Queens is home to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airport. Queens also has many highways connecting the city to the beaches and other summer getaways. There are lots of cars driving to and from Manhattan, commuters, etc. This all contributes to a very large number of tickets issued in the borough of Queens every year– approximately 259,000 tickets.
Between fines, surcharges and potential insurance increases, a ticket for a moving violation in Queens can amount to a significant expense. Most violations also carry license points (generally the more “danger” posed, the higher the point value) and accumulation of too many points (11 is the rule of thumb) can lead to a license suspension.
At Feifer & Greenberg, we offer free consultations with a Queens traffic ticket attorney. Call us at (888) 842-5384 or contact us online today to learn about all your legal options if you’ve received a ticket in Queens.
The Most Common Traffic Violations in Queens
On average, about 32,000 tickets are issued for driving 11-30 miles per hour over the speed limit. This is a violation of New York’s speeding ticket law, VTL §1180.
Cell Phone Use
We also see a lot of VTL §1225(c) & (d) tickets for drivers using phones or electronic devices while a vehicle is in motion. This is considered a five point summons.
Disobeying Traffic Control Devices
Disobeying a traffic control device is a violation of New York’s traffic control device law, VTL §1110(a). If you are found guilty, you could face fines and two points added to your license.
Failing to Stop for a School Bus
If you are found guilty of failing to stop for a school bus, under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1174(c), as a first-time offender you are subject to a fine of a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $400.
A second conviction within three years of the first conviction will cost you a fine of $600 – $750.
If you get a third conviction within those three years, you are looking at a fine between $750 and $1,000.
The school bus law actually allows for penalties on top of the fine that can be much worse than a mere fine.. For a first offense alone, you could be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. For a second offense within that three-year period you could get up to 180 days in jail, and the third offense could earn you another 180 days in jail.
The law states that offenders can receive both fines and imprisonment, so, if you are found guilty of three citations for failing to stop for a school bus within three years, you could be subjected to over $2,000 in fines and over a year in jail.
You will also receive five points on your license for each violation.
Prison is VERY VERY RARE in a situation like this. We don’t mention it to scare anyone. We mention it to 1) point out how serious this particular violation may be viewed by NYS and insurers and 2) point out why it’s important to do research before you decide to simply pay or plead guilty on a summons. You should always understand the potential consequences.
“Tailgating” is another term used for following another vehicle too closely and is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law §1129(a).
The requirements for adhering to this law are a bit vague– you have to leave an amount of room between vehicles that is “reasonable and prudent.” The general rule of thumb is to leave about a car’s length of space between you and the car in front of you for every 10 mph you are driving.
A violation for tailgating can earn you four points on your license, increased insurance rates, and a fine and surcharge as well.
Gathering 11 or more points on your driving record within 18 months can result in the suspension of your license.
Why not just pay the ticket?
People often want to know why they shouldn’t just pay the ticket if it’s going to cost almost as much to fight it.
The answer is generally that it’s not just about the fines due. Many convictions come with points against your license, and as points accumulate two things can happen.
First, at six points an assessment is due ($300 + $75 for every point beyond six). Next, at 11 points, license suspension becomes a real possibility.
There’s also auto insurance to consider. As convictions go on your record, they are there and remain there for 3+ years. This gives the insurance company a chance to see them and raise your rates accordingly.
Just the slightest increase in insurance rates can dwarf the cost of fighting a ticket with an attorney.
You Might Make These Mistakes Trying to Fight the Ticket On Your Own
The Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) is the agency that handles traffic ticket moving violations in Queens. The TVB is part of the NYS DMV. It’s an administrative agency and not a true court.
As an administrative body, the TVB can be a little quirkier and trickier to deal with than a typical court. They can be less flexible regarding certain issues and aren’t as concerned with your rights and the proper procedure as an actual court might typically be concerned. Even lawyers who handle similar matters outside NYC are sometimes surprised regarding some of the rules and procedures they discover on their first trip to the TVB. Lack of familiarity with the system and the people within the system could lead to a missed opportunity to get your ticket dismissed or avoid some or all of the potential penalty.
The following are just a few of the mistakes you could very easily make while trying to fight your traffic ticket on your own and/or without proper knowledge of the TVB system:
Accidentally saying something incriminating.
Without a good understanding of the law and what the judges may be looking and listening for, you could offer some information that might seem helpful to your cause but in actuality it is making your situation more difficult.
