After dealing with an issue yesterday, we thought it was worth a quick reminder. If you have a traffic ticket answerable to the TVB (mostly NYC traffic tickets, also includes Suffolk County, Buffalo and Rochester) be very careful how you handle it.
The Administrative Law Judges in the TVB have a great deal of discretion. They are actual employees of the DMV and with that comes the power to suspend people for just about any reason. Yesterday, we saw an individual suspended and he never saw it coming.
Apparently, he had a prior hearing date and rescheduled it online. Completely on time, no problems. It was then rescheduled for a later date. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it on that date so he came in the next day to explain. The TVB gives a 30 day cushion to come to court if you miss a hearing date so obviously he was well within that.
The motorist appeared in front of a judge as per the clerk’s instructions. The judge told him “here’s a new date, in June, but you are suspended until then”. Did it with ZERO explanation. The motorist was forced to pay the ticket on the spot because he needed his license.
The penalty? Approximately $270 due to the court, a $450 state surcharge due to New York and eight points on his license. The judge knew what he was doing–$720 in fines and surcharges, points, likely insurance increases…and all this guy wanted was another date in court.
The law is supposed to err on the side of giving people their day in court. Suspending someone so quickly, when their request for another hearing date was so reasonable, is just ridiculous and mean spirited. No other way around it.
This isn’t an indictment of the system itself other than the fact that such discretion is given to each ALJ. Most judges would have rescheduled this case no questions asked and many judges will actually exercise their discretion to help the motorists in certain situations. Moreover, there are some situations that fully merit suspension where motorists are abusing the system, obviously delaying or otherwise clearly at fault.
This is just a warning. This situation did not merit a suspension by any standard except some twisted standard this particular judge employed this particular day. The thing to remember here is that you never know who you are appearing in front of when you have a case at the TVB and anyone planning to appear there should be very careful and gather as much information as they can before proceeding.