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Tag Archives: points

NY Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Following Too Closely (Tailgating) Ticket

following too closely

In New York, the Following Too Closely summons, also known as tailgating, is 4 points a fine of at least $138 for a first offense.  The police officer uses his or her judgment to deem when another vehicle is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead of them.  Following too closely is considered a dangerous offense because any sudden changes on the road could cause an accident.

New York VTL § 1129 states that a motorist not follow another vehicle more closely than what is “reasonable and prudent.” To determine how far to follow another vehicle, the motorist must take into consideration the speed, traffic, and condition of the highway. There are special rules for truckers: they must, when following another truck or passenger vehicle, leave enough space so that a passing vehicle can enter and occupy the space without danger.

If you received a summons for following too closely or any other traffic ticket, we can fight for you.  With more than 29 years of experience, Michael Block has successfully defended motorists throughout New York.  Call (212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free legal advice.

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Unsafe Lane Change Ticket

One of the most common moving violations we see in our office is the Unsafe Lane Change Summons.  If a police officer feels that you changed lanes unsafely, you may be given an unsafe lane change ticket.

NY VTL 1128(a) requires drivers to remain in one lane and changing from that lane is not permitted unless the driver ascertained that moving lanes could be completed safely.

VTL 1128(b) directs that passing other vehicles or making a left turn from a center lane can only be done if executed in a safe manner.

VTL 1128 (c) & (d) directs motorists to carefully obey signs and hazardous road markings and not cross these special lane markings.

While the unsafe lane change laws seem straightforward and reasonable, it’s possible to change lanes without checking your blind spot or signaling your intent to change lanes thus making it unsafe.  In addition, failure to obey road markings or signs, while changing lanes, could result in an unsafe lane change ticket.

It’s also important to remember the Move Over Law which requires drivers to change lanes if an emergency vehicle is on the shoulder of the road.  Improperly passing an emergency vehicle could also result in an Unsafe Lane Change Summons.

The best way to avoid being ticketed for an Unsafe Lane Change violation is to:

  • Look to make sure that there is enough space to change lanes.
  • Be sure to signal your intent to change lanes.
  • Check all mirrors to ensure that the lanes are clear and a lane change is safe.
  • Check your blind spot.
  • Move slowly to the next lane.

The Unsafe Lane Change Ticket is 3 points.  Receiving 11 or more points on your license in an 18 month period could lead to the suspension of your license.

If you’ve received an Unsafe Lane Change ticket, or any other moving violation in New York, call 212-227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free legal advice on how we can defend your traffic ticket.

*Photo Credit: “Get Out!” By: Michael Gil/Source: Flickr 

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

Speeding Tickets Increase after Mayor's Vision Zero Plan

The amount of speeding tickets written by NYC Cops increased 103% a few days after the 25 MPH limit was in effect. (The unposted speed limit changed from 30 MPH to 25 MPH as part of the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan to reduce traffic deaths.)

Be aware that the 25 mph limit is default for all streets and parkways when there is no speed sign posted.  Highways like the FDR, West Side Highway and Riverside Drive will still have higher limits.  Conversely, schools zones still have lower speed limits.

The 25 mph limit does not apply to the following streets and parkways: Webster Avenue and Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx; Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Terrace on Staten Island; Fort Hamilton Parkway and Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn; and Utopia Parkway and Bell and Springfield boulevards in Queens.

If you receive a speeding ticket, do not engage the police officer in conversation.  They can and will often use anything you say against you in court.  If you receive a speeding ticket or any other traffic ticket, call us at 212-227-9008 immediately to learn how we can defend you.

*Photo Credit: “Warp Speed at 25” By: Andrew Choy/Source: Flickr

  1. Great information as I was unaware the speed limit had been reduced! Driving 30 MPH was difficult, 25 MPH close to impossible but the potential financial pain will force me to do it!

How to Reduce Points on Your License

Points on your license are more than just ugly marks on your driving record, and a number of different traffic violations will add points to your license, if you are convicted.  Too many points or a serious traffic violation may lead to revocation or suspension of your driving privileges.  Having more than 6 points in an 18 month period means you are required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.  Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce points before they stack up against you.

The PIRP—Point and Insurance Reduction Program is a series of courses offered to drivers who would like to reduce the amount of points on their license and cost of their insurance premium.  The Defensive Driving Course/Accident Prevention Course deducts 4 license points and offers a 10% reduction on your insurance premium.

