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Tag Archives: driver responsibility assessment

This Social Media App Could Kill Your Kids

Technology is constantly evolving and new forms of social media are being created every day. Snapchat is the newest and most popular social network; just about everyone has it on their phone or knows someone who actively uses it. It’s a combination of a video and photo app complete with the ability to add and write captions, filters and even a speedometer filter. Users, who are largely made up of teens are living in the super connected age; they never want to miss a thing, so they’re always logged on. This means snapping while in school, out with friends and even in the car. The biggest problem with this app is that users are “snapping” while behind the wheel.

According to Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students against Destructive Driving (SADD) a survey that was taken of 11th and 12th graders across the country proved that teens are using snapchat more than any other form of social media when driving. Out of all other possible digital distractions, Snapchat ranked highest at 38%. There are an alarming number of car accidents and fatalities being caused by users that were snapping while driving. The speedometer filter is also a major factor in users snapping while driving. There have been reports of teens in car accidents who were snapping while their speeds were maxing over 100 MPH.

snap and drive

It’s important that parents have conversations about distracted driving and the consequences of using Snapchat and other social media apps while driving.  With Snapchat’s growing popularity and constant updates making it even more enticing to use whenever and where ever; teens need to know that it’s okay to put the phone down. In New York, lawmakers are pushing for Text and Driving/Distracted Driving tickets to be treated like DWIs. A conviction may result in license suspension. Snapchat’s core users are under the age of 24 and new drivers cannot afford a five point ticket (Improper use of Portable Electronic Device).

Make sure you speak to your children about their phone usage while behind the wheel. Remind them that it is against the law, can cost them (or you the parent) money, points on their record or even worse, their life. If you or someone in your family has received a summons for using an electronic device while driving, please do not hesitate to contact me. Young drivers should not have any infractions on their records, and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney I can fight for them. Contact me at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

 

Photo: NY Times 

New York Ticket Lawyer: Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee

About the Driver’s Responsibility Assessment Fee

If you accumulate 6 or more points within 18 months, you are required to pay a DRAF—Drier Responsibility Assessment Fee.  On November 2004, then-governor, George Pataki, authorized the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.

This fee is added onto any court-imposed penalty, such as a fine or suspension.  It is generally sent to the driver as a separate bill from the DMV, within 30 days of the court-hearing.

The DRAF is imposed upon ALL motorists, in New York as well as those from other states.  The cost of the fee is based on the amount of points on the driver’s record as listed below:

 

Amount of Points Total DRAF
6 Points $300
7 Points $375
8 Points $450
9 Points $525
10 Points $600
11 Points $675
12 Points $725
13 Points $800
14 Points $875

For each point over 14, the driver is required to add an additional $75 to the 14-point penalty. The DRAF can be paid in one installment or in three equal installments over the course of 3 years.

If a driver is convicted of an alcohol, drug related offense or for the refusal to take a chemical test, the DRAF is $750.

It’s important to pay the DRAF in a timely manner.  Failure to pay the fee when it is due may result in a license suspension.  Sometimes drivers are unaware of the fine because the DMV sends the bill to an incorrect address.  The driver becomes aware of the unpaid fee after being pulled over by a police officer.  A police officer may arrest someone for a suspension arising out of failure to pay, so it’s important to be sure that the DMV has a correct address for you.  You can pay for the DRAF through the DMV website or in person.

If you are unsure about the amount of points on your license or the information on your driver’s record, you may request a Driver’s Abstract from the DMV.  Remember that accumulating 11 or more points within an 18 month period, your driver’s license may be suspended.

If you would like to lower the amount of points on your license, the Driver Safety Class will remove 4 points from your record, but will not help you avoid the DRAF.  Thus, the Driver Safety Program is an excellent idea if you are looking to avoid suspension due to license points, but if you’ve already incurred a fee, it’s important to pay it as soon as possible.

*Photo Credit: “Drivers License – Teen Driver” By: State Farm/Source: Flickr

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What is Vision Zero?

