Clients and potential clients ask us all the time about how to handle a NY traffic ticket, about points on their license, about suspensions, out of state tickets, etc.
If you want advice on how to handle a speeding ticket, NY driver license or any other related issue, feel free to give us a call or submit an inquiry to our firm.
Here, instead of advising what to do, we give your our Top 20 List of What NOT To Do if you are issued a traffic ticket in NY or ultimately convicted of a New York traffic ticket.
1. Do not rely on what the police officer tells you on the road about the New York traffic ticket. If the officer gives you wrong information, intentionally or not, no judge or court or enforcement agency is going to do anything about it. We can think of a hundred more reliable places to get information about a NY ticket than from the one person who is issuing you the ticket and will appear as a witness against you in court.
2. Do not rely on what you “heard” from a “friend” or “read somewhere”. First, there is a lot of wrong information out there. Second, your “friend” is giving advice based on one, maybe two incidents or experiences. We’ve handled thousands NY traffic violation cases and related issues and we can say for sure one or two incidents is far from enough of a sample for one to give advice.
3. Do not believe the “overpayment” myth. The myth says that if you are convicted of a traffic ticket, you should pay a few dollars more to the court because the extra payment will prevent the DMV or TVB or other agency from “closing out” your case and therefore putting points on your NY driver license. The reality is that driver license points and the fine payment have nothing to do with each other. Once guilty, the points associated with the particular traffic violation attach to your record whether you pay the fine early, later, never, in part or in full.
4. Do not rely on a police “no show” or believe such a “no show” will lead to an automatic dismissal of the traffic ticket. First, especially during tough economic times, a premium is put on police officer attendance because convictions equal money. Second, even if the officer does fail to show many judges and courts will give the officer another chance to appear.
5. Do not think that an officer in a moving vehicle cannot measure your speed. First, an officer may be using his speedometer to pace you. Second, an officer may simply be estimating your speed visually and, if the officer is properly trained to do this from a moving vehicle, such an estimation may hold up in court.
6. Do not believe that all the rules of the road must be posted somewhere on the road. Yes, there must be some “notice” letting you know that what you did or are about to is prohibited, but this “notice” may exist in a statute book. In NYC, for example, if no speed limit is posted, the limit is automatically 30mph. There are also truck routes that must be followed by trucks and these routes are listed only in the NYC Traffic Rules. There are also operational rules, such as rules with respect to turning, signaling, etc. that you won’t find posted anywhere on the street.
7. Do not assume that by mailing a traffic ticket or traffic ticket fine payment to a traffic court on time means the matter is automatically settled. Things get lost in the mail or even lost on a court clerk’s desk somewhere. Even if you mail something and request and receive a return receipt, you’ll never have proof of what was actually in the envelope. Follow up on anything mailed to a court, whether it’s placing a call or checking to see if a check has cleared or some other action. Whenever a transaction can be completed online–NYC traffic tickets in particular–try to take advantage. The confirmation you’ll get is worth it.
8. Do not assume that a traffic court or the DMV can’t make a mistake. It happens all the time, whether it’s a sloppy handwritten note in a file or a simple data entry error. Review all documentation carefully and bring any mistakes to the attention of the proper individual or agency.
9. Do not go to court under the impression that your “simple, logical explanation” is going to do the trick. Never forget that there is an officer who issued the ticket who will see it and explain it differently and tell the judge just that. Same rule applies on the road—you are unlikely to talk an officer out of issuing a ticket with “my wife is having a baby” or “ I just had surgery” or “I have to go to the bathroom”. True or false, officers hear these all the time and are rarely swayed.
10. Do not consider a PBA or equivalent card constitutes a “get out of the ticket free” pass. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. We’ve seen actual police officers issued traffic tickets so no one is safe, PBA card or not.
11. Do not think that “it was a trap” is a defense. Enforcement officers don’t go to a location to entrap drivers and they do not force drivers to commit traffic violations. They go to locations where drivers are likely to commit violations and look to pull over those who do. Enforcing trouble spots isn’t entrapment—it’s smart.
12. Do not think that 11 points on your NY driver license means a suspension as per the DMV. In some cases, suspension can come before you reach 11 and in other cases you may pass 11 points and continue to drive with a valid status.
13. Do not believe you can just ask a court or judge to reschedule a case and that it will automatically be granted. Some have very strict adjournment policies and, if you can’t attend court, make sure you know for sure a case can be adjourned before you decide not to attend
14. Do not proceed under the impression that you need a traffic ticket attorney to win or that retaining a traffic ticket lawyer is a guarantee of success. In some cases unrepresented motorists win and in others represented motorists lose. It’s fair to say, however, that representation by an experienced NY traffic ticket attorney will indeed greatly increase your chances of success.
15. Do not place any stock whatsoever in the “one size fits all” books and websites that promise guaranteed tips and tricks and methods for beating traffic tickets. The notion that there is some secret that applies to every judge in every court in every town in every county in every state in the entire country is completely ridiculous. Procedures and laws differ everywhere you go.
16. Do not believe the “Red Car Bias” myth. A commonly held misperception is that red cars tend to receive more speeding tickets than cars of other colors because of their flashiness. There’s also the supposed optical illusion created by their color that makes the cars appear to be going faster than they really are. There is no data to support the assertion that red cars receive more traffic tickets than cars of any other color nor data that suggests insurance rates are automatically higher for red colored cars.
17. Do not go to court under the impression that a single mistake on your ticket means your case will automatically be dismissed. It’s just not true with NY moving violations.
18. Do not think that your speeding ticket NY will be dismissed because the officer failed to show you his radar gun at the time of the incident. The officer doesn’t have to show you or say anything. Your traffic ticket serves as his “words” and you can schedule a hearing in a New York traffic court if you’d like further explanation or would like to challenge the charge on the ticket.
19. Do not ignore a traffic ticket that you received in another state. The interstate Driver License Compact is an agreement between participating states that share information regarding certain types of traffic convictions and there are only a handful of states that are not members of the compact. There is also the National Driver Register, a database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended due to serious traffic violations. States provide the register with information about these serious offenses, and those in the database can be denied licenses in other states.
20. Do not blame the traffic enforcement officer for your situation. In most cases, it is simply a person trying to do their job well and very few officers in our experience issue bad tickets maliciously. If you disagree with a traffic ticket your received, try to understand that mistakes can be made by anyone, traffic ticket officers included.