Any way to resolve a ticket (inspection sticker) before court date?
April 21, 2016 9:57 AM   Subscribe

When I moved to New York from Massachusetts and registered my car here, I was told at the DMV that my MA inspection sticker would be valid until it expired. Today I was pulled over by a cop and issued a citation for not having a NYS inspection sticker. He told me that I could go to court and tell the judge that I was misinformed and they’d probably waive the fine.

Well, guess what. I was not misinformed. Right on the DMV website they spell out “Your out-of-state inspection remains valid until it expires, or for one year after the vehicle is registered in New York, whichever comes first. When your out-of-state inspection expires, you must get the vehicle inspected here.” It seems really unfair that I have to go to court over this. Is there anything I can do short of waiting and showing a printout from the DMV to the judge?

Also, now I really don’t want to go get my NYS inspection until my old one expires (as the ticket instructs me to do within ten days). Do you think I’d be OK in sticking to my guns, or should I just do it to avoid trouble?
posted by Kriesa to Law & Government (8 answers total)
You're probably going to have to go to court and bring screenshots of this information. That's kind of what going to court to fight a ticket is: proving that you were not in error. It sucks that you got pulled over and issued a bad ticket, by a cop who sounds like a total jerk. But this is how the system works. I've certainly experienced worse things at the hands of the cops vis a vis my car.

Definitely stick to your guns, though, as it seems pretty obvious that the ticket is bogus. You also may want to print out something from the website, or take a screenshot to keep on your phone, with the correct information. Just in case you're pulled over again about the same issue.
posted by Sara C. at 10:04 AM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

Go to court! If the cop believed you, it doesn't make sense that he'd give you a ticket. Sounds like he thinks you'll pay the ticket without bothering to check and go to court.

Agree with Sara C. - you probably need go to court with the info, otherwise the ticket stands. I don't think you need to get your car inspected in New York until your inspection expires, as the law details.
posted by serenity_now at 10:16 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

You should just go ahead and get that NY inspection sticker now. There is nothing whatsoever stopping another uninformed cop from giving you a ticket. It's annoying enough having to go to court once to fight this; imagine having to do it on a regular basis just so you can have the satisfaction of "sticking to your guns."
posted by kindall at 10:28 AM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

You're probably looking specifically at this question on the NYSDMV page, right?
I will become a resident of New York State and will register my vehicle here. Do I need to get a New York State inspection as soon as I register?
I'd feel underprepared just going in with that as it lacks a citation to the relevant paragraph of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations which actually governs this matter. Though I believe official copies of the NYCRR are not free, Westlaw provides an electronic version that shows the relevant section.

Section 4. Inspection Information
Paragraph b.
(b) Where a nonresident becomes a resident of this State, a certificate of inspection issued by any other jurisdiction to a motor vehicle owned by him will be accepted in lieu of a certificate of inspection issued in this State. Such a certificate will be valid until the expiration date of the out-of-state certificate, or one year from the date of New York registration, whichever occurs first. Upon expiration of the out-of-state certificate, the motor vehicle must be inspected and bear a certificate of inspection from an official New York inspection station.
posted by books for weapons at 11:29 AM on April 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would take a photo of the valid MA sticker and mail it to the court with the ticket(pleading not guilty) along with a letter of explanation, referencing the paragraph noted above. They should write back dismissing the ticket.

But go ahead and get a NYS inspection done.
posted by leaper at 11:41 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Increased insurance costs (if any) will be the determinant here - find out if that particular conviction would add points (I'm from California, we deal with points here, I'm sure other locales have similar systems).

If it's just about the money, then plead guilty and ask for a reduced fine.

If the guilty plea would jack your insurance rates then fight it.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 5:26 PM on April 21, 2016

I got a ticket for an expired inspection sticker in Salina, NY. I just didn't realize it had expired. I got the inspection done and went into the judges office with a copy of the inspection paperwork and paperwork they mailed me. The people in the office were surprisingly helpful, they said even though I didn't have the inspection at the time of the ticket I should plead not guilty. So I did, and several weeks later I got a clearance letter from them. I didn't have to go to court or pay any fines.

The woman who helped me said I didn't even need to have come in the office, they can handle it by phone and email or fax.

If your ticket has a number to call it might be worth it to give them a call and find out the best way to get the information to them before the court date.
posted by Melsky at 8:24 AM on April 22, 2016

Thanks, all. I inquired with the NY DMV and they sent me the section of "Vehicle and Traffic Law" that applies:

Vehicle and Traffic
§ 302. Powers and duties of the commissioner. (a) It shall be the duty of the commissioner to administer the provisions of this article. (b) The commissioner may authorize the acceptance of a certificate of inspection issued in another state having inspection requirements substantially similar to those of this state. He may also extend, on any reasonable ground, the time within which a certificate shall be obtained by the owner of a motor vehicle.

That did the trick in traffic court. I showed it to the officers and they cleared me "in the interest of justice" or something along those lines. I'm going to get a NY inspection anyway (a few months early) just to save myself future hassle.
posted by Kriesa at 1:03 PM on June 1, 2016

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