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his Vision Zero policy as a way to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. Studies that led to the creation of Vision Zero claim that 4,000 people are injured each year in New York City traffic crashes while another 250 are killed due to involvement in a traffic crash. The basic tenets of Vision Zero are as follows:

• There is no such thing as a traffic accident – instead, they are crashes that could have been prevented.
• There is no acceptable level of injury or death that stem from traffic crashes.
• The public should expect safe traffic behavior on the streets.

How does Vision Zero affect New York drivers? Vision Zero studies estimate that 70% of traffic crashes involving pedestrians are caused by driver actions, specifically speeding, failure to yield and improper turns, texting / talking while driving, and signal violations. As such, New York City has increased the enforcement of speeding and failure to yield violations in some effective ways.

Speeding
In November 2014, the un-posted speed limit in New York City was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph as part of the Vision Zero initiative. In addition, enforcement of the new speed limit was heavily increased – in the first few months, the number of speeding tickets issued in NYC skyrocketed 40% from the previous year. Drivers have reported getting speeding tickets for going only 1-5 mph over the speed limit, which has not always been the case in NYC. The penalties for speeding tickets vary anywhere from 3-11 points depending on how fast over the speed limit the driver was going. 11 points or 3 speeding tickets within an 18 month period is often grounds for driver’s license suspension, while 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about an extra fee in the form of the Driver Responsibility Assessment.

Failure to Yield, Improper Turns, and Signal Violations
One of the biggest changes to come out of Vision Zero is the fact that drivers who fail to yield the right of way and seriously injure or kill pedestrians can now be charged with misdemeanors. In addition, the number of failure to yield tickets issued by the NYPD increased over 125% from the previous year. City bus drivers feel they are unfairly targeted by this new enforcement, especially since they are tasked with running tight schedules to keep commuters moving. 6 city bus drivers have been arrested since the change to the failure to yield law, though one of them was just recently cleared of any wrongdoing. Improper turn and signal violation tickets are already fairly common in New York City as “right on red” is typically not allowed on city roads, though it is allowed in other parts of New York as well as the surrounding states. Failure to yield tickets carry a penalty of 3 points, while improper turn and signal violations carry 2 point penalties.

Texting / Talking While Driving
One of the worst tickets drivers can get in New York is the cell phone / portable electronic ticket. Not only is it a high-point ticket (5 points), but it is also a difficult ticket to fight. Unfortunately, as part of Vision Zero and other distracted driving awareness pushes, there has been a huge increase in the number of cell phone tickets issued in New York. The burden of proof for a cell phone ticket is fairly low – an officer merely needs to see the cell phone in the vicinity of a driver’s head to issue the ticket, and drivers will typically need to pull call records from their cell phone provider to prove they were not on the phone at the time in order to stand much of a chance of beating this ticket. A police officer may issue a portable electronics ticket to drivers if they are touching any handheld electronic device – this includes iPods and MP3 players, GPS devices, and tablets.

Impact
Mayor de Blasio claimed that Vision Zero has been a great success, especially since 2014 proved to be the safest year for pedestrians in New York City since 1909. However, the mayor let everyone know there was still much work to be done since the goal of Vision Zero is to totally eliminate pedestrian traffic deaths. Other reports say that Vision Zero has seen mixed results since its roll out, with pedestrian deaths lowering in some parts of the city while actually rising in other areas.

Future
Judging by the amount of tickets written in New York City due to Vision Zero initiatives, as well as the relative success of the policy in its first year, it is a very safe bet the program will not only continue, but that officials will not rest on their laurels. Expect to see an even stronger focus on the targeted enforcement of Vision Zero violations as officials strive to reach their goal of eliminating all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. It’s possible that in order to reach this goal, higher monetary fines and point values will be attached to Vision Zero traffic tickets, all while steadily increasing enforcement of these traffic violations.

