Sunday, September 15, 2013

Corning Lawyer's Guide to Understanding New York State Traffic Tickets

 Many speeding tickets issued here in Upstate NY

I get calls regularly from those coming back from Canada or Buffalo or Rochester on I-17/86 or 390.
So you got a traffic ticket in Upstate New York. What now? Well you probably have lots of questions?? The purpose of this blog post is to answer and explain the most common ones.

First Question, what TYPE of ticket is it? 

Is it just a Traffic offense (non-criminal) OR a Criminal offense?

You will NEED a Lawyer for a criminal offense!

Second Question, Do you need to Physically Show up to Court? 

Again, is it a Criminal Charge?

You will NEED a Lawyer for a criminal offense!

The tickets, also called UTTs (Uniform Traffic Tickets) come in two distinct shapes:

the long skinny handwritten one, let's call it the "4 x 9"
the full page computer generated one, let's call it the "8.5 x 11"

State Police use the long form "8.5 x 11" and also give an additional page called "A Supporting Deposition." This is a sworn statement by the police. It states what they observed, or heard, or radar they used to determine speed level infraction.

To Determine: Traffic or Criminal: Look at the box which has one of three choices (levels) marked:

tr infrac (traffic infraction aka a violation: non-criminal offense)
misd (misdemeanor, first level of crime in NYS: criminal offense)
fel (felony, highest level of criminal offense in NYS)

If it is a Criminal Offense (like a 1212 Reckless Driving or a AUO Aggravated Unlicensed Operator) you will need to do TWO things: Get a Lawyer and Show Up to Court Physically.

Third Question, If it is NOT a criminal offense, are you pleading Guilty or Not Guilty?

btw You can also plead guilty with an explanation (that may possibly influence the fine)

To have the most legal rights you MUST send back your Plea choice back to the Court within 48 Hours of receiving the ticket. If you do not do this you will lose your right to request a Supporting Deposition, and have the ticket dismissed if this (the supporting dep) is not received back from the Court within 30 days of the Court receipt of this request. This is usually not an issue with State Trooper tickets as the state police give supporting depositions at roadside.

Fourth Question, If you plead guilty, first determine what pleading guilty will do to you? 

Will your license privileges (in NYS and elsewhere) be affected?
What fines, surcharges, and/or DMV assessments are you exposed to?

These are your first four basic questions. Get the answers to them as quickly as possible when dealing with a Upstate NY traffic ticket.

Larry Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law


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