1. Consequences. Traffic violations at their core are crimes that have the potential to carry severe legal consequences: points on an individual’s driving record, jail time, and fines. And with these legal consequences come practical consequences on an individual’s everyday life: like higher insurance premiums and temporary or permanent suspensions of their driver’s license. These consequences apply to both New York residents, drivers who are residents of most other states, and residents of Canada. By choosing to drive on New York roadways, all of the above-mentioned individuals could be subjected to penalties. The following is a list of examples of violations and the points, fines, and jail time that they carry with them for an individual’s first conviction (NYVTL 1180(d); 1212; 1225 (c); and 1144 (a)):
|Violations||Points||Fines (Min.-Max.)||Jail Time (Min.-Max.)|
|Speeding with miles|
per hour over the posted
limit specified (listed below)
|1 – 10||3||$45 – $150||0 days|
|11 – 30||4||$90 – $300||0 – 15 days|
|31 – 40||8||$180 – $600||0 – 30 days|
|Over 40||11||$180 – $600||0 – 30 days|
|Reckless Driving||5||$100 – $300||0 – 30 days|
|Use Cell Phone/ Texting||5||$50 – $200||0 days|
|Failing to Move Over for Emergency Vehicle||3||$0 – $275||0 – 15 days|
Along with these consequences, individuals convicted of traffic violations will likely be required to pay Surcharges ranging from $88 – $93 to the DMV. Second and third time offenders face higher fines and jail sentences. And if an individual commits three speeding and/or misdemeanor traffic violations within eighteen months their license will be revoked for six months. Any violation triggering the imposition of five points or more is considered a serious driving offense. And any individual with six points or more on their driving record will be classified as a bad driver and fined $100 per year for three years by the DMV. However, these consequences can be mitigated or potentially avoided with the assistance of an experience traffic violation defense attorney.
2. Knowledge of Procedures and Customs. It is not uncommon for an individual to attempt to defend a traffic violation on their own without knowledge concerning the procedure and customs of the local judicial system. However, oftentimes an individual who represents themselves risks missing deadlines, notices, and court proceedings because they are not familiar with the procedural rules and legal documents involved in any given case. And without an understanding of local courtroom rules and customs, individuals who choose to represent themselves, due to their lack of knowledge of these rules and customs, often unintentionally offend a judge or district attorney.
3. Skill. You wouldn’t attempt to fix the brakes in your car or change its oil without consulting a professional if you were not familiar with how to perform these repairs and maintenance right? The same can be said for seeking professional and skillful legal representation when faced with a traffic violation of any kind. Proper legal representation can repair the possible damage to, and help you maintain, your license. The most important skills that traffic defense attorneys possess can only be acquired through training and experience. These skills include the ability to evaluate a case and determine the best course of action; negotiate with a district attorney; and zealously advocate in a way consistent with their client’s goals and expectations.
4. Convenience. When charged with a traffic violation you could spend countless hours researching issues and preparing documents, compiling evidence, preparing for appearances and hearings taking time away from the other opportunities like work and valuable time with your family. Or you could hire an attorney who handles these violations day in and day out and can quickly help you decide on the best course of action to get you back on the road with minimal exposure to the legal consequences that could potentially flow from a traffic violation.
5. Inadvertent Admissions. “I was speeding to pass someone.” “There were more cars in the line.” “I was going over the speed limit, but I was going downhill.” “I did not understand the conversion of kilometers to miles.” These are past statements made by individuals who attempted to defend a traffic violation without the assistance of an attorney in an attempt to gain sympathy from a judge or district attorney. However, in reality these statements are often used as a sword in the form of an admission by the district attorney as opposed to a shield from liability as the individual had intended them to be when they made the statements. A traffic violation defense attorney is experienced in advising clients on avoiding making statements similar to the ones above and has the skill to minimize the effect of such statements when they have inadvertently been made.