NYC traffic tickets can be very expensive but if you fail to handle them in a timely fashion the fines and surcharges due can skyrocket.
Just got off the phone with a very nice woman. She had received two tickets in NYC–one for an 8 point speed and one for unregistered vehicle.
If she had simply pled guilty and paid them or even tried to fight and lost, she would have been out about $405 in fines and surcharges for the tickets and another $450 in driver assessment fees based on the number of points accumulated. Expensive, yes…but that’s a different conversation.
This is more about what happens when you just ignore the tickets (no–they don’t just magically go away).
First comes a suspension on each ticket for failure to answer. In order to lift these suspensions, $70 must be paid to terminate each of them. Add $140 now to the potential total due.
Next comes a default conviction. If the TVB still hasn’t heard from you after they suspend your license, you will be found guilty by default. In this woman’s case, they tacked an additional $405 on top of the speeding ticket and an additional $95 on top of the registration ticket. Add $500 to the total due.
Finally, once default conviction is entered, these elevated fines are due instantly and thus are automatically considered late the moment the conviction is entered. I happen to think this practice is absolutely criminal and that there’s a potential class action law suit in there somewhere but again that’s a different conversation. Late fines on two tickets? Two more suspensions and another $70 for each suspension to clear. Add another $140 to the total due.
What was at worst an $855 expense turned into a $1635 nightmare.
Lesson 1: Try to fight these things. A potential $855 in fines and surcharges and eight points and even larger potential insurance increases make the effort and potential legal fee if you go that route well worth it.
Lesson 2: No matter what you do, don’t ignore your TVB case. It’s ONLY going to get worse.