3 BIGGEST MISTAKES NEW YORK DRIVERS MAKE WHEN GETTING A TRAFFIC TICKET
Now is the perfect time to clean up your driving record so that you can start the Fall season without unpaid traffic tickets looming over you. It is also a good time to gain some understanding about what you should never do when pulled over by a traffic cop. Here are the biggest mistakes I see people make when it comes to getting a traffic ticket:
1. PLEADING GUILTY TO THE VIOLATION. There is almost no negative consequence that can result in pleading not guilty to a traffic ticket. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced traffic attorney. Outside of New York City, a traffic lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the Town Attorney or local Police Department for a favorable plea bargain—which often results in a no-point violation. Within New York City, a traffic lawyer can represent you at a hearing and question the police officer and present evidence in your favor. The likely result of eliminating or reducing points on your license is well worth the lawyer’s fee, as it will keep your car insurance rates low. It will also help you maintain a clean driving record, which is important for future employment, college acceptances, credit ratings, and much more.
2. FAILING TO IMMEDIATELY REMEDY AN EQUIPMENT VIOLATION OR EXPIRED INSPECTION STICKER. If you receive a ticket because of an equipment problem, such as broken headlights, a missing license plate, or tinted windows, address the problem ASAP. Do the same if you get a ticket for an expired inspection or registration. Then submit proof to the traffic court that the problem was quickly resolved. Some courts may completely dismiss the ticket. Most courts will reduce the fine, sometimes by as much as 50%.
3. IGNORING AN OUT-OF-STATE TICKET. Don’t assume that a traffic ticket received out of New York State won’t affect your driving record. It’s quite the opposite. If you fail to answer a moving violation ticket that you received in almost any state outside of New York, your license will be suspended until you answer the ticket. The consequences are even worse if you are a driver under 21 years of age and you commit an alcohol- or drug-related conviction outside of New York. In that case, your New York State driver’s license will be revoked for at least a year (http://on.ny.gov/2fJYaUP). The bottom line: treat a ticket that you receive anywhere in the U.S. as you would a ticket you get in New York. The best plan of action is to hire a traffic attorney from the local area to plead not guilty for you. But if you don’t go that route, plead guilty and pay the ticket. Just be sure not to ignore it!