Paid off the NY speeding ticket. Got additional fees. What do?
October 26, 2012 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Paid off the NY speeding ticket. Got additional fees. What do?

About a month ago, I got a speeding ticket and an unsafe lane ticket while driving through New York state. I paid the ticket fees and thought it done. Today, I get a notice that since I earned 6 or more points in New York state during a 18 month period, I must also pay a "Driver Responsibility Assessment" for the next 3 years in addition to the fees I've already paid. This fee is more than the tickets and I'm feeling more than a little outraged. I've been a complete wreck since I got this notification.

My question is, obviously, what can I do? The fee notice indicated that non-payment could lead to a suspension of my NY state license or difficulty in obtaining a NY license but nothing else. I am not a resident of New York state nor do I intend to become one so I'm not sure how that is a threat. (For a side note, I am a resident of Rhode Island.) I'd love to tell the fine state of New York to blow its double dipping out its ass but I doubt I can ignore this. What exactly can the state do? What can *I* do?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (8 answers total)
posted by oceanjesse at 7:24 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

check if NY has one of those programs where if you take an aggressive driver class (on how to be less aggressive) they credit you a couple of points, and see if that helps the situation?
posted by saraindc at 7:25 AM on October 26, 2012

What saraindc refers to as an "aggressive driver class" is known as "defensive driving" here in NY. The NYS DMV calls this a Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) and it is now offered over the internet as an IPRIP. However, you'll note that the NYS DMV page for PIRP explicitly states:
If you take a DMV-approved accident prevention course, you can

*reduce your driver violation point total by a maximum of four points, and
*save 10 percent on your automobile liability and collision insurance premiums.

An accident prevention course cannot prevent a mandatory suspension or revocation.

An accident prevention course and point reduction do not affect a driver responsibility assessment.

You cannot use the course as a credit against future driver violation points.
Depending on where you received your violations in NY depends on your recourse. I live just outside of Queens so my experience (re-posted from Fat Wallet) is something like this:
Hey, fellow Nassau resident here (Long Beach). Did you get a ticket from a local village cop or a county cop? If it's being handled at a village level (like Village of Garden City, Village of Valley Stream, etc) then you'll need to plea bargain with them. This varies from village to village. On the other hand, if this was from a Nassau County Police Officer, you can either plead guilty by mail and pay it and take the points, or you can appear in Hempstead. (Please note that parking there is metered and strictly enforced -- you'd be surprised how many people who get traffic tickets get parking tickets while fighting their traffic ticket.)

It will take you a while there as there is always a line. Plan on wasting half a day, at least. Either a clerk or whatever junior attorney from the DA's office got picked for the day to handle traffic court will eventually call you.

Based on your alleged violation, there will be an offer made. They never bargain for people who pass the stop signs on school buses or speed in a school zone, but after that, they knock down pretty much everything. For smaller infractions such as yours, they'll usually offer that you pay the fine and get it will go on your record as a seat belt violation (no points and thus no insurance increase). If it's speeding, such as 20 over, they bring it down to something like 15 over. In short, for showing up, to discourage people from contesting things further, they make the first offer.

Take it. By the time you waste another day (possibly several more on this) and hire an attorney to fight a ticket that's a few hundred, you're already spending more than you would have already. The only thing you want to avoid is points which would jack up your insurance.

As for the entire "if the cop doesn't show up thing", well, they've got all the time in the world and they'll adjourn it. Even then, the DA of the day will probably just get a written statement from the citing officer and use that if the cop doesn't show the second time. No judge will dismiss it outright. (In fact, they aren't really judges!)

(I've been to Hempstead on two different occasions and watched hundreds of people as I've waited my turn. I've seen a few people come in lawyered up, but it didn't seem to get them anything, just someone to talk to while they waited. As long as you avoid points, I'd consider it just an expensive lesson to either (a) drive a bit better or (b) keep a better eye out for unmarked cops.)

Best of luck to you.
That's Nassau County. That's what you should have done if you got a ticket here (or one of many other counties in NY that don't do the TVB thing. NYC (to the west) and Suffolk (to the east) do the NYS DMV TVB thing, which is much less likely to work out in your favor. This link is one I've posted on MeFi before.

As for ignoring NY tickets, I'd speak to a lawyer to get actual legal advice. I can tell you that failure to pay might result in problems because both NY and RI are members of the Non-Resident Violator Compact, which I'm sure you're familiar with.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:45 AM on October 26, 2012

IANAL. If you really want to be sure, you should consult a lawyer. That said, the wording on the NYS site is pretty clear: "If you do not pay the assessment, the DMV will suspend your driver license, your learner permit, or your driving privileges." These will not affect your RI license or driving privileges. The Non-Resident Violator Compact applies to moving violations, which the assessment is not. The only thing I would worry about is another NYS ticket — if you get one, not paying this assessment will almost certainly make things worse for you.

This wiki-answer deals with the same question, and supports my line of thought.
posted by ubiquity at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2012

There are many NY lawyers who specialize in fighting traffic offenses. They will give you a (generally free) assessment of your situation.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2012

Another thing to consider, even if the moving violations which resulted in the assessment don't become a problem in RI via the NRVC, you cannot leave New England and get to the rest of the US without driving through NY (or up to Canada and around NY!).

Here's a new thing I just read about:
However, another thing to consider is that all 50 states and the District of Columbia report driving license suspensions and major moving violations to a national database called the National Driver Register. The NDR allows states to deny licenses to drivers who lost their previous license in another state, prevent duplicate licenses from being issued, and so on. It is uncertain if the suspension of NYS driving "privileges" could be reported to the NDR if a driver does not actually have a NYS license to be suspended. It is highly recommended that drivers consult a lawyer in their home state before coming to such a conclusion.

You should probably talk to a lawyer to get some definite answers.
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:23 AM on October 26, 2012

Is it true that you earned 6 points in the state of NY in last 18 months? If this is true then you are out of luck. I am sorry. I took defensive driving course last week and this topic came up. The instructor told us, essentially you can NOT do anything. Just pay up $1800 at once or pay in installments but you have to pay that, you can not skip it.

Honestly, if you have money, just pay up and close the chapter. Paying lawyer will cost you more than that (plus the $1800), plus your insurance will make a note of it. Hell of a mess.
posted by zaxour at 5:40 PM on October 26, 2012

As a non-NY state resident, you send them a letter saying, verbatim, "go fuck yourselves".

Then you avoid visiting NY for a few years.

They can't do a damned thing to you (for mere traffic violations) as long as you stay out of their miserable state.
posted by pla at 7:27 PM on October 26, 2012

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