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Contesting Traffic Tickets Issued In New York City

Protect Your Rights - Do Not Appear By Affidavit

The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles has begun sending this document to those motorists who are pleading Not Guilty to traffic tickets that were issued to them in New York City.

In my opinion, the purpose of these documents appears to simplify the trial process. The real purpose is to convince motorists not to appear in person or with the assistance of an attorney. If motorists and/or attorneys do not appear, DMV will be able to conduct more hearings in less time. This policy benefits the DMV - not you!!!!

By submitting this form to contest traffic tickets, the motorist is giving up the following fundamental rights:

1. The Right To Counsel

An attorney knows the elements of traffic infractions that the officer must testify to in order to make out a case against you. If you are not represented, you could be convicted improperly.

2. The Right To Cross Examine the police officer

If you are not represented or present in court, the officer who issued the summons will not be questioned on his notes, recollection of the incident, etc.

3. The Judge will not be able to clarify any statements you wrote in the form.

Hence, you will be at a disadvantage, as the Judge has the ability to question the police officer.

4. Your chances to reverse a finding of guilty and/or a suspension of your license on appeal will be significantly reduced.

When the Appeals Board decides your appeal, they only consider the testimony at the hearing. New evidence will not be considered. Hence, the Appeals Board will merely have the police officer's testimony and your written statement to consider.

Bottom Line:

Submitting this form (AA-53.2) is your worst option for contesting a traffic ticket in New York City. If you choose not to retain an attorney, I highly recommend that you go to court to try to protect your rights.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to call us at 212-691-0175.