71 in 45 mph zone. >$500
April 5, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I was ticketed in NYC for going 71mph in a 45 zone. I'm a CA resident. I have a court date in a month. Please help me pick the right strategy.

The fine is $195 plus 6 points on my license, which subjects me to a Driver Responsibility Assessment, which is $100/yr for the next 3 years. And of course, this will impact my insurance rates (NY and CA are states that talk to each other when it comes to points, although it is not clear to me what the mapping is).

It seems like I have the following options:
a) Plead guilty, Pay ~$500 plus unknown premium increase.
b) Fly to NY to appear at my court hearing
c) Pay an attorney to represent me at my court hearing
d) Submit an affidavit by mail

I spoke with a law firm that specializes in traffic violations, they charge a ~$300 flat fee to handle cases, but they recommend that I not use them because they have had low success with the court in question (Staten Island). Appearing in person isn't that ridiculous as I visit my family in NY throughout the year anyway, and I have unused airline credit that would cover a ticket.

My goals are primarily to avoid points if possible, and secondarily to reduce the fine. I am hoping to get personal experiences with the options above, any I have missed, and recommendations for the best way to achieve my goals--specifically WRT the NYC court system, and the Staten Island court, ideally.

A few more details: This was in a transition from a 50 to 45mph zone, going from the BQE onto the Verrazano Bridge. It was late at night and I was the only car on the road. I was de-accelerating as I got onto the bridge, but not braking, when I drove past a patrol car.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
IANAL, IANYL. In New York, my experience has been that your best bet is to show up in person, talk to the prosecutor, who has a million of these cases and wants to get them over as quickly as possible, and plead down. You're going to get hit with something. Try to get hit with less.
posted by yeolcoatl at 2:49 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Usually you can at least plead down the points if you show up in person and don't have a long history of traffic citations. I would try to get your driving record as proof that this is an unusual occurrence for you.
posted by Raichle at 2:50 PM on April 5, 2011

Your CDL should only get one point against it for possible insurance purposes so shouldn't kill you on your rates unless you have more points on your CDL.

Given you have the miles for a free trip, it might be worth it to show up in court and see if you can get out of paying that $100/yr assessment. From what I read, you're responsible for paying that even w/o a NYDL. Based on your comment that the lawyer didn't want to take the case because the court is tough, I wouldn't expect a dismissal or a reduction on the initial fine. But even if they knock one point off, you save $300. Even if NY removes all points from the infraction, you're still stuck speeding which means you get 1 point in California because CA and NY share info.

Good luck.
posted by birdherder at 3:36 PM on April 5, 2011

HerrApparently has a lead foot and has received more than a couple out-of-state speeding tickets/court dates, yet has never come away with points. His advice: Hire a local attorney to represent you. The attorney will advise you whether your appearance is necessary.
posted by apparently at 3:37 PM on April 5, 2011

In NYC, you do not go to court and you do not deal with an ADA. You go to a TVB and there's just an ALJ. It's very different than other parts of NY where you go to a court and the most junior ADA spends the day handing traffic tickets.

http://www.nytickethelp.com/traffic-violations-bureau/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_Violations_Bureau, http://www.nytrafficticket.com/blog/index.php/2010/08/30/the-worst-traffic-violations-bureau/ and http://www.nytrafficticket.com/blog/index.php/2010/08/21/the-best-place-to-beat-a-new-york-city-traffic-ticket/
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:43 PM on April 5, 2011

I'd include more NYC relevant information, but I live between NYC and Suffolk in Nassau, so I actually get to go to a real court if I get a speeding ticket. If I were to get one in NYC or Suffolk, I'd be back in TVB-land.
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:44 PM on April 5, 2011

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