Over $76 million was generated last year from New York City traffic tickets.
Despite the name (which suggests it is independent), the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) is actually an arm of the Department of Motor Vehicles and is tasked with adjudicating moving violations issued in New York City, Rochester, Suffolk and Buffalo.
At the TVB, there is no plea-bargaining so all “not guilty” pleas are scheduled for a hearing. There are various rules which make it easier for the police officer to be prove his or her case against you including no right to pre-hearing discovery, no right to an affidavit from the officer (known as a supporting deposition), admissibility of hearsay, guilt must be shown by the lesser standard of “clear and convincing” evidence (rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt”) and the DMV judges can (and often will) ask questions of the officer to help him or her.
Given the staggering amount of monies generated from this administrative agency, it is not surprising that these anti-motorist rules have been put in place making it hard to fight a traffic ticket and win.
This lop-sided system proves to be quite lucrative for New York State. Last year, $76,852,904 was collected at the seven TVB courts (fines, surcharges and suspension termination fees) and DMV in Albany (fines and surcharges) as a result of NYC traffic tickets. This figure does not even include New York City’s share of the $20+ million of suspension termination fees collected in Albany.
The largest single source of revenue was from motorists who simply sent in their tickets with guilty pleas along with a check. Many motorists do not contest their traffic tickets and, as a result, over $14 million was sent in to DMV in Albany in 2009.
In terms of the specific courts, the Bronx Traffic Violations Bureau prove to be the biggest earner followed by the two Queens Traffic Violations Bureaus and Brooklyn North TVB. Manhattan South TVB and Richmond TVB trail in the rear among down-state TVBs.
Below is the 2009 breakdown from largest revenue to least revenue:
Bronx Traffic Violations Bureau – $11,723,075
Queens North Traffic Violations Bureau – $9,169,767
Brooklyn North Traffic Violations Bureau – $9,022,929
Queens South Traffic Violations Bureau – $8,901,253
Brooklyn South Traffic Violations Bureau – $7,179,216
Manhattan North Traffic Violations Bureau – $6,193,402
Manhattan South Traffic Violations Bureau – $5,302,721
Staten Island Traffic Violations Bureau – $5,242,790
Suffolk County Traffic Violations Bureau – $7,298,724
Rochester Traffic Violations Bureau – $3,451,926
Buffalo Traffic Violations Bureau – $2,341,088
The below pdf contains a spreadsheet with all 2009 Traffic Violations Bureau statistics.