If you receive a speeding ticket, failure to yield ticket, cell phone ticket, or any other Vision Zero traffic ticket, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

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Long Island Driver Arrested for Driving Drunk while on a Cell Phone

A driver was pulled over in Hampton Bays this weekend after police observed him tailgating and using a cell phone without a hands-free device. Upon stopping the driver, police officers determined him to be intoxicated and unlicensed. He was charged with DWI and operating without a license, which are both criminal charges. He was also ticketed for following too closely and operating a vehicle while using a cell phone.

A DWI conviction can result in heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, and extra penalties in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. An unlicensed operation conviction could result in heavy fines and possible jail time, though the jail sentence is very unlikely. A following too closely ticket carries a penalty of 4 points on a driver’s license, while a cell phone ticket has a penalty of 5 points.

If you receive traffic tickets on Long Island, or if you are charged with DWI or unlicensed operation, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What Happens When I Get a Traffic Ticket?

Traffic tickets are an unfortunate reality for New Yorkers. From crackdowns on speeding to heavy fines imposed on cell phone violations, drivers always take the risk of receiving a traffic ticket when they drive in New York. While it might be better to just pay a New York parking ticket and move on, it’s almost never advisable to plead Guilty to moving violations in NYC due to the large fees and penalties that drivers face when convicted of those offenses. Instead of risking losing their driver’s licenses by going it alone, drivers should hire NYC traffic ticket lawyers to see what can be done to help.

NYC Traffic Tickets

There are so many different traffic laws for New Yorkers to know that it’s inevitable for drivers to slip up and receive a traffic ticket. Almost every moving violation in New York carries points, such as Failure to Yield (3 points) and Following Too Closely (4 points). Most NY traffic tickets usually have 2 or 3 points, but there are some offenses that are more heavily penalized due to their severity. Speeding tickets in NY range from 3 to 11 points, depending on how fast the driver was going when observed by the police officer. Cell phone tickets, reckless driving tickets, and passing a stopped school bus tickets each carry 5 points – these are the highest point tickets in New York besides high speeding tickets. If a driver accumulates 11 points on their driver’s license within an 18 month period, their license may be suspended. In addition, 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about extra fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. The points can also cause insurance premiums to increase, which will cost drivers far more money beyond just the original traffic ticket fine.

Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Tickets

Over the past few years, New York has passed a number of more stringent traffic laws, such as penalizing the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices in an effort to combat distracted driving fatalities. Cell phone tickets initially did not have points attached to them, but that changed in February 2011 when all cell phone tickets also came with 2 points. In June 2013, that penalty was increased to 5 points. This is because cell phone use while driving is a huge contributor to deadly driving accidents. State and local police often stage distracted driving crackdowns multiple times a year in order to curb these dangerous habits and save lives.

Vision Zero

Vision Zero is Mayor de Blasio’s policy to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York. Among other measures, Vision Zero included a reduction of the un-posted city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and increased targeting of Failure to Yield to Pedestrian violations. The amount of speeding tickets issued in NY has dramatically increased since the speed limit was lowered, and the amount of Failure to Yield tickets has increased by over 125% from the previous year. In addition, a Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian offense that results in death or serious injury has now become a misdemeanor offense as part of Vision Zero. While reports show that New York City has seen mixed success with Vision Zero, drivers can expect this policy to keep moving forward.

Other Crackdowns

New York law enforcement agencies often stage week-long or month-long crackdowns for different traffic offenses throughout the year. Just recently, state police participated in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, in which they targeted cell phone users but also gave out a large number of speeding tickets, seat belt tickets, and other moving violation tickets. From May 20th to June 1st, police all over New York will engage in a “Click It or Ticket” campaign – while adult drivers and passengers do not receive points on a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, drivers can get 3 points on their license if any underage passengers are not securely buckled in. At other times in New York City, police target commercial truck drivers whose trucks are over the allowed weight limit. These targeted crackdowns are meant to increase safety awareness and help put a stop to dangerous driving practices, but traffic tickets issued during these periods can always be fought.

