In most states, common traffic tickets are considered minor infractions and only more serious violations, like DUI, can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
In New York, traffic violations are more serious because many traffic violations are considered misdemeanors. While misdemeanors are the lowest level of crime, they are still legally criminal and entitle you to a trial by jury.
What are the Consequences for Traffic Misdemeanors in New York?
While most moving traffic violations carry points and a fine, convictions for certain traffic violations will lead to an automatic suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. One example is Driving Without Insurance (VTL 319.1). Being found guilty of driving without insurance in New York will automatically lead to a one year revocation of your driver’s license. In addition, you will be required to pay a $750 civil penalty along with a fine and surcharge.
A Driving Without Insurance conviction is not the only way your license can be revoked. If you plead guilty to, or are convicted of, three or more speeding tickets or three or more misdemeanor traffic convictions (or any combination of the two) within 18 months, you will automatically receive a 6 month revocation of your license. In New York, you may additionally face jail time and incur a criminal record for many common traffic offenses because most are technically misdemeanors.
If you’re found guilty of Driving With a Suspended License (Section 511.1a of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law) you will end up with a criminal record, unless you were under the age of 19 when the offense was committed and are granted youthful offender status by the court.
Other traffic misdemeanors in New York you want to be careful to avoid include: VTL 375-I Inadequate Brakes, VTL 512 Revoked Registration, and VTL 1182 Unauthorized Speed. Again, any of these misdemeanor traffic offenses in New York will be on your permanent record unless you fall under the age of 19, as stated above.
In addition, you have to pay close attention to not accumulating points that will automatically be added to your driver’s license regardless of whether you have a New York issued license or an out-of-state license. In the state of New York, if you accumulate 6 or more points within 18 months, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles will impose a driver assessment fee. The driver assessment fee is in addition to any fines, surcharges and court fees the court may impose. The New York State Driver assessment fee starts at $300 ($100 per year for 3 years) for 6 points. As the points increase, so does the driver assessment fee. For every point over 6 points, the drivers assessment fee is $75 ($25 per year for 3 years).
How to Fight a Traffic Violation in New York
Many people who receive a traffic violation choose to pay the fine and move on, but by doing so, you admit guilt. Instead, you can try to negotiate with the prosecutor or contest the violation in court.
Depending on your unique situation, it’s best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor rather than pleading guilty and taking the violation. In New York even a visual estimate by an officer that you were speeding is enough for a conviction. By negotiating with the prosecutor, your lawyer may be able to reduce the fine or stop the charge from appearing on your driving record, which affects your automobile insurance rates.
Do you really want to take the chance of negotiating against seasoned prosecutor you’ve never met? You can take that chance, or you can take charge by hiring an experienced lawyer who has established relationships with the DA’s to represent you.
Want to Avoid a Permanent Criminal Record? The Attorney You Choose Matters
Traffic charges must be taken seriously because they can impact the driver’s life permanently. If you or someone you love has been charged with a traffic-related misdemeanor or felony, you need the expertise of Adam Bolotin, a criminal defense attorney that knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. Adam Bolotin has many years of experience representing clients facing misdemeanor and felony traffic charges. If you or a loved one have received any traffic tickets, call Mr. Bolotin directly at (646)-368-8688 or click here to schedule a free consultation.