For most of us, a traffic violation citation is a major annoyance, but after a bit of grumbling and complaining we typically just pay the fine and move on. After all, as the conventional wisdom goes, you can’t fight city hall, right? However, the truth of the matter may be different. There just may be a good reason to contest your ticket and perhaps a way to achieve a positive result.
The New York Driver Point System
Points are accumulated and go on your driving record in the following manner:
• Upon a traffic violation conviction, points are added.
• The total is calculated from the date of violation
• Your driver’s license is suspended if you accumulate 11 points within an 18 month period.
As most moving violations are worth 2 points, it may seem unlikely to reach 11, but points can accumulate quickly as the list below reflects:
• 3 point violations – speeding 1–10 mph over the speed limit, failure to yield, ignoring a stop light, stop sign or yield sign
• 4 point violations – speeding 11-20 mph over the speed limit, tailgating
• 5 point violations – failure to stop at a railroad crossing or for a school bus, improper cell phone use, texting
Additionally, you get 6 points for speeding 21-30 mph over the limit, 8 points for 31-40 over and all 11 points if you exceed the posted speed limit by 40 mph. Points can accumulate easier than you may think.
Certainly each insurance company is different and each driver’s circumstances are unique, but your rates are all but guaranteed to go up after a traffic violation of any consequence. In fact, according to a study by insurance .com, a first time speeding ticket costs the average driver $700 more for yearly insurance premiums. Repeat offenders or those convicted of more serious violations such as driving under the influence may face cancellation of their insurance altogether.
It is without question your legal right to represent yourself in contesting your traffic citation, but is it wise? When you act as your own counsel you need to know both how, procedurally, you get to court to make your argument, and how to make your argument once you get there.
For instance, each entity that issues traffic violations has its own procedures. You have to determine whether you will follow the rules and regulations for the Traffic Violations Bureau if you received your ticket in New York City or Rochester or if you will adhere to the procedures for the county, city, town, or village where you were cited.
If you successfully get to court, you must present evidence, perhaps call witnesses and provide the court with a valid legal argument as to why you should be found not guilty. Arguing that you didn’t commit the violation, stating other drivers were doing the same thing or the officer who cited you is lying will not cut it. Those are losing arguments and you will be convicted.
Contact a Traffic Violations Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you can’t afford to lose your licensee or strongly believe you have been cited unfairly, an experienced attorney knows how to present a case in a manner most favorable to you. Even should an outright dismissal be impossible, a lawyer may be able to have the violation reduced to a lesser charge.