Ontario Resident that got speeding ticket in NY State
May 22, 2014 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm a Canadian that got clocked doing 81 in a 65 in upper NY state a few days ago. I'm trying to figure out my options.

I got clocked doing 81 in a 65 on my way home to Canada on I-90. My court seems to be the town of Sheridan. The fine for this seems to be in the $380 range, but apparently you have to be convicted or plead guilty before you even know what the fine is (this is the opposite of Ontario where you see your fine and you can decide to fight it or not). Since NY State has reciprocity with Ontario this means I'll get the demerit points transferred onto my record.

On top of that, the cop moved as fast as he could to issue me the ticket. He didn't even ask if i knew how fast I was going, lower the speed to the next tier (which is fairly routine Ontario if you're not a complete jackass to the cop) or anything. My Canadian rental car didn't have a MPH bar on the speedometer, so I was just (I felt) cruising with traffic. Google is full of stories from other Canadians and apparently this is a well known corridor where the cops like to nail out of state plates, which kinda makes sense as he nailed me and not the car in front or behind that were cruising with me.

I've talked with a few lawyers and they say that the local prosecutor is usually happy to plead you down to the equivalent to a "bad parking ticket that you'd get parking in front of hospital ER entrance or in a handicap spot" that'll run me about $175 and won't go on any permanent record. They seem to enjoy doing this as then the town and not NY state will get the fine money. The cheapest lawyer is quoting $250 which would put my full cost at $425, which is more than $380 if I just plead. I can't represent myself as it'd be too much time off work to go down.

However, my driving record is actually pristine and though I don't own a car and don't plan on owning one (so insurance isn't really an issue) I think maintaining a clean record may be worth it, and I can easily afford either option.

So my question is, can anybody tell me if I have any other options or recommendations? Any experiences to share?
posted by hylaride to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Save your money. You can plea directly with the prosecutor. Absolutely no need for a lawyer. Plead not guilty and ask to speak with the prosecutor day of hearing. There will be a line of other regular people looking to do the same.
posted by Kruger5 at 12:01 PM on May 22, 2014

There may be an option for online traffic school to remove the point from your record. It'll be an additional cost on top of your ticket cost, but if keeping a pristine record is important to you, then it may be an option to consider.
posted by quince at 12:04 PM on May 22, 2014

Since you can easily afford the extra $$ for a lawyer, I'd do that. It's not that much of a difference in cost, and you don't know if there will be consequences to having the ticket on your record.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:04 PM on May 22, 2014

Kruger5: Can I do that over the phone?
posted by hylaride at 12:05 PM on May 22, 2014

Kruger5: the reason I'm looking at the lawyer is that I can't be physically present.
posted by hylaride at 12:32 PM on May 22, 2014

I believe you have to be present in all cases. Speak with the municipal court clerk (they are easy to reach), and then check with a lawyer.
posted by Kruger5 at 12:56 PM on May 22, 2014

I am a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina. Part of what I do is represent people who are charged with driving offenses, including speeding tickets. I received a speeding ticket myself in New York two years ago. I immediately hired an attorney in New York to handle the case. Once I paid the lawyer, I never had to give the situation a second thought. My license and insurance were protected, and I was relieved of any stress.

Hire a lawyer.
posted by flarbuse at 1:10 PM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would call them to see if they'll reduce it. My husband got a ticket in Utah while we were on a road trip. We called the number of the (judge?) the following week, he reduced it from a 90 in a 65 to a 70 in a 65, knocking a few hundred dollars off the fine.

As a fellow non-car-owner, I also have no use for a pristine driving record. I wouldn't want to rack up tickets, but I also wouldn't be concerned with one ticket on my record.

At $380 and no potential insurance impact, I don't think this is worth a lawyer.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:35 PM on May 22, 2014

Almost any lawyer will tell you (with no fee) what they can do for you. If you can't find one in that town, call the ABA to get a recommendation. Anyone they recommend to you will certainly talk to you for free.
posted by bensherman at 3:12 PM on May 22, 2014

FWIW the cars I've rented on both sides of the border have clearly marked speedometers.
I say suck it up and pay.

very annoyed that the entitled shit who decided that the red light didn't apply to him and totalled my rental in Vancouver doesn't seem to have been held accountable
posted by brujita at 3:41 PM on May 22, 2014

Be advised NY also has an ~$80 court fee that's separate from the fine.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2014

brujita: I know how you feel. I got rear ended in a rental car in northern british columbia a few years back. The rednecks that rammed me at a red light tried to blame it on me saying I backed into them!
posted by hylaride at 7:28 AM on May 23, 2014

There was a witness, so he couldn't weasel out of claiming he had the green...what was really weird is that the cops didn't show up!
posted by brujita at 11:51 AM on May 23, 2014

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