Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What is a "Serious" Traffic Violation in New York? WHY Not all Violations are Created Equal.

I am often asked to represent motorists who have been charged with traffic violations. Some of these violations are classified by the State of New York as "Serious" while others are not. The significance of this classification is that if you get convicted of only two of these "serious" violations within a three year time period, and hold a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) your license will be suspended for sixty days. If you are on probationary license (new license privilege or recently returned privilege) then any TWO moving violations will result in a 60 day suspension but any ONE serious offenses will get you suspended for 60 days.

The fact is much like the diversity of crimes violations are ranked from the moving to the non-moving, from high points and fines to no points and no fines, and finally from the serious to the not so serious. Judges and Prosecutors also have their own perspective (opinion) of what they consider to be serious.

Some Courts allow NO plea bargaining on specific offenses in their towns and villages. For example, The Town of Ithaca and the Town of Enfield by policy have NO plea bargaining on speeding in school zones. You have the option of trial in these Town Courts.

Some counties have NO plea bargaining as well. In Tioga County there is NO plea bargaining on the latest VTL 1144 A, failure to move over law. Again you have the option of having a trial. The District Attorney there believes that that offense has cost the lives of law enforcement, which it most certainly has, and future violators will not be offered reduced pleas. Knowing where you are, and what local policy allows or dictates is as they say PRICELESS.

For motorists with non-CDL licenses there are the following known serious traffic offenses:

VTL section 1212 Reckless Driving is classified as a serious violation, also speeding, tailgating, and unauthorized racing. Combinations of these including speed in a school or a work zone will get you suspended. 

Larry Newman, D.C., J.D.  Lawyer, Chiropractor, and author.