How a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help

NYC traffic tickets can be a heavy burden for drivers, whether it’s due to the financial hardships they impose or the possibility of losing driving privileges. New York traffic ticket lawyers can often help clients by using their many years of experience navigating through the traffic court system to gain favorable outcomes. While no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed, drivers can at least be secure in the knowledge that they’re entrusting their driving record to an experienced lawyer who can put forward a valid defense. In addition, traffic ticket attorneys can also save drivers valuable time by making court appearances without having their clients present. For more information on how a New York traffic ticket lawyer can help you, please contact us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

Nassau, Suffolk Police Increasing DWI Patrols for Memorial Day Weekend

Long Island police will be heavily patrolling for DWI starting this weekend, with Nassau County leading the charge by assigning $400,000 worth of overtime to watch for drunk drivers throughout the summer. The Nassau police Selective Enforcement Team typically handles DWI patrols, but more patrol officers will help with the patrols to the tune of 5,000 overtime hours. These overtime hours are paid for by asset forfeiture funds, meaning that taxpayer money will not be used to pay for the overtime. In addition, Nassau police as well as Hempstead, Garden City, Port Washington, Rockville Centre, and Old Westbury police will split $180,000 in state grants for increased DWI patrols this summer. Suffolk police will also increase DWI patrols over the weekend using state grant money.

Nassau County police have been aggressively going after drunk drivers – so far in 2015, over 700 DWI arrests have been made, while 2,477 DWI arrests were made in 2014. The acting District Attorney has also called for the DMV to add points to the licenses of driver’s convicted of DWI, though the DMV responded by saying that all licenses are suspended or revoked if the driver is convicted of any drug or alcohol related offense. Long Island drivers convicted of DWI also face large fines, additional fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment, and may also be sent to jail.

If you are charged with DWI this summer, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we can help you with your defense.

Long Island Man Charged with DWI, Reckless Driving

A Long Island man is in custody for driving drunk and hitting a man pushing his grandson in a stroller this past weekend. Both the grandfather and his grandson suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital. Police charged the driver with DWI, reckless driving, and failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian, as well as two counts of assault. The driver’s blood alcohol level was .08, which is the state standard for intoxication.

DWI and reckless driving are both misdemeanor offenses, and if convicted the driver will have these on his criminal record. In addition, reckless driving is a 5 point ticket, while the failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian ticket carries can add 3 points to a driver’s license. A DWI conviction can lead to numerous fines and penalties, as well as extra payment in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment.

If you are arrested for DWI or receive traffic tickets on Long Island, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

Rand Paul’s Son Arrested for Alleged DUI

Presidential hopeful Rand Paul’s son William was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of DUI in Kentucky. William Paul supposedly slammed into a parked car on Sunday and acted belligerently towards police officers, who claimed he reeked of alcohol. Paul failed a field sobriety test and subsequently refused to submit to a chemical test. In New York, drivers who refuse to submit to chemical tests have their licenses suspended automatically and will have to attend a Refusal Hearing in order to have their driver’s license reinstated. If found guilty at the Refusal Hearing, the driver will have their license revoked for up to one year and will have to pay a $500 fine in addition to the Driver Responsibility Assessment. A chemical test refusal can also be brought against the driver if or when they are charged for drug or alcohol charges.

If you are ever arrested for a DUI or must attend a Refusal Hearing, please contact us at 212-227-9008 so we may assist you in all matters regarding the charges.

Westchester County Traffic Ticket Attorney: What is the Driver Responsibility Assessment?

In addition to heavy fines, surcharges, and increased insurance premiums, drivers who are convicted of moving violations in Westchester County may also have to pay extra fees as part of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. If the following offenses were committed after November 18, 2004, drivers may find themselves paying extra fees as part of the NY Driver Responsibility Assessment:

• Convicted of a DUI/DWI involving an automobile, boat, or snowmobile in New York State
Refusing to submit to a chemical test for blood alcohol level
Receiving 6 points on your driver’s license within 18 months for traffic offenses in New York State, Ontario, or Quebec.

