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Feifer & Greenberg, LLP
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02 Feb2010

New York driver license points FAQ

A couple of quick answers to questions we’ve recently been asked concerning NY license points and your driving record.

Q:  Will the points and violation “come off” my record after 18 months?

A:  Yes and no–depends on what you mean by “come off”.  No they won’t “come off” because evidence of this violation will be on your driver abstract for years to come.  It doesn’t just disappear as if it never happened.  Yes they do “come off” in a sense because DMV and your insurance company will only look so far back at your driving record for the purposes of holding the points and violation against you.  Read much more about this here: How Long Do Points Stay On Your License In NY?

Q:  How am I suspended today for a ticket I got 2 years ago?  My record is currently spotless.

A:  While it may be an “old” ticket, DMV issues a penalty after a conviction as if the conviction took place on the date the ticket was issued.  Thus, if you had a bad record when you got the ticket two years ago, a Judge or the DMV may ultimately issue a suspension based on what you record looked like when you got the ticket even though at the time of the hearing you have an outstanding driving record.

Q:  Will I get suspended at 11 points?

A:  Eleven is sometimes a strict cut-off point and sometimes just a general reference point.  It depends on which court you are in, who the hearing officer or judge is, how the points were accumulated, whether you completed a defensive driving class, etc.  If you exceed 11 points, you may not automatically be suspended but you are certainly in danger of it.  Under 11, it is still possible to get suspended but outside of special situations like CDL or probation it’s more exception than norm.

Q:  Should I wait until after I’m convicted of a ticket to take the class?

A:  No.  Take it after you get the ticket but prior to any conviction.  The timing of the class isn’t imperative in every case, but this is generally the safest time to take it and it offers the greatest degree of protection that way.

Q:  Can I just pay traffic violation fines in NY but get no points?

A:  Point values are technically set in stone.  If you are issued a speeding ticket for 45 in a 30 zone (four points) and are convicted of it, you will get four points.  No way around it. However, if the prosecutor or court agrees to change the violation altogether to disobey a traffic device (two points) or seatbelt (no points) then you can get fewer or no points at all.  That’s a different situation where the actual violation must be amended to a different charge with a different point value.  Most courts (not the NYC TVB) are open to these types of changes.   While point values themselves are set and can’t be altered, sometimes the violation itself can be.