Fighting any type of New York City traffic ticket may feel like an uphill and arduous battle. However, effective June 1, 2021, motorists can now defend themselves in-person confronting his or her accuser or, alternatively, can do so virtually using the Webex platform.
Challenging a traffic ticket in a virtual hearing may leave you feeling even more overwhelmed and confused. However, there is an alleged benefit to this type of hearing — not having to travel to a Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB), the administrative agency that adjudicates NYC traffic tickets.
But when is it a good idea to fight your ticket? What can you expect at a DMV virtual hearing? And, is saving time on travel time really worth bypassing personal appearances at the TVB?
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Should I fight my New York traffic ticket?
There are many reasons to fight a traffic ticket in New York City. Although every case is different, there are several instances when you should stand your ground. The most common ones include:
- When there are errors or omissions on the ticket
- When you think the law enforcement officer acted in error
- When traffic signs were obstructed
- When you have dashcam footage that you did not violate traffic laws
- And even if you do not feel that you have a strong defense, when you have enough traffic points to put you at risk of driver’s license suspension
Fighting your traffic ticket may help preserve your driving record from unwarranted points, as well as save you from having to pay additional fines — such as Driver Responsibility Assessment Fees. It will also help you prevent an increase in your car insurance premiums. Therefore, always consider speaking with an experienced traffic ticket attorney to discuss your options. Remember, the burden is on the state to prove that you violated a traffic law; not the other way around.
We do not generally recommend virtual hearings preferring instead live hearings. With that said, below are some tips and tricks to conducting a DMV virtual traffic hearing for a New York City traffic ticket.
Should I Fight My New York Traffic Ticket Virtually?
When you can appear in person, we recommend that you elect to do so. In a live hearing, you can observe the police officer’s body language, demeanor, and facial expressions in real-time and any likely impairment. Further, you can see the police officer’s actual notes and paperwork in a live hearing while you will only see a digital copy virtually. Bottom line, your chances for success are higher in-person than virtually, in our opinion.
Nevertheless, we are aware that sometimes you have no choice but to opt for the less effective virtual hearing and certainly a virtual hearing is better than no hearing. Below are some guidelines to help you prepare and conduct your virtual DMV hearing.
How To Prepare For a New York City Traffic Ticket Virtual Hearing
Prior to your virtual hearing date, make sure you do the best to prepare. We recommend doing the following:
Speak With an Experienced Traffic Attorney
This is, by far, the best thing you can do to prepare to fight your traffic ticket. You do not know what you do not know. As you tell your story to an experienced traffic ticket attorney, they will know what to ask to get the full picture. And if you think that there was a mistake, by all means, give all the details to your lawyer. Your traffic lawyer can explain your prospects for success and well as what kind of penalties are possible.
Test Your Electronics
Make sure that your desktop, laptop, electronic tablet, or mobile phone works properly. Make sure that your browser supports video conferences, as well as the WebEx platform. If it does not, download an update or an alternative version. Once downloaded, create an account and record the password.
Upload Your Evidence
You can submit any evidence that helps your case up to one week before the scheduled hearing. You will need to enter your ticket ID number, so make sure you have it at hand. Things you can use as evidence include photographs, dashcam footage, and graphs.
Log In Early
Start logging into your WebEx account at least 15 minutes before your hearing time. You will need to enter the traffic ticket number, agree to the website’s Terms of Service, and select whether you are a motorist or witness. Note that if you are represented by an attorney, your attorney can take care of this for you.
Once you are logged in, you will be directed to a virtual waiting room. Make sure you go to the restroom and walk your dog beforehand, because it may take a while before your case number is called. Often cases are called much later than their scheduled time. And remember to keep your mute button on until it is your turn to speak.
What To Expect at a New York DMV Traffic Virtual Hearing
You will get a chance to testify as to what happened the day you were pulled over. So will the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket. If you have an attorney, you will not have to show up for the hearing. Your lawyer will log in for you, if any, and he or she will know which questions to ask the police officer to poke holes in their story. They will also know what they need to bring up to support your not guilty plea.
Once all of the evidence has been presented and all witnesses have been interrogated, the administrative law judge will take all information presented into consideration and render a decision.
Will TVB hearings be held virtually permanently?
This remains to be seen. For the time being, this is the reality of anyone wishing to fight a non-criminal traffic ticket in New York. However, the Association of Motor Vehicle Trial Attorneys (WMVTA) sued the New York DMV to revert to in-person hearings as the usual course of business. This is because — despite saving you travel time — virtual hearings can result in several disadvantages to motorists. These include:
- Not all drivers have access to high-speed internet
- Not all drivers are tech-savvy enough to feel comfortable using WebEx
- Lags in spotty connectivity may affect the interrogation of witnesses
- You cannot read body language and facial expressions as well in a virtual environment
- You have no way of knowing whether someone is off-camera assisting police officers
While virtual hearings still provide motorists with a chance to present their side of the story, online hearings can lend themselves to an unjust result. This is why it is even more crucial than ever to have an experienced traffic lawyer making sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
How a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help
At Weiss & Associates, PC, we will zealously and competently defend you at your hearing. We can charge much less than lawyers that do not regularly fight traffic tickets because we pass along the savings that we can make by fighting thousands of traffic tickets per year. Another benefit of hiring us is that our experienced traffic lawyer will show up on your behalf, so you do not have to waste time in court.
Weiss & Associates, PC has extensive experience fighting traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York State. We have a skilled team of lawyers who are ready to give you free advice on your available options. We will listen to the circumstances of your case and steer you in the right direction in your attempts to fight a traffic ticket. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!