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A New Yorker's Survival Guide to Fighting a Speeding Ticket

A New Yorker's Survival Guide to Fighting a Speeding Ticket

Fighting a speeding ticket can be an excruciating experience for many drivers.  Our speeding ticket and traffic ticket defense lawyers speak to drivers on a daily basis who are lost in the New York legal process and simply do not know what do do if they are issued a ticket.  We have put together this guide to help answer some of the most basic questions that we encounter.  We hope this provides you with a good starting point and we encourage you to call our lawyers to learn how we can help you save money, save points on your license, and save time wasted in court.  Note, this is not a substitute for legal counsel.  Every case is unique and answers to the questions below may not be applicable in every situation.

What benefits do I receive from hiring your law firm?  Over the years, we have consistently saved our clients time, money, and points on their license.  In hiring our firm, you will get the benefit of over 30 years of legal experience and the experience of having a former prosecutor on your side. We have excelled at getting tickets either dismissed or reduced.  In light of our experience, we have gained a superb reputation in our field and we have been recognized as some of the best attorneys in New York State.  Our firm has received an AV rating which is only awarded to the 3% in the legal community.

I don't care about this ticket . . . how do I plead guilty to a ticket?  You may enter a plea of guilty by following the instructions on the tickets.  Be careful before you enter a plea of guilty to your New York traffic ticket; some tickets are misdemeanors.  A misdemeanor is a criminal conviction.  In addition, a conviction to some traffic tickets can result in your license being suspended or revoked, the payment of hundreds of dollars in fines and surcharges, and years of insurance increases.  Some tickets even carry the possibility of jail.  A national study recently found that a conviction to a speeding ticket will cause the average driver a 10% - 15% increase in their insurance.

Notwithstanding these warnings, you can enter a plea of guilty by following the instructions on your ticket. On standard tickets, these instructions will be in the portion of the ticket labeled "Section A" or "Section B."  You will receive follow-up correspondence from the court regarding your plea.  It is important that you continue to monitor you ticket to ensure it is being handled properly.

Can my attorney enter a plea of not guilty on my behalf?  With a proper authorization and with the court's consent, our lawyers can enter a plea on your behalf.  In other words, we can do this without you being in court.

What happens if I ignore my ticket?  The worst thing you can do is ignore your speeding ticket or moving violation.  Some courts will suspend your license, hold a default in your absence, or issue a warrant.  If you ignore your ticket and your license becomes suspended, you can be arrested, placed in jail, and charged with a misdemeanor or felony.  Your car can also be impounded. The process of lifting your suspension can be long and tedious.

When do I get a court date?  Most courts will give you a court date in the mail.  Some courts will give you a notice to appear in a few days while others may send you a notice several months later.  It is incumbent upon you to have proof that you entered a plea of not guilty and that you sent the appropriate papers to the court.  If the court suspends your license for failure to respond, it is very difficult to prove that you timely filed an Answer.  As such, it is important that you submit your papers with some kind of return receipt requested and that you keep a copy of whatever you send to the court.

On the ticket it says I have 48 hours to respond and it also says I have a date to appear in court to enter my plea.  Which date should I follow?  There is a highly technical reason why the ticket states that you have 48 hours to respond.  It is our recommendation that you respond to your ticket in 48 hours of receipt of the ticket.

Aren't all attorneys the same?  See our page on how to find the best lawyer for you.

Can I plead guilty with an explanation?  Pleading guilty will result in a conviction to the charge.  A reduction will not be given to you because you provided a written explanation.  In all likelihood, your explanation will never be read or considered.

What can I expect in court?  Each court will have a different protocol that they follow.  We have included some pages that may give you insight into the legal process.  See our what to expect in New York Traffic Court pages.

How many points can be assessed against my license for a speeding ticket?  Here is a quick snap of how points are assessed for speeding tickets in New York State.

Speeding Points
01 to 10 mph over the limit3
11 to 204
21 to 306
31 to 408
More than 4011

Call our lawyers now at 800-893-9645 for a consultation.

How will points on my license affect my insurance?  This is a very complicated question.  In brief, a conviction to a speeding ticket does not necessarily equal an automatic insurance increase.  There are many factors that affect your rates such as your age, your driving record, and the type to conviction that you receive.  See our page on the real cost of a ticket.

What are the fines associated with my speeding ticket?  Your fines are set by the judge.  There are statutory parameters that control how high and how low the judge can set the fines.  Keep in mind, a repeat offender can face enhanced fines on a ticket.

Do I have to go to court if I have an attorney?  Under most circumstances, our traffic ticket clients do not come to court.  Our client give us the functional equivalent of power of attorney (i.e., authorization to appear).  Very few judges will not accept the authorization and require a defendant to appear.

Can I successfully challenge a radar reading?  Fighting a radar reading can be difficult.  Keep in mind, a radar reading is not mandatory for a conviction.  A driver can be convicted based upon a police officer's personal observation.

What is the statute of limitations on a speeding ticket?  There no is statute of limitations for a speeding ticket in NY.  There is case law that provides guidance for how long a municipality can delay their prosecution.

What is the difference with TVB and local traffic courts?  There are many differences with the TVB traffic courts and local traffic courts.  Perhaps the biggest difference is the burden of proof requirement.  In local courts, you must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  One other major difference is that TVB does not allow for plea bargaining.  Instead, every case must proceed to trial.

Can I go to jail for a speeding ticket?  Yes.  A judge can impose a jail sentence for a speeding ticket.  While it is rarely imposed, it is an available sanction.

Am I entitled to a jury trial on a non-misdemeanor traffic ticket?  No.  New York traffic tickets (non-misdemeanors) are not entitled to a jury trial.

Is driving with a suspended license a misdemeanor?  Yes. In fact, it could also be a felony punishable with more than one year in jail.  The penalties for VTL 511 can include a fine and a jail sentence.

What is the driver's responsibility assessment (DRA)?  The DRA is an additional fine issued to motorist.  The DRA can be assessed for accumulating excessive points or certain convictions under the Vehicle Traffic Law.

Can the DRA be avoided with a defensive driving course?  No.  Although you will receive up to a four point reduction against your license, the points will still count against your license as far as the DRA is concerned.

How long do points stay on my license?  Points stay on your license for 18 months from the date that the ticket was issued.

Note, ever case fact specific and needs to be analyzed on a case by case basis.  This article is a mere guide but not a substitute for a consultation with an attorney.  Past results do not guarantee similar outcome in future cases.

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