Feifer & Greenberg, LLP

Why Fight Traffic Tickets

When you receive a moving violation in New York, please do some research regarding the consequences before making any decision to just plead guilty and pay the summons.  There typically are consequences that can be immediately of concern or could easily accumulate into a bigger issue if you have any other tickets in your past or future.  Most attorneys will offer some form of consultation if you reach out about a ticket and have questions about the potential consequences and your options from trying to avoid them.  As vehicle and traffic lawyers we offer many such consults every day and are available to answer any questions if you have a ticket or related issue and aren’t sure what to do or what you are facing.  Some of the things you may discuss with a traffic ticket attorney include:


When you receive a traffic citation, your insurance provider will look at you as a higher risk than the average driver.  While some states might offer the most basic protections from sudden insurance rate spikes for the most minimal traffic violations, it’s quite easy to see your rates rise quickly and dramatically from seemingly basic moving violations.


There is a difference between suspensions and revocations of your driving record.   With suspensions, your privilege to drive is lost temporarily, either for a specific set amount of time or indefinitely until you take a particular action to clear the suspension (like paying an overdue fine on a ticket).   When the suspension clears, you can start driving again.  With a revocation, once the designated revocation period is over a driver needs to actually reapply for a license again.  Both are obviously something one would look to avoid.  


Most convictions come with DMV point values and DMV will calculate a driver’s point total at certain points in time in order to determine whether assessments are due (read more about those below) and when to consider suspension of a driver license.


The New York State Driver Responsibility Program started in 2004.  The program sets for that drivers who accumulate a specific number of points on their license within an 18 month period are subject to payment of the assessment.  These assessments will need to be paid whether you have a NY driver license or a license from another state and have accumulated points in NY.  The assessments start at $300 for accumulation of six points and an additional $75 is charged for every point accumulated above and beyond the initial six. 


While a typical moving violation (speeding, cell phone, disobeying a light or a sign, etc.) can affect a driver license and insurance, it stops short of creating a permanent criminal record for the motorist.  These typical traffic tickets are violations, or infractions and not technically considered a full criminal charge.  In some cases however, a simple car stop can result in criminal misdemeanor (or even felony) charge. Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (driving with a suspended license), Driving with Suspended Registration, Reckless Driving and DUI related matters are the most common we see.  Criminal charges certainly require some consultation with an attorney prior to making any decisions regarding how to handle the matter.


As a CDL holder, you have to be especially careful when it comes to handling a traffic ticket in New York.  The penalties for a commercial driver found guilty of a traffic infraction are often more severe than those for a driver with a typical license. Even if your charges are not severe enough to warrant a suspension or revocation of your license, your employer may choose to terminate you if employing drivers with traffic violation convictions on their record is against their policy and/or a strain on their insurance.


Many people every year are pulled over and issued a NY traffic ticket while driving with a license from another state (or another country, see below).  The Driver License Compact is an agreement between states in which information is exchanged regarding suspensions and traffic violations. There are currently 45 states involved in this compact as well as the District of Columbia. If you are visiting New York and receive a traffic citation, you should have an understanding both of what the penalties in NY may be and what if any penalties may follow you back to your home state. 


While NY will of course see visitors drving with licenses from a number of other countries, there’s no question that Canadian licensed drivers are at the top of the list as far as the number of drivers and number traffic tickets issued in NY.  There’s also no question that Quebec and Ontario licensed drivers are the particular Canadian drivers receiving the bulk of the tickets in NY.  These two provinces will treat your NY infraction as if it occurred right at home so Ontario and Quebec drivers have the same incentive to fight a NY traffic ticket as they would a traffic ticket issued right at home. 




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