Legal Law

Why it makes sense to fight a speeding or traffic ticket in New York

If you recently received a speeding ticket in New York, you may want to reconsider pleading guilty. A guilty plea can cost you thousands of dollars in insurance costs and appraisal fees.

To put this in perspective, suppose you received a speeding ticket on the New York State Thruway for 86 mph in a 65 mph zone. In New York, this is considered a six point speed due to the charge of 21 mph over the limit. If you decide to plead guilty, not only will your insurance rates increase due to the speeding conviction, but you will also face a $300 New York State driver evaluation fee. This is in addition to the fine imposed by the Court.

New York’s Driver Responsibility Assessment Program began in 2004 as a way to penalize high-risk drivers. Essentially, this “tax” equates to a total penalty of $300 for the first six points in an 18-month period and $75 for any additional points. Therefore, if you are convicted of one eight-point speed or if you are convicted of two four-point speeds within an 18-month period, you will have to pay a total assessment fine of $450 because of the eight points. If you do not pay the assessment fee, your New York driving privilege will be suspended. This is true even for out of state drivers.

Insurance costs, as mentioned, will also increase. Exactly how much depends on the carrier, but many would estimate a 30-50% increase over three years. For out-of-state drivers, the answer is a bit more complex. New York, along with 45 other states, participates in the Interstate Drivers Compact. Under this agreement, convictions are supposed to transfer to the home state as if they had occurred in the home state. Obviously, that makes it much more likely that your insurance company will find out about your conviction and raise your rates.

In many courts, if you plead not guilty, you will be given the option of appearing in court and “pledging” with the prosecutor. Many times, the prosecutor will offer a guilty plea for a non-moving violation with lower points that protects your insurance and denies you having to pay a driver’s assessment fine. Based on the high ramifications of a speeding ticket conviction, he may want to consider doing so.

If you do not wish to appear in court or are unable to do so, hiring a traffic attorney may be your best option. In general, hiring an attorney will save her from having to appear in court, since the attorney can usually appear on her behalf. Although prices for a traffic attorney vary, generally having the attorney appear on her behalf would be much more cost-effective than pleading guilty and dealing with the after effects. The attorney should be able to negotiate a reduction that protects her insurance and reduces the points. A knowledgeable traffic attorney is familiar with the different violations and their potential to affect insurance or show up in other states.

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