From what we’ve seen lately, it appears that the DMV may be encouraging judges at the TVB to crack down on drivers who continue to ignore seat belt and cell phone laws.
Both violations carry no points. In the past, we routinely told potential and existing clients not to bother retaining our firm to fight cell phone or seat belt tickets unless it was a situation where the individual had some serious existing license issues or we had some reason to believe a conviction would affect the driver’s insurance. Recently, we’ve changed our policy based on case results we’ve either been involved with or been informed of after the fact.
In multiple cases, we’ve seen judges issue suspensions to drivers convicted of driving while using a cell phone or without a seat belt in NYC where one or more such conviction was already on their driving record. We’ve seen too many examples of this to call it a coincidence and we’re now advising anyone with a seat belt or cell phone ticket answerable to the TVB to at least talk to one of our attorneys before proceeding under a false sense of “no points can’t hurt me” security.
Right now the problem is unique to the Traffic Violation Bureau which handles traffic tickets issued in New York City as well as parts of Buffalo, Rochester and Suffolk County. TVB judges have the discretion to suspend motorists for just about any reason. Compare this to the local county, town and village court judges who generally leave the decision to suspend up to the DMV itself. The DMV generally sticks to the “11 points and you are out” rule of thumb and wouldn’t act on the addition of a zero point violation to a driving record and issue an otherwise discretionary suspension.
Feel free to read more about the differences between the TVB and the local traffic courts throughout New York or to contact us if you have any questions about a seat belt ticket or cell phone ticket in NY.
Submitted by Scott Feifer