Looking to fight a New York speeding ticket issued in Brooklyn or Queens or Westchester or any of the small towns or villages throughout the state? Considering the consequences of speeding in NY, in most cases you probably should be looking to contest your ticket.
First, consider where you got it. Is it a NYC speeding ticket answerable to the Traffic Violations Bureau or a local court speeding ticket outside the city answerable to a village, town or county court?
If it’s one of the local courts, you’ll probably want to enter a plea of not guilty and then pursue a plea bargain with the prosecutor for that particular court. Given the option to settle/negotiate (plea bargain) before fight (trial), it’s certainly worth pursuing the settlement first. With our clients, the vast majority of speeding tickets in NY local courts are successfully settled and clients walk away with a fine and either nothing or much less on their license than the original charge would have brought.
If it’s a speeding ticket in NYC at the TVB, then there is no negotiation option. At the TVB, every speeding ticket that is challenged will proceed to a trial. The outcome will either be all (win, case dismissed, no points, no fine, like it never happened) or nothing (lose, guilty as charged). In some instances a judge has the discretion to amend the charge down by a couple of mph if it will result in fewer points, but this is an exception to the all or nothing rule that your lawyer can discuss with you if it is applicable to your particular case.
So how do we beat a speeding ticket? The goal is to find flaws in the officer’s testimony. We want to be able to ask the judge to dismiss the speeding ticket based on an error or omission or contradiction or some problem with the issuing officer’s testimony that can be presented to the judge as a potentially successful motion to dismiss.
An officer fails to mention the specific date he was trained to use the particular radar or laser used as the basis of the speeding ticket in question.
An officer fails to mention that he excluded opposite direction traffic from the zone monitored by his radar when he set up at the location in question. Failure to exclude such traffic means it’s possible a vehicle moving in the opposite direction was the one tagged by the radar.
An officer testifies that he is on the east side of a southbound highway monitoring traffic. However, when we ask to look at the notes he took at the time of the incident, it shows him in a different position on a diagram he drew.
An officer testifies that he really doesn’t independently remember the incident but that he is relying on the notes he took during the car stop to recall and refresh his recollection. However, counsel notices that he offered some testimony NOT contained in these notes that he admits he’s relying on. The veracity of this “outside his notes” testimony is now in doubt.
We get lucky and the officer’s kid spilled orange juice all over his notes that morning and he now can’t recall what happened. Hey–lucky counts too.
The moral of this story is that, whether you did or did not actually commit the speeding violation, there is hope. There’s always something you can try to do to minimize or eliminate the damage caused by a NY speeding ticket answerable to any of the courts throughout New York State.
Submitted by Scott Feifer