Westchester County drivers are notified of the Driver Responsibility Assessment once points have been added to the driving record, which is after they are convicted of traffic violations. You should contact a Westchester County traffic ticket attorney to help you as soon as you receive a traffic ticket so you can find out your options.

Monetary Penalty
The assessment for receiving 6 points on your license within 18 months is $100 a year for 3 years, meaning a total of $300. Westchester County drivers that receive any additional points on their license are also subject to a $25 fee per additional points per year, meaning a total of $75 per additional point in the three year period. The penalty for a drug or alcohol related offense, $250 a year or $750 over the course of 3 years, is much more than the point assessment.

Paying the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment
The NY Driver Responsibility Assessment can be paid online, by mail, or at a local DMV. Some Westchester County drivers think that if they complete point reduction classes, they will not have to pay the penalty, or they won’t have to pay as much, but this is wrong. Even if a driver successfully completes a point reduction class, they must still pay the assessment fee in full. If a driver fails to pay the assessment, their license can be suspended by the DMV.

A Westchester County traffic lawyer can help drivers who are facing the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. By fighting the traffic ticket in court before a conviction is handed down, a traffic ticket attorney might be able to help you avoid the assessment altogether. In addition, a traffic attorney can almost always represent you without your appearance in court, which can save you valuable time. If you have questions on how the NY Driver Responsibility Assessment affects you and your ability to drive here in Westchester, feel free to contact our office at (212) 227-9008 for assistance.

New York City Speeding Tickets on the Rise

Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero is in full effect as the number of speeding summonses has increased by 40%. This increase comes as a response to the lowering of the New York City speed limit from 30 MPH to 25 MPH. While de Blasio claimed that motorists would be allowed to ease into the new speed limit, the evidence shows exactly the opposite. We advise New York City drivers to closely follow the speed limit, as it appears that all speeding violations are being strictly enforced, even relatively “slow speeding” violations. We remind you that all New York City speeding tickets carry points and hefty fines, which can have a huge impact on your finances. car1

New York City Traffic Lawyer: Basics of Speeding Tickets

The enforcement of speeding ticket violations is an important part of New York City traffic laws, and a conviction can have a drastic impact on your finances. Representation by a New York City traffic attorney can help prevent negative financial and driving record consequences.

Fines
Speeding ticket fines range from $150 to almost $1,300, depending on the severity and circumstances of the violation. Additionally, the court adds on surcharges to the fine, often in amounts over $80 and adds an additional assessment for convictions of 6 or more points. A New York City traffic court lawyer can be crucial in guiding you through the New York City traffic court process, and may be able to assist you so that you are not handing over your hard earned money to the government.

Points and Driver’s License Suspension
Speeding tickets can range from 3 to 11 points on your driver’s license, which, just like speeding ticket fines, depend on the circumstances of the violation. New York State often suspends driver’s licenses at 11 points – in addition, if you are convicted of three speeding violations within 18 months in New York State, your license will be revoked for at least 6 months. This revocation can have an extremely negative impact on your life, especially when it comes to finances. If having a valid driver’s license is necessary for your line of work, having your license suspended for 6 months can cause you to lose your job, and if that is your sole source of income, it will increase the hardships you may face. Additionally, after all convictions, you may face an increase in New York City insurance premiums.

Insurance Rates
If you plead guilty to the violation, points added to your driver’s license will almost always increase your insurance rates. This will have consequences for you: not only will you have to pay the fine (and surcharge) for the speeding ticket, but your premiums will go up and may cost you thousands of extra dollars over the course of a few short years. A New York City ticket attorney can help to steer you down the right path and help to save you money and points in the long run.

These are just a few of the issues that traffic lawyers in New York City handle for their clients. In addition, a traffic attorney can almost always represent you without your appearance in court, which can save you valuable time. If you have questions on how a speeding ticket affects you and your ability to drive here in New York, feel free to contact our office at (212) 227-9008 for assistance.

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