Vehicle & Traffic Law

DON'T JUST PLEAD GUILTY!

In the first place, you might be pleading guilty to a crime. ('Inadequate brakes' and 'reckless driving,' for example, are misdemeanors). There’s a lot of fine print on a ticket: read it!

Even a simple traffic infraction in New York can cost hundreds of dollars in fines and surcharges. It can result in increased insurance rates and a multi-year ‘driver responsibility assessment’ from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Traffic convictions may lead to suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.

FINES AND SURCHARGES

Fines can be heavy: For instance, your first speeding conviction will cost anywhere from $45 to $150 in fines, if the speed is 10 mph or less over the limit; for speeds of 11 to 30 mph over, fines run from $90 to $300.

Added to the fine for a moving violation, will be a mandatory surcharge: most violations carry an $85 surcharge in a town or village court, $80 in a city court. So, if the fine is $45 you will actually pay a minimum of $125.

POSSIBLE JAIL TIME

You could face up to 90 days in jail for some violations. Convicted of speeding? A judge is permitted to sentence you to 15 days for as little as 11 mph over the limit. A 30 day sentence is authorized for 31 mph over the limit. (A jail sentence for speeding is very rare; if there are no aggravating circumstances, you shouldn’t lie awake at night worrying about it. But it can happen).

INSURANCE RATES

Your insurance rates may go up because of traffic violations. For instance, if you are a New York State resident, the law allows your insurer to raise your rates if you are convicted of driving 16 mph over the speed limit, or for two moving violations of any severity occurring within 18 months.

POINTS

New York ’s Department of Motor Vehicles assigns points for any moving violation. Point values range from 2 points for failing to obey a traffic control device to 11 points for speeding more than 40 mph over the speed limit.

'DRIVER RESPONSIBILITY ASSESSMENT'

Pick up 6 or more points within 18 months, and you’ll get a ‘Driver Responsibility Assessment’ from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The assessment is $100 per year (for 3 years) if you have 6 points. For each point over 6, add an additional $25 per year.

Fail to make a payment, and your driving privileges will be suspended.

SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION

If you accumulate 11 points within 18 months, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driving privileges. The suspension period is usually 31 days, but can be longer. (Once the suspension period ends, you can pay a suspension termination fee and get your license back).

If you are convicted of 3 speeding violations within 18 months, the Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke your license for a minimum of 6 months. You do not get your license back automatically once the minimum revocation period ends. You must re-apply, and that re-application may be denied.

CALL US

At LeCours, Chertok & Yates, LLP, we handle hundreds of traffic tickets a year. In some cases we can get the charge dismissed. In the vast majority of cases we can negotiate a plea to a reduced charge, usually without our client ever having to appear in court.

If you have a ticket anywhere in upstate New York, including Saratoga, Albany, Warren, Washington, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Fulton, Montgomery, Oneida and Herkimer counties, give us a call today at 518-583-4600 or contact us online.

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