Fighting A Traffic Ticket At The Traffic Violations Bureau

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This article will help you fight your own New York speeding ticket at the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB).  The TVB is an arm of the Department of Motor Vehicles and adjudicates most moving violations issued in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.

The most common type of moving violation is speeding. Because a New York motorist can get 3 to 11 points for committing such an infraction, it is important to know how to fight such a ticket. This information is particularly useful at the Traffic Violations Bureau because this venue does not allow for any type of deal-making or plea bargaining. This article will provide a basic framework to help you fight a New York speeding ticket at the Traffic Violations Bureau.

The first step is to compute how many points are involved with the New York State speeding ticket you have been given.

The following chart will help you figure this out:

1 – 10 mph over speed limit – 3 points

11 – 20 mph over speed limit – 4 points

21 – 30 mph over speed limit – 6 points

31 – 40 mph over speed limit (possible suspension) – 8 points

More than 40 mph over speed limit (possible suspension) – 11 points

Points are measured from the date of offense (even if you are convicted years later). So when adding the possible points for a newly issued speeding ticket, you must go back 18 months from the date of the new ticket and determine how many other points you had on your record. during this period. Also, three speeding convictions within 18 months will result in an automatic revocation of your driving privileges for 6 months.

The next step is to determine whether your case is returnable at a Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) court. There are two, very different traffic court systems in New York State and, therefore, this determination is important for you to understand what you can and cannot do. If you are not within the TVB, then usually you can resolve the case by a plea deal.

The TVB courts cover any New York traffic ticket issued in New York City (Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), western Suffolk, Buffalo, and Rochester. A New York speeding ticket issued in any other place within New York State will not be heard at a TVB court.

The reason this is an important inquiry is that TVB courts generally do not allow any type of deal-making or plea bargaining. Rather, you must either plead guilty or not guilty and, if you plead not guilty, you are given a hearing where you will either win or lose. In this “all or nothing” court, it really pays to retain a New York traffic lawyer to fight your case. That is a New York traffic attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in fighting speeding tickets at the TVB.

Putting aside the emotions involved with fighting your own case, most motorists do not know how to listen carefully or cross-examine. Rather, they basically ignore the officer’s testimony, fail to ask any questions and, instead, just tell the judge their story. This incomplete approach is not recommended and is clearly ineffective.

If you do fight your own TVB speeding ticket, listen carefully to the officer’s testimony and even take notes. If the officer omits critical testimony (ex., date, time, location, direction, your ID information), then point this out to the judge after the officer rests. Similarly, if the officer gives testimony which is inconsistent with his other testimony or the information on the ticket, then likewise point this out to the judge.

For instance, I once was fighting an NYC speeding ticket when the officer testified that the motorist was proceeding eastbound on the Long Island Expressway. The ticket, however, indicated W/B (i.e., westbound). After the officer rested, I showed the ticket to the judge who promptly dismissed the case.

Even without an omission or inconsistency, you should still ask thoughtful questions of the officer. For example, if your defense is that the officer pulled over the wrong car, then ask “Where were you when he first saw your car?” “Did you have to pass any other cars to apprehend me?” and “How long did you to pull me over?” These types of questions build on your defense.

Also, ask to the see the officer’s notes. Read them and determine whether his notes are consistent with his testimony. Any discrepancy should be pointed out to the judge. Also, do not be afraid to ask the officer to decipher illegible portions of his notes.

After your cross-examination of the officer, it is time for you to offer your defense. Speak slowly and clearly. Hand up any evidence supporting your defense such as photos, witness statements or diagrams. Keep in mind that the judge hears many cases and, therefore, you should not be repetitive or rambling, and should only discuss relevant information.

One last tip. Prior to fighting your case, watch the judge and how he handles other cases. Does he listen and take notes? Does he seem impatient or distracted? If you are concerned about whether you will get a fair hearing, ask for a new date. It is unlikely that you will get the same TVB judge on the next assigned date.

I hope this article has been helpful in getting you prepared to fight your own NY speeding ticket when returnable at the TVB.

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