Each course is 6 hours long and can be taken both in person or online.  In order to take an online course or I-PIRP/ADM—Internet Point & Insurance Reduction Program/Alternate Delivery Method course, you must enroll with an approved DMV sponsor.  The online course may require tests and quizzes to verify your participation.

An experienced traffic ticket attorney may help you avoid or reduce points depending on the violation and the county where you received the summons.  Please contact us at 212-227-008 or at michaelblock.law@gmail.com if you would like to receive free legal advice on how to fight your traffic ticket.

*Photo Credit: “Photo15028-UCD Pacific Place-3453.jpg By: Texas A & M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography Photostream”/By:Texas A & M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography Photostream/Source: Flickr

  1. I take the safe driver class every 18 months to help lower my auto insurance bills. Everyone should be taking these classes.

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My Drivers License Got Suspended-Now What?

A driver’s license suspension is a serious problem for New York drivers. It often comes as a result of having too many points on your driver’s license, excessive speeding or drunk driving offenses, or simply due to failure to pay traffic tickets. But what are the details behind driver’s license suspensions, and what can drivers do if their license is suspended?

 

Points and Penalties

New York State often suspends driver’s licenses if a driver accumulates 11 points on their driver’s license within an 18 month period. In addition, if a driver receives 3 speeding tickets within an 18 month period, their license will be revoked for 6 months. Driver’s licenses are almost always suspended (and sometimes even revoked) in the case of DWI and DUI convictions. A New York traffic ticket lawyer can help you avoid driver’s license suspension by fighting your traffic tickets – by simply pleading guilty and paying a fine, you may be setting yourself up for a driver’s license suspension somewhere down the road.

 

Non-payment of Traffic Tickets

Failure to answer a traffic ticket (enter a not guilty plea) or, if convicted of a traffic violation, failure to pay the fine to the DMV, can result in a suspended license. This is why it is important to never ignore traffic tickets in New York. You cannot drive until the suspension has been lifted, and this will end up costing you more time and money in the long run. The best course of action is to answer the ticket, and if found guilty, pay the appropriate fines in the allotted time frame.

 

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation and Driving While Suspended

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) and Driving While Suspended are misdemeanor crimes in New York. AUO and Driving While Suspended occur when a driver’s license has been suspended, yet the person continues to drive a vehicle. Conviction of either crime carries the possibility of jail time, though this is highly unlikely, especially for first time offenders with clean records. Instead, drivers convicted of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation or Driving While Suspended are usually subject to hefty fines and court surcharges. A New York traffic ticket attorney can assist drivers facing AUO charges or Driving While Suspended charges by helping to clear up any unresolved issues that may have led to the suspension, as well as assist in the defense of the Aggravated Unlicensed Operation violation.

 

How to Terminate a Driver’s License Suspension

A driver’s license termination depends on a few matters. Some suspensions, such as suspensions for DWI convictions, are for a set period of time, and the suspension cannot be terminated until that period has passed. Others, like suspensions for unpaid traffic tickets, are indefinite. This means that the suspension cannot be terminated until certain criteria are met, in this case the payment of the fines and the suspension termination fee. However, any driver trying to terminate a driver’s license suspension must pay a termination fee to the DMV in order to have their driving privileges restored.

 

If your driver’s license is in danger of being suspended, has already been suspended, or if you have been charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may assist you in having your driving privileges restored.

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How Can Out of State Drivers Fight Traffic Tickets?

You’re having a great family vacation in New York: you just saw the Empire State Building, took a stroll around Central Park, and saw the Lion King – which exceeded your expectations. As you leave the city and head back home in your car, you can’t stop thinking about coming back to New York City. On the way out, you make a right turn at a red light – something you do every day back in your home state; however, you are pulled over and issued a disobey red light ticket. This story happens all too often for out-of-state drivers in New York. While most out-of-state drivers who receive traffic tickets in New York think it’s easier and cheaper to just pay the traffic ticket instead of returning to New York to fight it, this could not be further from the truth.

The Driver’s License Compact

The Driver’s License Compact (DLC) is an agreement among states that obligates those states to share an individual driver’s driving record. The DLC sets out to ensure that each driver has only one legitimate license at a time and that each state has an individual driver’s accurate driving record. A total of 45 member states have agreed to the compact, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. The DLC is committed to reporting all traffic convictions and license suspension/revocations of out-of-state drivers to the home state licensing agency. The traffic violations committed in other states are treated as though they have been committed in the home state. It is important to note that some states vary in terms of driver’s license suspensions when compared to New York, meaning that an offense in New York could net drivers a suspension even if that same offense wouldn’t have the same consequences in their home state.

