Should I Plead Not Guilty to My New York Speeding Ticket?

18 Comments

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:

  1. Your information: the top left of your TVB ticket will include your name, address, car information, etc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. Schedule your hearing.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

 

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18 Comments. Leave new

  • I have just received a speeding ticket of going 89 in a 65 in upstate NY. It is my first time ever getting a ticket and accidentally filed out the guilty section. Is there a way to change it on paper?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      October 4, 2021 11:00 pm

      Elizabeth,

      Not sure what “change it on paper means” but we recommend pleading not guilty. This is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable outcome.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I recently got a speedy ticket for going 83 on 65 speed limit according to the officer. However I believe I did not go over 80 so the officer wrote it down as 79. This is my first speedy ticket and I have clean record. Can I show up to the court with my ticket without mailing in as ” not guilty ” or should I mail in and wait for a response.

    Reply
    • Beh Meh,

      We recommend pleading not guilty via certified mail, RRR. This will save you from appearing in court for the sole purpose of pleading not guilty (ie, your arraignment).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • My 20-year old daughter recently got a speeding ticket (going 80 on a 65 zone). The minute she got home she panicked and immediately mailed the ticket pleading guilty without even speaking to us to at least try and help her figure out what would be the best option. She’s been driving for 4 years now and has a clean record. We told her she should have pleaded not guilty as pleading guilty could have higher repercussions. Is it possible to change your plea to not guilty even after she mailed the ticket (which the court has not yet received). Is changing plea to not guilty the right thing to do?

    Reply
    • Sandra,

      Yes, it may be possible to change depending on the court. Call our office ASAP and we’ll help you.

      Matthew Weiss
      212-683-7373

      Reply
  • Should I plead guilty to a 46 in a 30 zone to just make this go away- I do not believe I was doing 46, I was just coming out of a small hamlet town that’s well known for state patrol, and I and another car were pulled over – I was doing something between 35-40 per my dial and directly following the other car.

    Reply
    • Gill,

      No! We always recommending pleading not guilty. It is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable outcome.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I live in New York and just recently got my first speeding ticket. Am I supposed to mail in the right side “not guilty part” to get my court date where I get to speak to the DA to try and make a deal for a reduced sentance? Or do I just appear at the court at the date on the bottom left of the ticket, and that is my set trial date already?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      August 16, 2021 11:13 am

      John McMarry,

      You can plead guilty via mail or wait until the arraignment date on your ticket. We prefer doing the latter.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • NYC – is there a chance to plead not guilty to speeding ticket and avoid points? I’ve been driving for 30 years without any moving violations (a couple of speed camera/red light but never direct with my name on a ticket!)

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      August 5, 2021 5:26 pm

      Evi,

      Yes, pleading not guilty is the only way to obtain a more favorable result.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I live in New York State, is pleading not guilty to a speeding ticket when going 55 in 35 not a good idea? Should I just pay my fine ?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      August 5, 2021 5:24 pm

      Jessica,

      We recommend that you plead not guilty to this speeding ticket. It carries 4 points and result in your insurance rates going up.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Jennifer Torregrosa
    July 13, 2021 10:15 am

    Had a speeding violation in NY (I have a NJ License) went to court & the judge gave me a guilty verdict with lesser charge of 4 points instead of 6 points with a fine to pay. Does this stay on my record forever? Should I just pay it or do I have a chance to appeal & in any way have no points on my license?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      July 13, 2021 10:26 am

      Jennifer Torregrosa,

      You generally cannot appeal your voluntary decision to accept a reduction. You can take a NYS Driver Safety Class to deduct the 4 points If you haven’t take one in the last 18 months).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Joseph Iapalucci
    January 11, 2021 5:34 pm

    live in NJ clean record and want to avoid points. 4 lane rd truck was in the left lane and i passed the truck fast so if he moved right

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      January 11, 2021 5:42 pm

      Joseph Iapalucci,

      You should plead not guilty to your traffic ticket. This is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable outcome.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply

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