Nobody wants to see those blue lights flash behind him or her on the highway and there is nothing fun about getting a speeding ticket. Admitting guilt by paying a speeding ticket is easy, but your insurance rates could spike with points added to your license. If you are convicted of a speeding violation, your driving record is likely to be adversely affected and you’ll have to pay various fees.
Remember: Before pleading guilty, you should explore whether it makes sense to fight it instead.
Common Reasons Why You Should Fight Your Speeding Ticket
If you are convicted for a speeding violation, it will reflect in your driving record and possibly even result in the suspension of your license. Of course, there are fines and other fees that will be imposed. But also you can face hiring auto insurance costs by hundreds of dollars each year.
The following are a few reasons you might consider fighting your speeding ticket:
1. You have an unblemished driving record
Although paying an $80.00 speeding ticket may not seem that bad, the true cost of the violation should be considered. Even with no prior offenses on your record, one speeding ticket of 16 mph or higher can result in hundreds of dollars of additional insurance costs.
2. You have a strong case
Speeding violations can be hard to beat, even if you think your ticket is unjustified. Your best chance at winning the argument is if you have physical proof that you weren’t speeding. This evidence could be dashcam video, GPS data from a smartphone app, or photos showing a speed limit sign was obscured.
Other aspects of a strong case could be witness arguments such as any passengers who were in the car at the time the ticket was issued or potential weaknesses in the method that the officer used to clock your speed. You can research the officer’s radar gun, for example, to present any potential maintenance schedules that the officer can be questioned about.
However, your best bet starts with showing up. By pleading not guilty, you place the burden on the People to prove its case.
3. You are looking to avoid points on your license
In New York State, motorists are allowed 10 points on their license in an 18-month period before their driver’s license will be suspended. The Driver Safety Class removes up to 4 points from your total. With that said, a conviction to an 8- or 11-point speeding ticket can result in a suspension regardless of your point total. Points are issued to your license or privilege to drive whenever you are convicted of any New York speeding offense. For out of state drivers, New York will create a New York record of your NY tickets here and will report the outcome to your home state. For more on points and how they can affect your driving record, view our DMV Points resource.
4. You would rather pay a fine upfront instead of increased insurance rates for years
Outside of New York City, you can usually negotiate a plea bargain in New York traffic courts. A plea bargain is when the prosecutor offers to reduce your original charge in exchange for your guilty plea to the reduced charge.
Plea bargaining saves court resources and money by avoiding a lengthy hearing. By presenting information that would lead a judge to grant you leniency, you could have your ticket reduced to a lesser charge.
5. You have previous traffic violations and any additional convictions may have your license suspended
The Department of Motor Vehicles assigns different point values for certain traffic violations. You may decide to fight your speeding ticket if the points will result in hitting or going over that limit. The MPH you were going over the posted speed limit will determine the number of points:
- 1 to 10 mph over = 3 points
- 11 to 20 mph over = 4 points
- 21 to 30 mph over = 6 points
- 31 to 40 mph over = 8 points
- 41+ mph = 11 points
Potential Cost of NYC Speeding Ticket
The five boroughs of New York City handle traffic tickets in a different manner than in all other parts of the state and, as a result, drivers are convicted at a much higher rate.
In addition, drivers who are found guilty of 6+ points for violations within an 18-month period will be required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRAF). The DRAF costs $300 plus $75 for each additional point after the 6.
Depending on the MPH that the motorist was driving over the posted speed limit, the costs for someone with a clean driving record could be around:
- 1 to 10 mph over could result in a $100-$250 total fine, surcharge
- 11 to 20 mph over could result in a $175-$350 total fine, surcharge
- 21 to 30 mph over could result in a $225-$500 total fine, surcharge, and $300 DRAF
- 31 to 40 mph over could result in a $300-$750 total fine, surcharge, and $450 DRAF
- 41+ mph could result in a $350-$1,000 total fine, surcharge, and $675 DRAF
Reviewing Your NYC Speeding Ticket
Reading a traffic ticket can be confusing at first glance, but it’s actually much simpler than you might think. Non-criminal moving violations in New York City are processed by the DMV’s Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB). Reviewing a TVB ticket is the same as reading a standard DMV ticket, with five sections in total:
- Your information: the top left of your TVB ticket will include your name, address, car information, etc.
- The charges: most traffic tickets are non-criminal charges located just below section one. This tells you why the officer wrote the ticket and what law they believe you were breaking.
- The court’s information: located at the bottom left of the ticket, this section lists the name of the court in whose jurisdiction you got the ticket. This also includes the court’s address.
- Information on pleading guilty: the top right section of the ticket contains information to enter a guilty plea. Doing so will result in a conviction of all the fines, fees, penalties, and surcharges with no way to fight the ticket afterward.
- Information on pleading not-guilty: the bottom right section of the ticket contains information to enter a not-guilty plea. This enables you to fight the ticket in court, potentially resulting in the dismissal of your case.
How to Plead Not Guilty to Your Speeding Ticket
In order to plead “not guilty” to a New York City speeding ticket, you will need to schedule a TVB hearing. To do so:
- Schedule your hearing.
- If you do not plan to appear in person, you can complete a Statement In Place of Personal Appearance in courts that allow them. (Note: We do NOT recommend this option. Appearing in person or through your lawyer is often much better).
- The judge will hold the hearing and notify you of the decision via email at the address you provided.
Your hearing must be held in the jurisdiction where your ticket was issued. If you fail to appear for your hearing or do not submit a Statement in Place of Personal Appearance, your driving privilege will be suspended and you may need to pay additional fines and/or be convicted by default.
Next Steps After You Plead Not Guilty
Your New York City case will be heard by a DMV Administrative Law Judge if you plead not guilty in any of the TVB jurisdictions. The TVB Judge has the authority to decide whether you are guilty, set fines, and take action against your license or driving privileges.
At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify, present witnesses and evidence on your behalf and, if you choose, be represented by an attorney.
Common Reasons to Plead Guilty
Pleading guilty is an admission of guilt to the offense that you have been charged with. In other words, you committed the offense in question and are willing to accept the punishment for the accused offense.
If you are a driver that wishes to plead not guilty to your New York traffic violation, you need to sign your name at the bottom section. Whatever you do, do NOT ignore the ticket. It will not go away on its own, and you could end up in much bigger trouble.
If you recently received a New York speeding ticket, contact Weiss and Associates, PC. Our team of NY traffic ticket lawyers understand the ins and outs of New York law and will do all we can to get you the results you are looking for.