The answer to this question is pretty bad. There are all types of rules in place at the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) that make it very hard for motorists to win. These rules do not exist at any of the other 660+ New York State traffic courts.
So what are those rules? Below is a list of some of them:
- Guilt must be shown by only “clear and convincing” evidence (not beyond a reasonable doubt)
- Hearsay is admissible
- The judges can ask clarifying questions (which often are not clarifying but more closer to prosecuting the case)
- There is no discovery or right to a supporting deposition
- There is no type of pre-hearing motion practice
- Direct appeals are limited to being made to a TVB appellate judge (not a true appeals court)
So can a motorist win at the TVB? The answer is “yes” but it is difficult. Most people lose. Even experienced New York traffic lawyers (like myself) often lose there. This is not because they do not care or know what they’re doing. Rather, it is because the odds are against us.
With that said, there are things that you can do to maximize your chances for success, such as being prepared, make clear concise arguments and being a good listener when the police officer testifies.
Therefore, if you get a NYC traffic ticket, you may (or may not) want to bother fighting it. Feel free to use our free Ticket Analyzer to get a recommendation on whether your ticket is worth fighting. This tool is quite sophisticated and took many years to develop. Its recommendations can be relied up. Alternatively, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
I received a “photo” speeding ticket going 31MPH in a 30 MPH zone. I pleated not guilty and requested documentation about the camera system. They replied that equipment malfunction was no excuse, guilty fine went from $50 to $75. After much time and effort I received documentation showing that the camera system was only accurate to +/- 1 MPH. I complained that I did not exceed the speed limit
and the scheduled an appeal with the court. (it was a joke) . They would not
discuss anything about my defense, accept any documents, said I already had my appeal. spent 5 minuities reading the law, and would let me know. . Of course my
appeal was denied.
I wish to find a vehicle to protest this charade. If I won the appeal thousands of
camera violations of 1 MPH would be dismissed. can you help??? THANKS
Unfortunately, we do not fight camera tickets. They carry 0 points and do not affect your insurance.
I find the actions of the NYC traffic court to be outside any reasonable/rational legal procedure. I wish bring attention to this and request an investigation into the operation of the traffic court. The NYS attorney general, the chief judge of NYS, The NY Times , the mayor of NYC, the
governor of NYS and perhaps bring an article 78..
I am retired and have the time to devote to this.. Do you have any guidance for me on how to best proceed???
Hmmm. I have never done that. I guess start with your local NYS legislator.
I got a ticket because of flat tire and stopped to change the tire under a commercial sign in a busy Street in Manhattan,if this is how you work so God bless this quality of 3rd and 4th world countries affecting this great country system,I never got a reply from them after loading evidence pictures for 2 month ,till I had the ticket appearing when checking for it,and It was written guilty,God bless this great country system with those poor quality judges or arbitrators and traffic agents.
Ahmed Abdel Aly,
We’re sorry to hear about your misfortune. We always recommend fighting your case in person (or with a lawyer) to maximize your chances of winning.
Why do you not consider bringing a class action to bring abut a change in the law? Why not add a RICO charge since the NYC Traffic violations bureau acts like and behaves like an organized crime family. You went to law school because you believed in the law. Why are you so willing to go along with the system? Do you not believe you can tilt at a windmill and feel good about yourself as a practicing attorney.
A victim with a JD that fights because I taught my children to stand up for yourselves and if you don’t you condone the behavior you complain about.
Great ideas but this is not what our business does.
Hi Matt. In response to how bad is NYC TVB… I am considering retaining your services for two violations, unfortunately both received in NYC. I just spoke to Giselle.
Lived here 16 years. Had a clean record up until 11/2017, receiving violation for disobey stop sign; and received another in 3/2018 for speeding. I’m relocating to Los Angeles this September 2018 and would appreciate honest advice if the stop sign $148 (3points) is worth fighting or am I better off just paying. He was sitting parked to my left at the intersection on W. 132nd facing westbound; while I was headed southbound on Marginal St. I stopped, pulled out and slowed down as the light 500 feet ahead was red. He pulled me over and said I didn’t stop at the sign back there, I said I did and wouldn’t run a stop sign due to the danger, I’m from Ohio where the laws are strict and I’m conditioned to wearing my seatbelt and obeying traffic signs and that was that. Court date set for 9/2018.
I was considering only fighting the speeding ticket which comes with 4 points and $203 fine. The speeding ticket was given using a handheld laser gun. The officer was standing on the sidewalk hiding behind a pole, and aiming at oncoming traffic. There were cars ahead of me in both lanes. I asked him how does he know it was my vehicle he picked up. He only responded that he just pointed it at my car and it said 40mph. That’s BS. My landrover has traffic sign recognition and a feature set to avoid going over the speed limit. This one I am fighting for sure and will need your services, because by 3/2019 (court date); I will be living in LA.
Would really appreciate your honest assessment for the stop sign considering everything.
Thanks for checking in. I would fight both tickets. It will be hard to win either one but if you can beat just one, you’ll avoid the $375 Driver Assessment Fee as well as roughly the $200 fine.
Now you know why there are numerous car chases in nyc and people getting killed . When laws are made like this and you don’t even have a real judge at court nobody cares about the law. Sad but it’s true. Why do people speed ??? Cause it’s against the law !!! I live in Pennsylvania and when I get a ticket I go to court within 30 days longer if I ask for adjournment and if I have to be there at 12 pm the magistrate or judge puts a clock on the desk and sets it for exactly 15 minutes and if the cop does not show up they throw it out. None of this bullshit where the cop was on a special mission with god or the devil or I got stuck in traffic. It gets thrown out period !!! And cops only have 30 days to issue traffic tickets not till the seasons change 4 times. The “not guilty” plea in nyc is being eliminated and when you do plead not guilty you get a court date of over a year to go to court. Stupid laws !!! Stupid legislators!!! Stupid monetary fines!!!
I have yet been able to find ANYONE who can name where ALJ Al Akbar works out of, I have spoken to several people I know in the Governor’s office who say they cannot find out any information on “Al Akbar” yet he is sending out rejection’s on parking ticket appeals all based on the same information.
“Not enough evidence” Yet the NYC Traffic sign locator and photos submitted of cars parked streets away from the supposed ticket location never match. There is no ALJ in NYS or more than likely anywhere with that name.
I have no idea. So sorry.
It’s not just that the deck is stacked against the motorist. The judges are often / typically incompetent. They don’t know the law, and often can’t be induced to actually read it before rendering a decision. And if they don’t know the law, they certainly don’t know the MUTCD — the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices which governs almost every activity on the road. A “sign” that is not MUTCD compliant is not a traffic control device, and is not enforceable in this state. In fact, such a sign is, itself, a traffic violation — but try to get the police to issue a summons to the agency that put it up.
Just two examples will suffice. Did you know that pavement markings are generally not enforceable without a sign?
Did you know that a round “bes stop” sign is not a legally enforceable sign?
Now who is willing to take the NYC DOT to court?
And what about the fact that in NYC, moving violations result in points but not in Nassau County, and much of the rest of the state? You just pay a bribe to the local government and plead guilty to unlawful parking, pay a $200 fine and voila, no points!
Martha C Santoro,
Thanks for sharing your interesting thoughts. You raise some very good issues.