Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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What happens after you receive a traffic ticket in New York?

A driver can receive traffic tickets for a variety of reasons in New York, from parking citations to driving while intoxicated. Certainly speeding tickets have garnered a lot of attention in the past several months with the implementation of slow zones and other efforts to crack down on drivers who exceed the stated speed limits. Traffic violations are generally categorized in one of three ways—criminal, parking and non-criminal.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles website outlines the three options that a driver has in response to a non-criminal or non-parking violation such as a speeding ticket.  The first option is to plead guilty to the offense and pay the required fine in the stated time, generally within 15 days. The second option is to request a postponement of the hearing. This can be done as long as the request is made 10 days before the originally scheduled hearing date.

The other option that a driver has is to fight a traffic ticket. These cases will be brought before a DMV appointed Administrative Law Judge that ultimately has the ability to make not guilty or guilty determinations. In the latter, the judge can set fines and even issue license suspensions or license revocations. Similarly, the judge can suspend or revoke vehicle registrations.

A driver that fails to respond in any fashion to traffic tickets on time will be automatically found guilty. This is called a default conviction and results in the automatic suspension of a license. Anyone found driving with a suspended license will be cited for a felony offense face a far more serious consequences that many of the original violations would have posed.  This information is not to be taken as legal advice, but merely a general understanding of traffic tickets.

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