NEW YORK TRAFFIC Q & A
Being pulled over by law enforcement while operating a motor vehicle in New York State is never a pleasant experience. Whether you were pulled over for speeding or something else, you likely have questions regarding your rights and the consequences of pleading guilty.
Below, the best Nassau County traffic lawyer helps to answer some of the questions you may have. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca, P.C. today to schedule a free telephone consultation.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
At The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca, P.C. there are plenty of frequently asked questions we receive. Let’s take a look.
What Laws Govern New York Drivers?
It is important to remember that driving is a privilege, it is not an inherent right. As such, each state has the legal authority to dictate laws, regulations, and consequences of any violations that may needlessly endanger others.
New York drivers must abide by the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), as established by the New York State legislature. These laws, which are readily available online, cover a very broad spectrum of topics. From railroad and pedestrian safety to impaired driving and speeding, the VTL establishes all laws and violation consequences in New York State. With 321 chapters, however, it makes sense why drivers may not fully understand the responsibilities that come with their license. Because of the vast number of laws, it is easy to accidentally violate a traffic law in New York State.
The general rule of thumb is to always drive in a safe, prudent, and responsible manner. Your safety, as well as that of your passengers, other drivers, and even pedestrians relies on everyone’s ability to drive responsibly.
What Is the New York State Driver Point System?
To help law enforcement and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) detect and punish high-risk drivers, a point system was established. This driver point system designates a point value for each VTL violation.
Speeding tickets are the most prevalent of driving offenses. However, New York State breaks excessive speeds into specific categories and assigns escalating point values based on the severity of the offense. In New York State, the point values are as follows:
• 3 Points: Speeding (1 – 10 MPH over the speed limit)
• 4 Points: Speeding (11 – 20 MPH over the speed limit)
• 6 Points: Speeding (21 – 30 MPH over the speed limit)
• 8 Points: Speeding (40 MPH over the speed limit)
• 11 Points: Speeding (More than 40 MPH over the speed limit)
Other traffic offenses are also assigned points based on their severity. These offenses and point values include, but are not limited to:
• 2 Points: Inadequate Brakes (Employer Vehicle)
• 3 Points: Passing Improperly, Changing Lanes Unsafely, Driving in The Wrong Direction
• 3 Points: Failure to Obey Traffic Signals and Signs
• 3 Points: Failure to Yield to the Right-of-Way
• 3 Points: Railroad Crossing Violations
• 3 Points: Passenger Safety Violations
• 4 Points: Tailgating
• 4 Points: Inadequate Brakes (Personal Vehicle)
• 5 Points: Reckless Driving
• 5 Points: Failure to Stop for School Bus
• 5 Points: Improper Cell Phone/Electronic Device Use
You should note that points are only assigned to your record if you are convicted of the violation. If you are convicted, however, those points will remain on your record for 18 months. (They are also retroactively added in accordance with the date of the actual violation, not with the date of your conviction.) An accumulation of 11 points or more within an 18-month period will result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. An accumulation of 6 points, however, will trigger an automatic Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. We will talk about this more in depth below.
I Was Pulled Over in Another State; Does It Affect My New York State License?
Unless you were pulled over in Ontario or Quebec, being pulled over in another state will not affect your New York State driving record or license. Tickets and points from Ontario and Quebec, however, do carry over to your New York record due to a reciprocal agreement between the three jurisdictions.
I Received a New York Traffic State Citation, But I Have an Out-Of-State License. Will My New York State Citation Affect My License?
If you are visiting New York from another state, violations of the VTL can still result in your privileges to drive in New York being taken away. While your license will still be valid elsewhere, it will be flagged for New York law enforcement. As with a New York license, your privileges to drive in New York with your out-of-state license can be suspended or revoked depending on the severity or frequency of offenses.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Traffic Conviction?
Aside from the points, there are plenty of other consequences you may face if you are convicted of a traffic offense.
Fines and fees are pretty much guaranteed if you are convicted of a traffic violation. Increased insurance premiums are possible too. However, jail time and probation are also potential consequences. Depending on your offense, a license suspension, Driver Responsibility Assessment, and other punishments may be possible too.
In serious cases, like aggravated driving while impaired (DWI) with a child in the vehicle, you can face felony criminal charges, fines of up to $10,000 and a state prison sentence up to 7 years. Not only will your license be revoked for at least 1 year, in these cases, but the offense may stay on your driving record for your lifetime – making all other minor offenses much more serious from the start.
Will I Lose My License?
Repeated or serious VTL violators face license suspensions and revocations.
License suspensions refers to the loss of your driving privileges over a period of time. In New York State, you can have definite and indefinite license suspensions. Definite suspensions have a pre-determined start and end date. However, you must pay a termination fee before your license is reinstated. Indefinite suspensions, however, do not have a pre-set end date and will rely on your fulfillment of a mandatory requirement before your license can be reinstated.
