Brooklyn is the most heavily populated borough in New York City with more than 2.6 million residents.
Of those 2.6 million people, about 44 percent of households own a car. With all the “visiting” non-resident vehicles also on the road each day, it’s fair to say there are a lot of cars on the road on a typical day in Brooklyn.. This means a lot of vehicle and traffic law enforcement and a lot of tickets issued.
New York City officers are out there and looking for drivers who are violating traffic laws and causing unsafe or congestion situations.. While there are plenty of people who actually commit violations, many get caught up in marginal situations or even situations where they really did nothing wrong.
Regardless of how you may view your liability, it’s important to know that you have the right to fight your ticket.
At Feifer & Greenberg, our experienced Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyers understand the Traffic Violations Bureau and how to contest tickets in these administrative venues. We’re always happy to offer free consultations to discuss your situation and the options available for handling your Brooklyn traffic ticket.
Call us at (888) 842-5384 or contact us online today.
Penalties Cost You More Than You Expect
Getting a traffic ticket in Brooklyn can cost exponentially more than you would expect. It may be tempting just to pay your ticket to avoid the time and energy that it would take to fight the ticket.
However, the fine for the violation is usually not the end of what it will cost you. If you plead guilty and pay your ticket, it’s the same as a conviction at trial. With the conviction comes not only the fine but surcharges, potential assessments, insurance increases, license points and even license action (a suspension or revocation).
Consider the person who is driving along a typical Brooklyn street and is charged with driving 46 mph in a 25 mph zone. It is this person’s first ticket ever.
The minimum fine due on the ticket is $115. Someone with an otherwise clean record might think that this isn’t too bad and just pay the summons. Consider however the rest of the potential expenses. First, a conviction will come with a mandatory $88 moving violation surcharge in New York State. Now we’re up to $203. In addition to the $203 fine and surcharge, there would be six points added to the driving record. This is more than half the points allowed on a NY record. One single speed for 46/25 in NYC can bring someone more than half of the way towards a license suspension even if this person has never received a ticket before in their life.
Beyond the points, fine and surcharge New York has something called a Driver Responsibility Assessment. Drivers who accumulate six or more points are also required to pay a fee of $300 (and then $75 for each point over six). The cost of the six point NY speeding ticket is now up to $503 at a minimum.
While we just saw a $115 fine become $503 due faster than this person was allegedly driving, all of this might ultimately be the least of the potential expenses when insurance is considered. Insurance rates will of course differ for people based on their history, where they live, their policy, driving record, etc. it can often be the most costly part of a traffic violation conviction. As lawyers we’ve heard of nightmare scenarios where individuals experienced increases to the extent they could no longer afford the necessary insurance.
All of this is for ONE ticket after a driver is stopped for driving 46 in a 25 mph zone. What happens if there’s a second ticket issued for a lane change violation or a cell phone violation? More points, more fines and surcharges, higher driver assessments, more likely insurance increases…it can build up to an insurmountable expense much quicker than one would think it could.
If you plead not guilty, you have a chance to fight your tickets and avoid all of that if you win. There are no guarantees fighting a ticket means you will indeed win and avoid all the penalties but the only way it is even possible to do so is to plead not guilty and schedule a hearing date. The chances of success are probably better than you think when a case is fought properly.
Most Common Tickets in Brooklyn
There are many different violations cited on summonses daily throughout Brooklyn. However, there are a few that are more common than others.
By far, the most common is disobeying a traffic device. There have already been 13,486 violations between January and March of 2022 in the five boroughs. A violation of VTL §1110(a), disobeying a traffic control device (such as a no-turn sign or a pavement marking directing traffic) can result in a fine and two points added to your license.
The next common violations are speeds between 11 and 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. 18,760 speeding tickets have been given out in the five boroughs between January and March of 2022. These speeds are violations of VTL §1180 and come with a fine and points (11-20 over the limit is four points and 21-30 over the limit is six points).
It’s important to note that regardless of where in NYC you are fighting tickets or what type of violations may be on your record, accumulating 11 or more points in any 18 month period can lead to a suspension. There are many different ways a license or privilege can be suspended–too many points is just one of them.
Many tickets are issued in Brooklyn and points and penalties can add up quickly. Generally, it’s a good idea to at least briefly consult with a vehicle and traffic attorney (most offer free consultations) if you have any questions about any summonses.
What Happens After You Get a Traffic Ticket in Brooklyn
The City of New York will be behind the issuance of an incredibly large volume of traffic tickets every year. The Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) is NYS agency that is part of the DMV and is responsible for adjudicating traffic violation charges throughout NYC.
When you are issued a ticket in NYC, the first thing to know is that you’re given 15 days to respond. It’s not necessarily a very “hard” deadline but you’ll want to decide how you’re handling the case much sooner than later.
Whether you choose to fight the ticket by pleading not guilty or decide to accept it and plead guilty, you can make your intentions known via the TVB online portal or via mail. We’ll always recommend using the portal so there’s no delay and there’s confirmation of the transaction. We also recommend speaking to one of our attorneys as soon as possible before you make your decision, especially if you are tempted to enter a guilty plea and just pay the ticket.
Fighting Your Ticket
If you choose to plead not guilty, you will be issued a court date and assigned to a particular TVB office, typically the one closest to where you received the citation.
There are two TVB offices in Brooklyn – Brooklyn North and Brooklyn South. Both offices are open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4 pm. On Thursdays, hours are extended until 6 pm as an additional court session starting at 4:30 is added to the calendar.
Unlike other traffic courts throughout New York, the TVB does not offer plea bargaining. Every case where a “not guilty” has been entered will proceed to a trial/hearing. The outcome of said hearing is all or nothing, win or lose. There are no deals where you may be able to pay a fine but avoid points.
There aren’t any short cuts or easy ways out of a NYC traffic ticket other than understanding what it takes to be successful at a TVB hearing. It’s a myth that your case will be dropped if it takes too long or the points won’t “count” after a certain time period or the police officer who issued the ticket doesn’t show up. It is rare that the officers don’t show up, and when they don’t, the judges often reschedule the court date for another time.
How an Attorney Can Help
Worth noting with the TVB is that officers prosecute their own tickets. There is no district attorney walking the officer through some questioning. The officers must remember details of each case and have notes to support this recollection. These officers write so many tickets and so much time might go by before a hearing date that many facts can often be omitted or otherwise presented in a problematic (for the officer) manner. This is how a Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyer can help your chances tremendously, by understanding what the traffic court judge might consider to be problematic and how to try to find such issues in a typical case.
A knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney should be able to offer an honest assessment of your situation. This includes a discussion of the charge, whether you have a history driving that merits a closer look, and what your options are moving forward.
Ultimately, an attorney’s first job is to put you in a position to make an informed decision regarding how you’ll want to handle the case. If retained, the traffic attorney’s job in NYC then turns to a focus on dismissing the ticket(s) at hand.
Feifer & Greenberg has an excellent team of experienced Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyers who can help you fight and win your case. We understand quite well how the TVB operates.
The average driver does not know the nuances of New York traffic laws and/or traffic court, and the average person visiting or driving through Brooklyn likely knows even less. Traffic laws can be confusing and the Traffic Violations Bureau can be harsh and intimidating. You have more options than just paying your ticket or trying to fight your ticket by yourself and navigating a very difficult and specific niche legal system.
With an experienced and competent traffic ticket lawyer in Brooklyn on your side, you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
Speak With a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Today
If you’ve been issued a traffic ticket in Brooklyn, always remember that you have the right to fight it.