For instance, we see a lot of people try to defend themselves against a cell phone ticket by arguing that they weren’t “using” their phone but were just checking the GPS. Such a statement would end up being interpreted by the judge as an admission of guilt as this is prohibited by the section of law covering portable electronic devices. If you don’t know how “use” is defined by the proper statute and don’t understand that the law extends beyond just simple call and text then you may indeed offer some testimony that you ultimately regret and is harmful to your case.
If you assume that the officer won’t show up and your case will be dismissed, you could be caught off guard and find yourself unprepared to argue your case.
Trying to outsmart the police officer or judge.
Most of the judges of the Traffic Violations Bureau and the Queens police officers have years of experience hearing traffic violations cases, and they know the laws better than you.
With their experience, they are also likely to be focused on just a few important elements of the ticket. Trying to make lengthy arguments or otherwise veering off of relevant information can be a red flag and interpreted as someone who is avoiding the truth. Answer honestly and succinctly if you are representing yourself and try not to give the judge or officer some reason to believe you are lying.
Note that most judges and most police officers get pretty good at spotting false testimony and will have an idea what to do if they suspect someone is lying.
Counting on the judge to be lenient or understanding.
Another common mistake that people make when trying to fight their traffic ticket themselves is hoping or assuming that the judge will be lenient.
It is extremely rare that a judge will dismiss a ticket at a TVB hearing if you admit to violating the traffic law but give a “good reason” or you establish that you are a “good person”. I was late for work, I’m a teacher/Dr./essential worker, I never got a ticket before, I just lost a family member, I’m a cab/truck/professional driver and I’m going to lose my job, etc. The judge’s job is to make a decision based on the law and facts at hand and not be swayed by people’s individual personal differences.
What to Do After You Get a Ticket in Queens
After you are issued a ticket in Queens, your first step is to decide whether to plead guilty (accept the ticket) or not guilty (fight the ticket). You’re given 15 days to make your decision.
You can enter your plea on the online portal or by filling out the back of your ticket and mailing it to the address listed on the ticket. We’ll always recommend using online options when available.
If you choose to fight your ticket, you’ll be assigned a time and date to appear in court. Usually, you will appear in the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) office closest to where your ticket was issued.
If you choose to plead guilty then you’ll need to pay the ticket and accept any of the other consequences that are part of it. Once you plead guilty you cannot change your mind which is why we highly recommend a quick consultation to make sure you understand what you are facing and what your options are before just giving up and pleading guilty.
There are two TVB offices in Queens. These offices are open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4 pm. On Thursdays, hours are extended until 6 pm.
Legal Defenses for Queens Traffic Tickets
As TVB attorneys, we are generally listening to the officer’s testimony and reviewing his notes with an eye towards some omission, contradiction or other problem within the officer’s testimony as we look for some argument we can use to get the judge to agree to dismiss the charge.
Consider just one small part of typical summons like a cell phone violation–the “use”of the device via a specific observation of the device in the driver’s hand.
-The officer could omit testimony altogether regarding his specific observations that day and just generally testify to some kind of “use” of a phone without offering further detail.
-The officer might offer some testimony regarding the device in hand but may not be able to elaborate regarding what hand the device was in, where he was holding it (by his ear, his mouth, somewhere else). equipment but there could be contradictory information in his notes that we review.
-The officer might offer some testimony regarding his specific observations but there’s nothing in his notes at all about this which might raise questions regarding how he can be certain of what he observed and when he observed it.
It is also possible that you have some evidence that can help such as a dash cam video. There have been instances where a video has conclusively shown that a motorist did not do what the officer alleged in his testimony. While such video isn’t necessary in every case in order to win, it of course could be helpful in the right situation.
A quality Queens traffic ticket attorney knows what information the judges consider crucial and can help you find the types of omissions, contradictions, and flaws in police officers’ notes or recollections that can be used to help get a ticket dismissed.
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Speak to a Queens Traffic Ticket Attorney Today
If you’ve been issued a traffic ticket and charged with a moving violation in Queens, know that you have people in your corner. Call the New York traffic ticket lawyers at Feifer & Greenberg today for a free consultation.
We’ll review the details of your ticket with you and help you decide the best option for your situation.
Call us at (888) 842-5384 or contact us online today to learn more.
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