The New York Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) hears cases concerning non-criminal traffic violations that occurred in the five boroughs of New York City. If you received a citation in one of these areas, you could plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, you must schedule a hearing with the local TVB office where the alleged offense happened. At the hearing, you and the officer who issued the ticket present your cases before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ decides whether you are guilty or innocent.
If your alleged traffic violation did not occur in NYC or was a criminal offense, your case will be handled by a local criminal or traffic court with jurisdiction over the matter. The process for seeking a resolution is similar to the TVB process with a couple of exceptions.
What Is the New York Traffic Violations Bureau?
The NY TVB handles non-criminal moving violations that occurred in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island. The TVB has eight locations serving the different boroughs of NYC.
Having separate bureaus dedicated to hearing only non-criminal traffic violations frees up resources for local courts, allowing them to focus on criminal matters.
What Happens When the TVB Has Jurisdiction Over a Case?
For the most part, if your traffic ticket case will be heard by a TVB office, the process you go through will be similar to that of a local court. However, some slight differences exist.
With a TVB case, you have the option to plead guilty or not guilty to your ticket. You can enter your plea over the phone, online, or by mail. As with a case in a local court, if you plead guilty, you will be convicted of the offense and subject to fines and points on your driving record.
If you plead not guilty, you must schedule a hearing with a local TVB office. Failing to appear for the hearing can result in a default conviction, driver’s license suspension, and additional fines.
At the hearing, you can testify and present witnesses and evidence to support your arguments. The officer who issued the citation can also testify. They must explain why they ticketed you and how your actions demonstrate a violation of every element of the alleged offense.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) will listen to both your and the officer’s sides and ask clarifying questions. If they are convinced by clear and convincing evidence that you committed the alleged offense, you will be convicted of the crime. The ALJ will order you to pay a fine and may take action against your driver’s license. Additionally, a record of your conviction will be sent to the DMV, where points may be assessed to your driving record.
As with a judgment made in a criminal court, if you do not agree with the ALJ’s finding, you can appeal the decision.
What Happens If the TVB Does Not Have Jurisdiction Over a Case?
The TVB will not have jurisdiction over a traffic case if the offense occurred outside the five boroughs or was a criminal matter, such as driving while intoxicated, driving while license suspended or revoked, or reckless driving.
You can plead guilty or not guilty to the alleged violation. Your plea can be mailed to the court clerk or traffic court, or you can appear in person on the date listed on your citation. Again, a guilty plea is a conviction and triggers the imposition of penalties by the judge.
The criminal or traffic court process differs from that of the TVB when you plead not guilty. If your case is handled in a local criminal or traffic court, you can meet with the prosecutor to attempt to negotiate a plea bargain. A plea bargain could result in a reduction of the charge or sentence. TVB cases do not allow for a plea deal with the prosecutor – the ALJ will decide guilt or innocence for the alleged offense.
If your case cannot be resolved through a plea bargain, it will be set for trial. At trial, a judge or jury will hear the facts from both sides and render a verdict.
Retain an Attorney for Your Case
Whether you must go through the TVB or criminal court process to take care of your ticket, you need a lawyer to guide you through it. They know when and how to ask questions of the arresting officer or witnesses, can present your case before a judge, and negotiate with the prosecutor.
At Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C., we have the experience and insight to challenge your traffic ticket. For assistance in New York, please call us at (212) 235-1525 or submit an online contact form today.