Fight Traffic Ticket in New York
Do you think you were unfairly issued a traffic ticket in the state of New York? Do you have the means to prove it? If so, keep reading to find out how you can contest your NY traffic citation.
Plead Not Guilty to Your NY Ticket
The first step to fighting your New York traffic ticket is to plead not guilty with the court or agency in charge of your case.
The location where you received your citation will determine who you need to notify of your not guilty plea:
- New York City AND Rochester: Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB).
- All other NY locations: Traffic court in the county, city, town, or village where you received the citation.
The deadline for entering your plea will depend on the court or agency in charge of your traffic case, and your NY traffic ticket* will have specific instructions on how, when, and where to plead. The methods for entering your plea differ by location; you could have the option to respond:
- In person.
- By phone.
- By mail.
The TVB provides an online portal for you to use; for other city/county traffic courts, check the court website.
Once you've successfully entered your plea, the court or agency in charge of your case will assign you a date to return for your pre-trial conference OR trial before a NY judge.
*NOTE: If you can't find your citation, refer to our page on lost NY traffic tickets.
Missed Court Date
Make sure to mark your calendar! If you miss ANY of your court dates, you could face penalties like:
- Warrant issued for your arrest.
- Driver's license suspension.
Implications of Pleading Not Guilty
When you plead not guilty, you're affirming your innocence AND exercising your legal right to present your case before a New York judge.
By pleading not guilty, you're also verifying that you:
- Understand a jail sentence could come as a result of serious charges like DUI and DWI.
- Are aware points could be added to your record if you're found guilty.
- Can devote the necessary time to appearing in court, possibly multiple times.
For more tips on choosing whether or not to contest your citation, check out our page, When to Fight a Traffic Ticket.
Fight Your NY Citation in Court
The process for contesting your NY traffic ticket in court could consist of the following steps:
- Pre-trial conference.
- Trial before a judge.
BEFORE heading to court, consider hiring a New York traffic ticket attorney. Should you opt to represent yourself, you'll be expected to properly follow procedures of NY traffic court.
The court in charge of your case may appoint you counsel if:
- Your violations could result in imprisonment.
- You can prove indigence and the lack of financial means to hire representation of your own.
If you're not sure if your circumstances warrant hiring a lawyer, check out our page on when to hire a traffic ticket attorney for guidance.
Did you know, pleading guilty to your traffic charges could raise your car insurance rates? So, BEFORE agreeing to a pre-trial settlement, make sure you know exactly how traffic violations can affect your auto insurance.
At your pre-trial conference, you (or your attorney) will meet with the New York state prosecutor to try and negotiate a settlement. Accepting a settlement usually requires:
- Changing your plea to guilty.
- Reduced penalties for your charges.
If you can settle, you won't have to go to trial. However, if a settlement can't be agreed upon, the NY traffic court will assign you a date and time to return and plead your case before a judge.
Trial Before a NY Judge
When you go to trial before a New York judge, generally you can expect the following:
- Both the state prosecutor and you (or your lawyer) make opening arguments.
- Each side has the opportunity to present:
- Rebuttals and cross-examinations of witnesses.
- Closing arguments from both sides.
- Judge's verdict.
- If you're found guilty, the judge will then announce your sentence.
Consequences of Contesting Your Ticket
The consequences of fighting your NY traffic citation can have long-lasting positive AND negative effects on your life. The outcome of your case will determine whether you walk out of the courtroom feeling satisfied OR disappointed.
If You Lose Your Case
In the event the judge finds you guilty, the severity of your traffic charges will dictate which of the following penalties you face:
- A suspended license.
- Usually, you'll need to pay all fines on the same day you're convicted. If you don't have the means to do so, the court may allow you to pay in installments.
- Community service.
- Additional points on your driving record.
- Jail sentence.
NOTE: If you hold a valid commercial driver license (CDL) you MUST notify your employer of traffic charges within 30 days of conviction for any moving violation.
Filing an Appeal
If you're found guilty and want to appeal the judge's decision, you'll have to file a notice of appeal within 30 days of receiving the verdict. You must file an appeal directly through the court or agency handling your case.
In New York, completing a Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) can reduce the number of points added to your record for the purposes of avoiding a license suspension, which will keep your auto insurance rates from skyrocketing!
Learn more at our NY defensive driving guide.
If You Win Your Case
If the judge finds you not guilty of the traffic violations, congrats! You can look forward to:
- Dismissal of all charges and the traffic ticket.
- No penalties or fines to deal with.
- No points added to your driving record.
- Insurance rates won't increase.
Following the results of your New York traffic ticket case, it's important to check the accuracy of your NY driving record. Any incorrect information could lead to major issues—including unwarranted fines, penalties, and lots of stress down the road for you.