In New York you only have two choices on how to respond to traffic tickets. You may plead guilty, pay and incur points on your record, or you can plead not guilty and have your case heard in court. Regardless of what you plan to plead, responding to your speeding ticket is crucial. If you do not answer your traffic ticket on time, your driver’s license will be suspended. A suspension doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty, but it penalizes you for failing to respond to the ticket. A suspension on your license means you cannot drive until you respond, so avoid suspension by contacting the court to answer the ticket as soon as possible. If you lost your traffic ticket you’ll need to go through the local court where you were ticketed and the process will vary depending on what the court’s rules are and whether a printed ticket is needed.
Pleading Guilty to New York Traffic Tickets:
You can plead guilty by appearing before a judge and then submitting payment or you can call or mail in your ticket payment. The advantage of pleading guilty before a judge is that you may have a chance of getting your fine reduced. Keep in mind, fines vary throughout the state of New York and ultimately it’s up to the court or judge how much you will end up paying.
In addition to the fine, you will also incur points on your driving record depending on the violation type. The New York point system is used by the DMV to track dangerous drivers. If you accumulate 11 points in an 18 month period your license will be suspended or revoked. Even 6 points in 18 months will mean you’re required to pay a Driver Responsibility Fee of $100-$250 per year. Luckily, by taking a defensive driving course you can reduce up to 4 points on your driving record and prevent suspensions. If you’re not sure how many points you have on your record we highly recommend you order a driving record report. It is crucial to know how many points are on your record. After you take defensive driving, we also recommend checking your record to see if the points have in fact been reduced.
Taking defensive driving in New York does not mean the points will be erased; the DMV just won’t count the points towards license suspension. Your insurance provider will still be able to see the points even if you take the course. Usually insurance providers have their own system to determine insurance rate increases for each point on your record. The good news is that even if you plead guilty you can still receive a 10% auto insurance discount for 3 years if you take defensive driving.
If you’re curious about the New York point system, here is how points are assigned statewide:
|Speeding 1 mph to 10 mph over||3|
|Speeding 11 mph to 20 mph over||4|
|Speeding 21 mph to 30 mph over||6|
|Speeding 31 mph to 40 mph over||8|
|Speeding more than 40 mph||11|
|Failure to stop for a School Bus||5|
|Following too closely (tailgating)||4|
|Inadequate Brakes (while driving employer’s vehicle)||2|
|Failing to Yield Right-Of-Way||3|
|Violation Involving Traffic Signal, Stop Sign, or Yield Sign||3|
|Railroad Crossing Violation||3|
|Improper Passing or Lane Use||3|
|Leaving scene of an accident involving property damage or injury to animal||3|
|Safety restraint violation involving person under 16||3|
|Any other moving violation||2|
Pleading Not Guilty
If you plead not guilty you can mail in your ticket and mark “not guilty” or go directly to your local Traffic Violations Bureau.
Pleading guilty usually means you will not be able to get your fine reduced if you are found guilty, so you’ll want to be as prepared as possible or hire a traffic ticket attorney to help you fight your case or get your fine reduced.
If you don’t have an attorney, remember that you can bring in witnesses or written evidence and prepare your testimony for your court hearing. You can also ask the police officer questions at the hearing. After the judge hears both sides, the judge will give you his or her verdict and inform you of the fines, if any, which you will pay. If you are found guilty, in some cases you can file an appeal form within 30 days of your judgment.