traffic Courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles, where they have jurisdiction. Generally, motorists who have violated the state's road rules and are issued a ticket are typically required to pay the tickets or contest the tickets in court. While the state does not recognize "no contest" as a plea option, offenders can still take a driver's improvement course to reduce the severity of consequences associated with the violations.

Records of traffic violations and documents that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites may help to expedite the search process, as they are not limited by geographic location and can often process search requests for single or multiple records simultaneously. To use these aggregate sites, interested parties are usually required to 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. This includes information such as the city, county, or state in which the person resides or was accused.

Third-party sites operate independently of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability, accessibility, and validity cannot be guaranteed.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in New York?

Yes, it may prove worthwhile to fight a traffic ticket in New York. While paying a ticket and getting it done may seem like a good idea, it may be considered an admission of guilt. This means that the full consequences, such as points on driving records, exaggerated auto-insurance rates, and possible license suspension, may be attached. For what it is worth, fighting a ticket may be costlier than the actual cost of paying off the ticket in Texas. Depending on specific circumstances, fighting a ticket in New York may be a lost cause. As such, defendants are advised to seek legal counsel before proceeding to fight a ticket in court.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in New York

Non-criminal traffic ticket offenses issued in any of the 5 boroughs of New York City are handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Similar tickets issued in other cities and counties in the state are adjudicated by the traffic courts. To plead "not guilty" and fight a ticket in the TVB, start by scheduling a hearing with the particular TVB office located covering the area where the ticket was issued. Those who cannot appear in person or hire an attorney to represent them at the hearing should also complete and submit the Statement in Place of Personal Appearance. The judge may then hold a hearing and notify them of the final decision by email. It is also possible to reschedule a hearing with the TVB by selecting a new date and time. To fight a ticket in County Traffic Court, check the "not guilty" box on the back of the ticket. Photocopy the ticket and then take or send the original back to the county traffic court listed on the ticket to get a hearing date.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

While defaulting motorists may be allowed to fight traffic tickets through trial by written declaration in States like California, Illinois, and Oregon; such privileges are not allowed in New York. As such, it may not be possible to fight a New York traffic ticket without going to court.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in New York?

Non-movable traffic tickets, such as parking violations, may be reduced to a lesser point ticket. Generally, in New York, getting a plea deal for most moving violations may not be possible. It is regarded as a win-or-loss situation where one either gets to plead guilty or fight a ticket. While attending a driver's improvement course may not affect the actual amount on the ticket, it may help reduce points on the driver's license.

Can You Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in New York?

Yes, there are various circumstances in which a contested speeding ticket may be dismissed or rendered invalid in the State of New York. Under the New York Penal Code §§ 3505, speeding is justified when such conduct is necessary as an emergency measure in a situation that is not the fault of the actor. In other cases, the judge may dismiss the case based on justification or technicalities such as the:

  • The defendant wins in court.
  • The ticketing police officer doesn't show up
  • The officer made errors in the defendant's name

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in New York

Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket may be considered giving up the right to trial and, by extension, accepting the associated consequences that come with the offense, which can include:

  • Points on driving record
  • Compulsory payment of stipulated fines and surcharges
  • Possible loss of driving privileges such as license revocation or suspension
  • Increase in auto-insurance premiums
  • Other DMV penalties
  • Potential jail time or community service
  • Loss of employment, if a commercial driver's license or valid license is required

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in New York

Defendants are typically advised to seek professional advice to analyze the technicalities and determine the best steps to take in a specific traffic case. Even those facing less serious traffic infractions may still want to speak with an attorney, especially if they have accumulated multiple traffic tickets in the past three years. Traffic lawyers in New York can help a client negotiate for a lesser charge, maintain driving privilege, avoid higher insurance rates, and arrange a plea bargain for felony traffic convictions. The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) provides helpful search tools for finding attorneys experienced in specific fields. The association also provides a compact directory to the various county bar lawyer referral services. Furthermore, some big cities with distinct bar associations, such as the New York City Bar Association, also offer Find a Lawyer search functions on their websites. Be aware that these services are not free of charge. Those who cannot afford to pay featured professionals may utilize the Free Legal Answers Webpage provided by the NYSBA.

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