Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Understanding New York's Driver Responsibility Assessment

Law enforcement officers in Manhattan, and throughout the state of New York, regularly issue tickets to motorists for violating the state’s traffic laws. According to a New York State Traffic Safety Data report, there were more than three million tickets issued to drivers for vehicle traffic law violations throughout the state in 2013 alone. Often, people who are ticketed are of the belief that receiving a ticket is a minor offense. However, this is not always the case. In addition to fines, possible jail time, driver’s license suspensions and other penalties, some New York drivers may also have to pay the driver responsibility assessment.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the driver responsibility assessment is a type of fee that may be incurred by drivers who are convicted of certain traffic violations. The assessment must be paid to the DMV over a period of three years. With few exceptions, drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing for the purpose of determining blood alcohol content must pay the assessment. It is also typically required for those people who are convicted of drugged or alcohol-impaired driving offenses. Additionally, drivers who receive six points or more on their New York driving record for traffic violation convictions incurred over an 18-month period must generally pay the assessment. 

The amounts that drivers must pay for driver responsibility assessments vary. In general, according to the DMV, assessment fees are dependent on the total number of points a driver has on their driving record, or on the type of violation for which they are required to pay. Drivers convicted of alcohol or drug-related driving offenses must typically pay $250 per year for three years. For motorists who incur six points on their driver’s license within 18 months, the annual assessment is generally $100, for a total of $300. Drivers who receive over six points on their records within 18 months must pay an additional $25 for every point over the original six. Failing to pay the minimum assessment can result in a driver’s license suspension.

Many people in New York, and elsewhere, choose to pay traffic tickets instead of fighting them. Paying a ticket, however, is an admission of guilt and could result in other issues down the road. Working with an attorney may help New York motorists to understand their rights and options.

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