It’s official! Effective April, 2013, the Suffolk Traffic Violations Bureau in Hauppague will be no more. It will be replaced by a new Suffolk County-run traffic court. Governor Cuomo signed the law on August 17, 2011.
The law will enable Suffolk County to control the operations and, more importantly, collections of traffic fine money. It could mean roughly $10 million per year of additional revenue for the cash-strapped county.
So what does this meant to motorists? It is still un-clear but the biggest issue is whether the new court will engage in plea bargaining. The current court does not thereby requiring motorists to plead guilty or face a hearing against the police officer. If the new court allows for deals, this will be a huge win for motorists because, currently, it is very hard to win a Suffolk County traffic hearing.
Another interesting issue is the location of the new court. The current Hauppague location is centrally located but within a state office building. The new court will likely be in a new location and in a county-owned property. Hopefully, the new location will have good mass transit to allow suspended motorists to easily get to the court.
One final consideration is pending cases. What will happen to open cases when the new court opens? I assume (and hope) that they’ll be transferred as, without a steady stream of new cases, it will be un-economical to keep the present court open very long.