Out-of-State Tickets

The DLC agreement between states ensures that a traffic ticket issued to a non-state driver will be returned to the home state of the driver. When a state suspends an out-of-state driver’s license, it is highly likely that the driver’s home state will honor the suspension. The state that issued your driver’s license will most certainly find out about any traffic ticket that you received in another state. However, not all states penalize out-of-state tickets the same as New York.

How states treat out-of-state convictions

Most of the 50 states record all out-of-state traffic violations on the driver’s driving record and assigns points onto that driver’s license. It is important to know that a few states, such as Pennsylvania and Colorado, do not record violations for what they consider minor offenses, like a speeding ticket. New York has a unique law regarding out-of-state tickets in that if a New York resident receives a minor traffic ticket in Quebec or Ontario, New York State will assess the proper points to the driver’s license. New Jersey has a unique law as well as the state adds 2 points for most out-of-state traffic convictions, even if the points total for the traffic violation might have been a different amount in New York.

What happens if I receive a traffic ticket in another state?

Your New York State Driver License will be suspended if you fail to answer a ticket for a moving violation in every state except for Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon and Wisconsin. Drivers who fail to answer a moving violation in New York State may also have their license suspended in their own state (except for the states listed above). If you commit any alcohol or drug related driving violation and are convicted of that violation in any other state or the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, your New York State License will be suspended for 90 days. However, if you are under 21 and are convicted of one of these out-of-state violations, your license will be revoked for one year. The NYS DMV also records all out-of-state convictions of New York drivers for criminal negligence, homicide, or assault that stem from the operation of a motor vehicle. It is possible that New York State will revoke your New York State Driver License as a result of these convictions.

How a NY Traffic Ticket Attorney Can Help

A lot of drivers think the easiest course of action to pursue after receiving an out-of-state traffic ticket is to just pay the fine and accept the penalty. As we’ve shown though, this can have dire consequences for your driving record. But what if traveling back to New York to fight a traffic ticket is not an option for you? A New York traffic ticket attorney can help by making the appearance in court for you, so you do not have to worry about taking the time and effort to travel back to New York. A New York traffic ticket lawyer can fight all NY traffic tickets, even for out-of-state drivers, and may help to avoid consequences such as points on your out-of-state driver’s license or even license suspensions. Please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 if you are an out-of-state-driver and receive a traffic ticket in New York.

Vision Zero Vigil Takes Over Union Square

A group of 1,000 people, all of whom were affected in one way or another by serious traffic accidents in New York City, gathered in Union Square on Wednesday night. They had a very clear message – traffic accidents are avoidable and preventable. That is the driving force behind Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy, which seeks to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. So far in 2015, there have been 123 traffic related deaths and over 23,000 serious injuries.

The strategy to end pedestrian traffic deaths comes consists of increased enforcement of speeding, failure to yield, and distracted driving offenses, as well as ambitious plans to redesign some of the more dangerous city streets. Speed cameras have been set up in certain areas of NYC and statistics show that speeding violations caught by those cameras have actually decreased; this means drivers are becoming more aware of their surroundings and the regular enforcement of these violations.

While progress has been made, events like the Vision Zero Vigil highlight the fact that there is still much work to be done in order to bring the number of pedestrian deaths down to zero in New York City. What are your thoughts on Vision Zero? Could the Mayor be doing more? Or is he on the right path?

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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Nearly 4,000 Drivers Banned for Life after DWI Convictions

Since adopting harsher penalties for drunk drivers three years ago, New York State has permanently revoked nearly 4,000 drivers’ licenses for serial offenders. Since late 2012, New York has been suspending licenses of those with 3 DWI convictions over the past 25 years – this led to the suspension of over 7,500 licenses. Drivers with 3 DWI convictions over the past 25 years in addition to other serious violations, such as causing a fatal accident or receiving 20 points on their licenses, may also face a permanent driving ban.

A driver’s license suspension means that the person cannot legally drive during the period of the suspension, while a revocation means that the person’s driving privileges have been cancelled and they will have to reapply for a license at the end of the revocation period.

If you are charged with drunk driving or receive any traffic tickets in New York, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so that we can start working on your case and fight to help you avoid losing your driving privileges.

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.