In New York City, Rochester, Buffalo and most of Suffolk, there is no plea-bargaining of traffic tickets. If you fight one, it is “all or nothing”. Hearings in these areas are held at the Traffic Violations Bureau, an arm of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Because the rest of the state offers reductions and most people usually accept them, the 10 TVB courts are the hardest places to win in the entire state. So how hard is it to win?
City-wide, 46.3% of motorists were successful fighting their traffic tickets in 2009. Does this figure sound encouraging? Technically, it is a pretty good number. However, this percentage is deceiving due to some statistic-padding (but that discussion must await a future blog post).
So where does a motorist have technically the best chance to beat a New York City traffic ticket on the merits? Based on statistics from 2009, the single best place to win a hearing is the Manhattan North Traffic Violations Bureau.
And the worst place … Staten Island which is, by far, the single toughest place to beat a traffic ticket in New York City (and the state). There are only two judges there and both are very much pro-police.
Outside New York City, the odds of beating a traffic ticket at the TVB are pretty bad. With the TVBs in Suffolk, Rochester and Buffalo success percentages just slightly better than that of Staten Island.
Below is the breakdown of percentage of not guilty determinations from highest to lowest:
Bronx Traffic Violations Bureau – 42.3%