If It Seems Too Good to Be True, Exercise Caution
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) tweeted on June 24, 2020, that they are allowing people who got a traffic ticket to fight it by providing a statement rather than going to court.
This sounds nice, right?
Wrong. Having your trial without leaving your home may seem like a great idea during these unprecedented times. But, the only good thing about this method is that it limits New Yorkers’ exposure to COVID-19 and intends to keep people safe, both of which have nothing to do with your traffic ticket.
The only way to attempt to avoid being convicted for a NYC traffic ticket is to plead “not guilty” and win at trial. When you plead “not guilty,” you will receive a letter from the NYS DMV with your court date. That letter, as well as the tweet above, states that you do not have to appear in traffic court for your trial. Instead, you can send in your testimony and the Judge will consider your statement along with the police officer's live testimony.
The following describes issues with sending in a Statement in Place of Personal Appearance:
- The Judge will not be able to ask questions to clarify your statement because you aren't present.
- You or your attorney will not be able to cross-examine the police officer who charged you in attempts to make their testimony look invalid and unconvincing.
- It is easier to be convicted if you or your attorney are not present to protect your rights.
To put this information into context, the following describes how to complete a Statement in Place of Personal Appearance:
- Fill out your full name, address, and ticket number.
- If there is more than one ticket, submit a separate Statement in Place of Personal Appearance for each ticket.
- State, in detail, why you believe you are "Not Guilty" of the charge(s).
- Certify your submission is true, fill out your initials, date the form(?), and select "Submit".
Following four simple steps to fight a traffic ticket would be ideal if it didn’t come with the issues described above or impede on your Sixth Amendment rights to cross-examination. Cross-examination allows you to interrogate witnesses, but with the NYS DMV’s method, you lose this right. Having no communication or contact with the officer who ticketed you is a recipe for disaster.
The bottom line is that if you mail in your testimony and lack our legal representation, your chances of winning your case will significantly decrease. Don't let this happen to you!
Allow us to help you fight your traffic ticket the right way. Arrange a free consultation with us online or by calling (212) 235-1525!