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Governor's proposal calls for dramatic changes concerning speeding tickets

Every day hundreds of drivers across the state of New York are issued traffic citations for exceeding the speed limit. In the vast majority of cases, the people issued these tickets are not bad drivers, rather they simply had a momentary lapse in judgment or just did not realize how fast they were going.

Fortunately, many drivers in these situations have the option of reaching a plea bargain. This means they may be able to plead guilty to a lesser traffic offense, pay a fine and, avoid both points against their license and, by extension, higher insurance premiums.

This might soon change, however, as Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently released $142.6 billion budget contains a provision that would severely curtail the ability of motorists to plead to lesser traffic violations when issued a speeding ticket.

Specifically, the provision would do the following:

  • Prohibit those who are issued a ticket for exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles-per-hour from pleading guilty to anything below a moving violation
  • Collect an $80 surcharge on all traffic violations that end in plea bargains

"This is all about making our roads safer by creating a deterrent and making it harder to plead down," said an official with the Governor's office.

The Governor's office also indicated that the state of New York forfeits almost $58 million a year in surcharges because of plea bargains, but that the proposal would fill the state coffers with an additional $25 million a year.

Understandably, some groups are opposed to the proposal, saying it is unfair to motorists and will serve to further clog the state's already crowded local courts.

"What this is really about is a tug of war between the state and local governments over surcharges and drivers are paying the price," said John Corlett, legislative chairperson of the New York Chapter of the Automobile Association of America.

Stay tuned for any on this story from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The New York Daily News, "Cuomo wants fewer plea bargains and higher fees for speeding tickets," Glenn Blain, Jan. 24, 2013

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