How To Handle Your First Speeding Ticket in New York

Getting a speeding ticket is always an unpleasant experience. You get nervous, it makes you late to wherever you are going, and if you get pulled over in New York City, you may be facing substantial fines and fees, and higher auto insurance rates. To add insult to injury, if you want to contest the ticket, instead of going to traffic court (like everyone else in the country does), you would have to schedule a hearing at the New York Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB), where there is no plea bargaining and it is harder to fight a ticket because of its unique rules that help police officers.  For instance, the burden of proof at the TVB is “clear and convincing evidence” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is an easier threshold to prove. So what is the best way to handle the entire TVB process?

Penalties and Points for Speeding Tickets in New York

One of the things that worry motorists when getting pulled over is how many points they will get on their driving record. This is crucial since a person who receives 11+ points can get their driver’s license suspended.

In New York, how many points you get for a speeding ticket depends on how many miles per hour you were going over the posted speed limit.

  • 1-10 mph: 3 points
  • 11-20 mph: 4 points
  • 21-30 mph: 6 points
  • 31-40 mph: 8 points
  • 41+ mph: 11 points

It is also important to keep in mind that the points you receive are cumulative within 18-month periods; meaning that even if you get a 3-point speeding ticket if you already have 8 points on your record from previous non-speeding traffic violations within 18 months, your license can be suspended.

In addition to the points, fines can range between $90 and $600, depending on how fast you were driving. Fines are doubled if you were pulled over for speeding in a work or school zone.

As if that were not enough, you also face surcharges that could be up to $93. And if you have received 6+ points within 18 months (or if you were convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol), you will also have to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.

Finally, for speeding 16+ mph, your car insurance premium can also increase for 36 months, even if this is the first time you are getting such a speeding ticket.

What To Do After You Receive Speeding Ticket

1. Never Admit Fault

There are so many things that could influence speed reading. Police officers have to get their radars calibrated regularly. If they fail to do so, it puts into question their reliability. By the same token, other nearby moving objects within the radar’s cone could impact the accuracy of the radar. Therefore, never admit to anything.

2. Verify the Information on the Ticket

The ticket should include accurate information regarding all the details of the incident, including the date, time, and location where you got pulled over; the make and model of your car, and your alleged speed. This is important because any mistakes can be used to help challenge your ticket at a hearing or trial.

3. Speak With An Attorney

An experienced traffic ticket lawyer will know how to move forward. They will know whether there are ways to question the reliability of the police officer’s testimony, radar reading, and how to best interrogate witnesses and the police officer. The worst mistake you can make is to think that because it is your first ticket, the consequences would not be so bad. The best course of action is to determine for sure whether you would be able to successfully fight the ticket.

4. Act Quickly 

You have 15 days from the date of the ticket to either pay it or contest it. Failing to do so can expose you to additional fees and a suspension.

5. Gather Your Evidence

How much evidence you can get together will depend on whether you were pulled over in New York City or elsewhere in the State (as explained below). However, you can still take photographs of the location where you were pulled over to show circumstances that would help you, such as foliage obstructing speed limit signs, bad lighting (if you were pulled over at night), or usual heavy traffic at the time and day you were pulled over.

What To Expect From a Speeding Ticket Trial

What to expect from your speeding ticket hearing will depend on where in the state you got pulled over. As mentioned above, the procedures at the TVB are different than in regular traffic courts.

Speeding Ticket Trial in New York City

There is no pre-trial conference in New York City. You would go straight to the Traffic Violation Bureau for your hearing. The TVB only lets you plead either guilty or not guilty. Pleading guilty means paying all of the assessed fines. However, if you plead not guilty, the hearing will proceed like a trial. The police officer always testifies first. While many of the rules of court do not apply — such as allowing hearsay testimony — you can still testify, as well as present witnesses, and cross-examine the police officer who issued the speeding ticket. You can also present any evidence in your favor, such as dashcam footage, surveillance video, or a substantial mistake on the information on the ticket. Once all evidence has been presented, the administrative judge will issue a ruling.

Since COVID-19, virtual hearings are allowed. If you prefer such a hearing (which we do not recommend) make sure to test your electronics in advance, that your browser supports the WebEx platform (where the hearing will take place), and that you upload your evidence ahead of time. If the internet at your house is unreliable, make arrangements to use a private room at a library or to attend the hearing from a friend’s or family member’s home.

Speeding Ticket Pretrial Conference and Trial Outside of NYC 

If you were pulled over outside of New York City, you will be able to conduct what is called pre-trial discovery. This is when your attorney makes a list of everything you need to get all pieces of the puzzle — such as subpoenaing witnesses or surveillance video, requesting calibration records, or any other type of information that would help support your case.

You will also be required to attend a pretrial conference to attempt to negotiate a disposition with the prosecutor. This is called a plea bargain. The term refers to discussing potential penalties by pleading guilty to a lesser offense. For example, pleading guilty to driving at a lower speed or for a less serious traffic infraction. An experienced traffic attorney would be able to consider all facts of your case to determine whether this would be your best strategy or if you should plead not guilty.

If no agreement is reached at the pretrial conference, a trial will be scheduled, where you will be able to present your evidence and your attorney can cross-examine the police officer who issued the ticket and any additional witnesses offering testimony for the State.

A New York Speeding Ticket Attorney Can Help

At Weiss & Associates, PC we can provide the best representation you could receive at your hearing, which is especially helpful during a hearing for your first ticket, where drivers tend to be nervous and are not really sure about what to expect.

Another benefit of hiring us is an initial free consultation, a flat fee, and experienced traffic lawyers who 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. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!

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