If you were issued a traffic violation ticket, you must “answer” it. Answering a ticket means that you either plead guilty or not guilty to the offense. You have a certain amount of time to do either. If you don’t act by the deadline or you miss a hearing after pleading not guilty, you could be subject to a default conviction.
With a default conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) enters a guilty plea on your behalf, meaning you’re convicted of the alleged violation without having had any input in your case. Because of this, the judge will render penalties appropriate for the offense.
A default conviction is not the end of the road, though. You can submit a formal request to reopen the matter and attend a hearing to argue your case. If you’re successful, you could avoid penalties.
How to Resolve a Ticket in NYC
You have two options for resolving a traffic ticket. You can plead guilty to the alleged offense. With this option, you pay the fine online, by mail, or over the phone. Paying the fine is a conviction, which means you may be subject to other sanctions, such as points on your driving record.
Your other option is to plead not guilty to the violation. This method requires that you schedule a hearing with the TVB office. At the hearing, you present your case before a judge who will determine whether you are guilty.
Whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty to a traffic ticket, you only have a certain amount of time to respond. The deadline for filing an answer will be printed on your citation. Failing to enter a plea by this date or to appear for your hearing will result in a default conviction.
What Is a Default Conviction?
A default conviction is a guilty plea entered by a TVB judge on behalf of a defendant who does not answer a traffic ticket. Along with making a default judgment, the judge will also render a fine. The defendant may also be subject to driver’s license suspension and additional fees.
Before the TVB can enter a default conviction in your case, it must send you a notice within 30 days after the deadline for answering your ticket.
Under New York law, the notice must inform you that:
- You were cited for a traffic violation,
- You have not responded to the ticket,
- A judge will enter a guilty plea on your behalf, and
- You have 30 days to enter a plea or make an appearance to avoid a default conviction.
What Are Your Options If Subject to a Default Conviction?
Having a default conviction entered on your behalf is not necessarily the end of your case. You can ask to have the default conviction reopened and request a hearing to have your arguments heard.
To do this, you must submit a formal application to the TVB. Your application must specify the violation you were charged with and why you did not answer your ticket or failed to appear at your scheduled hearing. You can also attach supplemental documents to support your reasons.
It’s important that your application is filled out completely and accurately. Any incorrect or incomplete information can cause your request to be denied. You won’t have another chance to ask for a hearing.
If your request to reopen your default conviction is approved, you will be scheduled for a hearing where you can present your case. The judge will decide whether you are guilty of the original violation. If you’re found not guilty, you may avoid the penalties associated with the offense.
Contact Our Firm Today
At Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C., we help individuals fight their traffic tickets. Backed by extensive experience, we can advise you of your options for resolving your case. We can also build your defense and represent you at hearings.
If you need legal counsel in New York, please call us at (212) 235-1525 or contact us online today.