How to Fight Your Traffic Ticket In New York City vs. The Suburbs of New York and New Jersey

Fight your traffic ticket in New York City.

You may be surprised to know that New York City Traffic and Violation Bureau (TVB) Courts operate differently than the Courts in almost every other County of New York State. You need to know the difference between NYC and other NYS Courts to understand what a not guilty or guilty verdict means to you.

Many clients say, “I don’t care about the money. I just don’t want the points…” I get it. No one wants points from traffic tickets on their record. Points can be very, very expensive. There is a vast difference between how to defend your ticket in Long Island, Westchester County, Putnam County, Albany County or all Upstate Courts in general, and New York City.

In almost all of New York State and New Jersey, the procedure for contesting summonses for moving violations are similar. Similar, but not the same. You mail in the ticket summons to the town where you received the ticket. You indicate whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the court provides a hearing or conference date. You or your attorney appear on the date given. A pre-trial conference will take place before the Courts’ calendar is called. My advice here is based on over 30 years of experience defending motorists with traffic tickets.

Pre-trial Conferences for New York Cell Phone Ticket Lawyers

At the pre-trial conference, you or your lawyer will discuss with the State/County representative possible options for resolving the case. You can usually avoid trial by pleading GUILTY, often to a lesser charge. Depending upon a number of factors, the points can be reduced or totally avoided. These factors include, but are not limited to:

(a) the type of violation (some courts will not negotiate certain violations. The options with these cases will be to plead guilty to the charge or have a trial. You usually will have to return to the Court on another date for a trial.);

(b) your driving record for the 18 month period prior to receiving the summons;

(c) your interaction with the Police Officer. You NEVER want to give the officer or New York State Trooper any reason to remember you. So accept the ticket, and wait for the Officer/Trooper to tell you to leave. Then leave.

However, New York City has a unique system for contesting tickets. You can plead guilty or not guilty by:

(a) personally appearing at a Traffic Violation Bureau (TVB) office;

(b) through the internet;

(c) through the mail.

“Don’t Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket,” according to the best speeding ticket lawyer in New York City

If you plead guilty you will receive all of the points associated with the ticket automatically. So why would you plead guilty, right? Always give yourself a fighting chance. The primary difference between New York City and most all other Counties in New York State is that each traffic ticket goes to trial within the 5 boroughs of New York City. Get a ticket in New York City and you are going to trial. That means the Judge, the Officer and you. For my clients’, it will be the Officer, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and me to fight your tickets.

Click here to answer the question, How many points is my ticket?

If you plead not guilty via the internet, or if you answer the ticket at a TVB Court, you can choose your hearing date. If you answer the ticket by mail the date will be provided by New York State. If you answer by mail or at the TVB, be sure to save a copy of your summons. Our office will plead not guilty to your ticket. We have direct access to the NYS DMV on our computers through our account with the NYS DMV. The advantage is that we can monitor your court date directly from our office. Always take a picture of your ticket and save it on your cell phone. It can be helpful to see a copy of your ticket.

How long will it take for my ticket to be finished?

The court dates range from 3-12 months from the date you answer the summons. However, due to the court recent closing because of the pandemic we anticipate the time frame of 3-12 months to be longer. You or your lawyer must personally appear. The NYS DMV will send you an affidavit in lieu of appearance. NEVER submit an affidavit instead of appearing. This would greatly reduce your chances to be found not guilty. An attorney can appear as your authorized representative at your hearing. There is always an advantage to appearing in the New York City TVB Courts.

On your hearing date, the Police Officer who issued your ticket will be scheduled to appear in court. He or she will usually be appearing for many cases. When your case is called by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) the Police Officer will come to the podium with you and your attorney. The Police Officer will testify with the aid of notes in his or her memo book or notes written on their copy of your ticket. Your attorney is allowed to cross examine the Police Officer. At the end of all testimony and cross examination, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will enter a decision.

What happens in Traffic Court in New York City? Do you need a NYC Traffic Attorney?

A finding of not guilty in NYC means you will not pay a fine or receive points on your driving record. A finding of guilty in NYC leads to a fine plus a surcharge, and points on your license. Fines are determined by the type of violation and your record of convictions.

I hope this information was helpful. Referrals are the cornerstone of my law practice. Referrals are welcome and gratefully appreciated. Feel free to reach out with any questions and forward this information to friends and relatives that may find the information useful.

Police Officers and State Troopers are beginning to greatly increase the number of tickets issued.  Even following the Governor’s order to shut down all but essential services, many of our old and many new clients have contacted us for tickets issued the past several weeks for speeding, cellphone and red light violations. Continue to drive safely and obey all of the laws. Be vigilant of the status of your license. If you happen to receive a ticket, please do not hesitate to contact my office. We are still working (albeit remotely) to take care of all of our clients. Please call our office on any of the following numbers:
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