If your license is revoked, however, your entire driver’s license becomes invalid and must be replaced after the revocation period has ended. As a result, you may be required to take a written and/or driving test again, as well as pay any application fees associated with obtaining a new license. In the most serious cases, your license may be permanently revoked. This means you will never legally be able to obtain a New York State driver’s license again.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Arrested for a Traffic Offense?
If you have been arrested for a traffic offense, it is essential that you contact a lawyer immediately. Being arrested for a driving violation is serious. Criminal records can impact your future driving privileges, as well as career potentials, financial stability, and much more. Having the best Nassau County traffic lawyer on your side can help you reduce, or even eliminate, any potential consequences of your arrest. As with any criminal offense, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent. You should not speak to law enforcement or sign anything from law enforcement without first speaking with an experienced traffic lawyer.
NEVER PLEAD GUILTY TO A TRAFFIC OFFENSE
Points on your license can rack up quickly. Because of the potential consequences of pleading guilty to any type of traffic offense, it is important to fight each ticket.
Why Fight a Traffic Offense?
We have all been late and rushed to get to our destination. If you typically never get speeding tickets, you may opt to just pay the fine, take the points, and move on. You should never just pay the fine. This is the same thing as being found guilty after trial.
Even more so those who make it a habit to speed should consider fighting any traffic offense they receive. Why? The potential consequences of repeated offenses can be seriously compounded if you should reach your allotted 11 points within an 18-month period and lose your license.
In addition to this, New York insurance premiums are notoriously high. Being convicted of even just one speeding offense can raise those rates even higher! If you are tired of high insurance premiums, you may be interested in the New York Point and Insurance Reduction Program. This program can help to reduce your insurance premiums by 10% and remove 4 points from your total point calculations.
Adding to the potential financial burden is New York’s Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. Meant to remind repeat VTL offenders to behave who have accumulated 6 or more points on their driver’s license, this fee is a 3-year punishment. Each year, it starts with a base fee of $100 to be paid to the DMV. For each point over the initial 6 points on your driver’s license, however, you are required to pay an additional $25 every year for 3 years. For example, if you have accumulated 8 points on your driver’s license and are issued a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee, you will owe $150 every year, for a period of 3 years. This is comprised of the $100 base fee plus $25 for each additional point over 6 points. Failure to pay your Driver Responsibility Assessment fee by the due date each year will result in further significant consequences including increased fines and license suspension. For those who receive additional tickets during the 3-year span, the annual amount will increase to reflect these violations.
Is It Possible to Beat a Traffic Violation?
It is possible to beat a traffic violation, even if you believe law enforcement has you dead to rights. When you hire a reputable Nassau County traffic lawyer, like Mr. Ricca – you have the best chances of beating a traffic violation. From a thorough understanding of the law to highly experienced court representation, Mr. Ricca works with you to develop a realistic strategy based on the facts of your case.
Is Legal Representation Required If I Want to Fight My New York Traffic Offense?
While you have the right to represent yourself, it is highly recommended that you seek help from a reputable and experienced legal counsel. Not only do they have a much better understanding of the laws and expectations of court conduct, they are also better able to quickly evaluate and adjust your strategy to any new information obtained during your legal fight.
A professional Nassau County traffic lawyer can help you prepare the best defense possible against any charges you may be facing. Their level of experience with specific areas of law, such as a DWIs, helps them to recognize key factors that may help boost the likelihood of a ruling in your favor.
How Do I Return My Ticket?
New York traffic tickets must be returned within 15 days of issuance. Every ticket allows you to check a “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” box. This will initiate a court hearing or automatically convict you of your offense depending on the type of response you provided. Do not forget to check the “not guilty” box if you want to contest your citation!
Always check your citation to determine the appropriate return address. Your traffic ticket should clearly define the city, town, or village court to which it should be returned. If you receive a ticket in Nassau County, you need to return it to the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency. This agency is located at 16 Cooper Street, Hempstead, NY. However, certain aggravated offenses may need to be sent to The Nassau County 1st District Court. The Nassau County 1st District Court is located at 99 Main Street, Hempstead, NY.
Why Choose The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca?
Because every case is unique, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca takes the time to investigate every avenue of the allegations against you, as well as the facts, case studies, and applicable laws. His attention to detail and reputation as a quality traffic lawyer set Mr. Ricca above the rest.
Unlike other lawyers who are eager to take on as many clients as possible in order to cash in on their misfortunes, Mr. Ricca accepts only those cases that he has time for. Together with his supportive staff, Mr. Ricca strives to provide each client with the care and attention they deserve.
From the initial consultation to any potential court proceedings, Mr. Ricca will be there every step of the way. Based on the facts of the case, as well as any applicable laws and contributing factors, Mr. Ricca can help you prepare for the most likely outcome of your case.
To schedule your free telephone consultation, contact the best Nassau County traffic lawyer today!