Pay Traffic Ticket in New York
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(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Pay the Driver Responsibility Program (if applicable).
- Incur points on your driving record (which could lead to license suspension or revocation).
- Experience an increase in auto insurance rates.
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Represent yourself or, depending on the nature of the ticket, hire an attorney to represent you.
- Possibly lose the option for a plea bargain involving lesser penalties.
- Experience no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
If you pay your traffic ticket, it means you’re admitting guilt or entering a no contest plea.
When you choose this option:
- The judge or clerk may allow you to plea to a lesser offense and deal with lesser penalties; typically, you must appear in court in person for any such option.
- You will pay all traffic ticket fines applicable to your traffic ticket or plea bargain, and this can include fees related to the Driver Responsibility Program if the ticket means you’ve received 6 points or more within 18 months.
- You can avoid appearing in traffic court and handle everything online, in some cases (see below).
- Points will likely incur on your driving record. The number will depend on the specifics of your traffic violation, but for some, this increases the risk of license suspension or revocation. Check New York’s vehicle code and point system for more information.
- Your auto insurance company might increase your rates, depending on your history, their policies, and the nature of the violation.
Generally, you can pay a ticket over the phone, through the mail, online, or in court; usually, it depends on where you live and the nature of your ticket.
Note that if:
- You’re charged with a criminal violation such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI); you’ll need to appear in criminal court.
- Your ticket is a parking violation, the locality in which you receive it will set the fine and include payment information on the ticket.
If you fail to respond to or pay the ticket, the traffic court or Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) will notify the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) and your license becomes suspended until you pay the fine and any other applicable surcharges and fees, as well as the fee to have your license reinstated.
Note that failing to respond and having your license suspended isn’t an automatic admission of guilt or no contest; you can still fight the ticket once you reinstate your suspended license.
However, if you continue to ignore the ticket and fines after receiving the license suspension, you’ll receive a default guilty conviction and another suspension, and then face fees to lift both suspensions, the default guilty conviction, and any fines and penalties associated with your traffic violation.
Plead Guilty as a NY CDL Driver
Typically, CDL holders follow the same process to pay for or contest their traffic tickets as holders of regular licenses; however, there are a few stipulations―such as needing to report the citation to the employer within a certain time frame―that are in place.
Too, depending on the citation, NY CDL holders can face stiffer penalties than the traditional increase in driving record points and auto insurance rates. The penalties can even include license suspension or revocation.
In short, it’s best if a CDL holder decides to pay or fight a traffic ticket as soon as possible―and acts on that decision―in the manner that any other driver would.
For more information related to CDL holders, consult the New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual.
Plead Not Guilty
You don’t have to plead guilty or no contest; if you want to fight the ticket, you can do so in court.
Usually, contesting traffic violations means you forfeit any options of plea bargains and lesser penalties, as well as incur additional court costs and attorneys fees, so be sure to check out our section on fighting your NY traffic ticket so you can prepare as best as you can.
Note that if you fight the ticket and are found guilty, you might be able to file and appeal the TVB conviction online or submitting a completed Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) Appeal Form (Form AA-33) depending on where you acquired the ticket.
You have a couple online payment options, depending on your specific citation and county in which you were pulled over. If the county doesn't offer online payment, check to see if your ticket reads “Traffic Violations Bureau” at the bottom. If so, you can pay your ticket online through the state DMV site.
(If you’re required to pay the Driver Responsibility Program, the DMV will send you the information, including payment instructions, separately.)
Can’t find your ticket? Visit our section on lost NY traffic tickets.
If your traffic ticket is typical (i.e., not criminal and not a parking ticket) but you’re not sure how to pay or respond, you can deal with it via the local courthouse where you were ticketed unless you received the ticket in:
- New York City
Regular traffic tickets from these locations are handled via the TVB’s Plea and Pay.
As long as you aren’t required to go through the TVB website, the county website will likely provide information about paying your traffic ticket, or how to handle it if it’s more serious than a typical speeding ticket.
Such options might include (or require):
- Appearing before a judge or clerk and paying via cash, check, money order or credit card.
- Calling or mailing in a ticket payment using a credit card, check or money order.
Because not all counties provide this information on their websites, be sure to call in advance and ask specifically about required appearances and acceptable payment methods.
If an appearance is required and you can’t make it, inquire about rescheduling or the possibility of having a traffic law attorney stand in for you. Typically, you can reschedule via phone as long as it’s at least one day before you scheduled appearance. If you missed your scheduled appearance, the DMV typically gives you the opportunity to reschedule or pay your ticket fine through the mail after paying a penalty. Call the DMV for more information on either instance.
Generally, traffic tickets result in points on your driving record, but if you plead guilty and pay your fine, you may be eligible to avoid or reduce those points if you enroll in a state-approved defensive driving course through New York’s Point Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP).
Check Your Driving Record
Always check your driving record after receiving a traffic ticket or taking a class to reduce points; it’s the only way to ensure the points reflected on your record are accurate. Check out our section on the NY point system to learn more.
Regardless of their nature, traffic tickets often negatively affect car insurance rates.
Once you pay your ticket and complete any available points-reduction program, talk with your insurance agent about how the situation has affected your rates―or will affect them once it’s time to renew your policy. Then, get ahead of the game by comparing insurance quotes online to get a better deal.Other Topics in This Section