Saturday, August 30, 2014

How Many Times Must YOU Appear for a NY Traffic Violation?

"New" Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1806 is NOW five years old 

Having to physically show up to court over and over sucks. It sucks for regular (lay) people, and it also sucks for their attorneys. It is a true time waster in every sense of the word. What could be handled or settled or negotiated or resolved in less time and less effort and less money drags on and on. WHY?

Form Over Substance

Why after all are new laws proposed, and then passed by our legislators? New laws are aimed at helping all of us but without common sense in their substance they end up making things worse.

I recently had a Court demand my physical appearance on a ticket case. To demand that an attorney physically appear to resolve a rather simple traffic violation with no aggravating factors is frustrating. This is especially true when it is a 7:00 PM Court in the middle of nowhere. Is it any wonder that my next Court date in this Court is also scheduled 3 months away because the Court is so backed up with tickets. This costs everyone more, not good, certainly not justice or fairness for people by any stretch of the imagination.

The NOT so NEW New York VTL Law Section 1806

In 2009, the New York State legislature changed traffic tickets throughout the state to an almost mandatory three stage process:

1. Initial (first) appearance
2. Pre-trial conference (discussion/negotiation of matter with judge and DA or ADA)
3. Trial (police show up ready to go)

In the real world, tickets, violations get negotiated with prosecutors daily via phone, fax, email, and mail. Most offers on these types of matters are then approved by the judge. Most ADAs don't give plea offers that won't be approved by their respective judges.

If you look to the picture above you see one of the Courts using and almost with a certain glee flouting Section 1806 as a mandate to physically appear. They might be using it as an excuse for whatever reason. In many places we can still handle these tickets (violations) within a two stage process or even a one stage process IF we have all the necessary paperwork and documentation prepared in advance.

IMHO With or without new law common sense must prevail because without it we are all going to be spinning our wheels and going nowhere fast.

Always remember to consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.


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607-229-5184

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