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Common Misconceptions About Traffic Tickets in New York

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There are many common misconceptions surrounding traffic court in New York.  Some can be innocuous while other can be fatal in a legal context.  This article may help you avert some adverse consequences.  Keep in mind, every case is different and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  You should consult one of our attorneys before relying on this information.  Give us a call at 800-893-9645.

About Our Firm:  At Villanueva & Sanchala, PLLC we excel at getting tickets dismissed or reduced.  We have over 25 years of legal experience and have gained a reputation among our peers as being superb lawyers.  Our team of traffic and criminal defense lawyers is lead by Joseph P. Villanueva.  He is a former prosecutor.  Having a former prosecutor on your side can help in analyzing critical issues in your case.  This can make the difference in you keep your license or having your license suspended or revoked.

Misconception: If a New York State Police Officer fails to appear for a pre-trial conference then the ticket must be dismissed.

Reality: In a local court, State Police Officers are not required to appear in court for a pre-trial conference.  Most courts have a local prosecutor that will appear on their behalf thereby eliminating the need for the officer to appear.  Even if your case is set down for trial and an officer fails to appear in court, many judges will give a police officer a courtesy adjournment to appear on another day.

Misconception: Ignoring a speeding ticket will only result in increased fines.

Reality: Ignoring a speeding ticket is one of the worst things you can do.  Your privilege to drive can be suspended for failing to respond to a ticket.  If a person is caught driving with a suspended license, they can be arrested and charged with a criminal misdemeanor.  The process of un-suspending a license can be long and costly.

Misconception: Pleading guilty but sending a court the wrong fine amount will keep your ticket open thereby preventing points being assessed against your license.

Reality: At least once a year, someone will posit this scenario to me. I am not sure who started this rumor but it’s simply ridiculous.  There are many ways that a court can deal with an overpayment or underpayment.  Typically, a court will send you back your original payment and require you to appear in court.  They may even suspend your license for failure to pay.

Misconception: A conviction resulting in points against your license will result in a proportionate insurance increase.

Reality: Sometimes the number of points on your license will result in an insurance increase but that’s not 100% necessarily true.  Most insurance companies are concerned about the “type” of conviction you receive and not the points associated with the conviction.  Insurance companies have a merit point system and there are many factors including but not limited to the age of a driver, the type of car that is driven, prior accidents, and major traffic violations that will affect an insurance increase.

Misconception: Police officers are not allowed to issue a speed ticket for a driver merely driving 10 mph above the posted speed limit.

Reality: There is no such thing a 10 mph speed cushion.  An officer can issue a speeding ticket for merely driving 1 mph over the speed limit.  The easiest way to avoid a ticket is to be vigilant and obey all traffic law, rules, and regulations.

Misconception: The officer improperly followed me for 2 miles before he pulled me over.  He is required to pull me over as soon as he thought I was speeding.

Reality: While it makes a lot of sense for an officer to pull over a car immediately upon seeing a traffic violation, there are many legitimate reasons for a delay in pulling over a car.   For the most part, such a delay will not defeat the validity of a traffic violation.

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We also defend clients against criminal matters such as Pelham DWI, Assault, UPM, Marijuana charges, and Drug Possession.
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