Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can the Police Change My Ticket?

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that the police can increase your charges, add charges, decrease charges, and even issue new tickets after the stop of your car. This discretion to charge lies with all members of law enforcement. Prosecutors use it (charging discretion) when plea bargaining.

If a cop tells you, hey "I'm cutting your break," that might really be the case. 

What if you want to contest the charges? What if you believe the break you got wasn't really that great? Should you be afraid of police or prosecutorial retribution?

Sometimes You Really Did Get a Huge Break on Your New York Speeding Ticket

I know lawyers love to use the term "it depends" but it's very true with what you can or should expect in the world of traffic defense. SOME courts and some prosecutors and some cops really do give big breaks on charges while in other situations not so much. It really is variable.

If you got stopped for going 22 mph over the limit and the cop writes you for a lower speed should you contest it?

It depends how much of a break and where?
It depends on your prior driving record?
It depends on who the judge is?

Some New York Judges and Prosecutors Have Policies on Tickets and Other Offenses

Some judges have their own policies. A policy on speeding levels, as in I will not agree to lower anything over 90mph or 95mph. Some prosecutors have policies on certain types of tickets as well.

As in NO Plea bargains on failure to move over tickets or NO plea bargains on school zone tickets or on passing a school bus tickets.

It is ALWAYS in your best interest to discuss your specific charges with someone familiar with the court. You want an evaluation that is based in reality not fantasy. Some people want a NO point ticket instead of a point ticket and this is NOT always possible.

Some people call us demanding a specific outcome for their traffic infractions. Sometimes what they want is impossible to achieve because of the court, the district attorney policy, or the judge's policies.

Sometimes a Different Infraction (offense) Will Have the Same Points BUT No Effect on Increasing Car Insurance

Every case and situation is different and sometimes even policies can be overcome BUT knowing how that is possible is the job of your attorney. Trying to guess a plan or strategy is silly in traffic defense.

Just how far you can push or assert a defense or can get a deal has many variables to consider.

So Should YOU Contest a Police Officer Reduced Ticket?

Ask yourself Three Questions: 

1. Did you get an actual roadside reduction ticket?

Did the cop write a completely different infraction? You were speeding but you got an VTL 1110 a 
Failure to obey a traffic device (signal) ? The BIGGER the break the less chance of another i.e. An additional or further reduction. If your license was actually suspended (aggravated unlicensed), and the officer wrote you just a VTL 509 (1) Unlicensed Operator.

That means you just didn't have your license on your person NOT that your license was actually suspended. One is a criminal misdemeanor, the other a simple non-criminal violation. That is a huge break and something certainly NOT to contest.

2. Did the police write notes on the supporting deposition?

Police (troopers and deputies and officers) usually give a supporting deposition with your ticket. This is a sworn statement stating how they clocked your speed and/or statements you made or what they observed. Did they write out all or part of the other specific offenses they "could" have written and charged?

If they made notes and indications of a large break on their part this may be to jog their memory at a later date. These notes will be seen by a DA. The DA (prosecutor) will then know about the original actions on your part (your unlawful behavior), and what could have been charged by the police.

3. Did the police tell you if you contest this I will up the charges or add charges?

Sometimes police are very candid, and will say "hey you got a big break don't push your luck."

Police can tell a prosecutor what they told you, and they can also tell a prosecutor to up the charges. Police can also write more tickets at a later date.