New York Traffic Ticket and Traffic Convictions Guide
Even the safest drivers make mistakes once in a while. If you were recently pulled over and issued a traffic ticket in New York, we’re here for you. We’ve taken the mystery out of New York traffic tickets.
Filing Your Plea
After you get over the initial shock of receiving a New York traffic ticket, you need to decide how you are going to plead. You have two choices: guilty or not guilty.
If you received a speeding ticket, for example, and you know you were driving over the speed limit, then you can file a guilty plea with the court and pay your fine. In New York, speeding tickets are considered non-criminal violations and are handled by your local city courts or the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Traffic Violations Bureau, depending on where you live. Criminal violations, such as DWI or reckless driving, are addressed in the criminal courts.
With a guilty plea, you’ll be required to pay your fine and your conviction will be added to your New York driver record. You can submit your plea by mail, in person, or even online in some cases. If you are eligible, you may be able to take a Point and Insurance Reduction Program course to reduce points on your driving record, preventing an insurance rate hike.
If you plan to fight a New York traffic ticket, you’ll submit a not guilty plea and argue your case before the court. The best way to do this is to hire an attorney to represent you. If you successfully argue your case and the court dismisses your ticket, you won’t be responsible for any fines and penalties. Unfortunately, if you lose you’ll still face your court fees, as well as attorney’s fees.
Points and Traffic Convictions
The point values assigned to traffic tickets are based on the severity of the violation. Some minor moving violations are only assessed 2 points. Most common traffic tickets, like running a red light or improper cell phone use, will cost you 3 points, while major crimes like speeding 40+ MPH over the speed limit can cost you a whopping 11 points. These points remain on your record for 18 months, unless you take a New York defensive driving course.
The number of points on your record during an 18-month period is added together by the DMV computer. Points earned in another state are not included, but if your New York point total reaches 11 within that time period, your license will be suspended. In addition, it’s worth noting that points are not the only cause of a license suspension. You could lose your driving privileges if you are convicted of 3 speeding tickets within an 18-month period.
Avoiding Tickets & Dismissing Points
Aside from fighting your violation to have it dismissed by a judge, there is one more way to keep New York traffic tickets from negatively affecting your driving record. Defensive driving courses are offered to New York drivers who qualify. These courses, also called Point and Insurance Reduction Programs, can be taken online or in a classroom. Though the traffic conviction and points will appear on your driving record, completion of a PIRP course will prevent the DMV from including up to 4 points toward your driving record total. This is good news, because it could prevent a costly insurance increase or a devastating license suspension.
Even if you aren’t looking to reduce points, you could earn a mandatory New York insurance reduction by completing a PIRP. These courses are designed to encourage good driving, and by completing one voluntarily, you are entitled to a 10% discount on your auto insurance.
Check Your Driving Record
Whether you won your case in court, or you submitted a guilty plea and took a PIRP course to reduce points, you should have a look at your New York driving record. It’s a good idea to make sure you got credit for your course, or your moving violation was dismissed. In New York, points on your driving record are a big deal, so be diligent and make sure you aren’t being punished for something you worked so hard to reverse.