Depending on your situation, you may be able to have your traffic ticket reduced. A reduction means that you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Although this isn’t a not guilty plea finding, it can have several effects on the penalties and consequences you face. For the most part, seeking a reduction requires negotiating with the prosecutor. However, the process is different in New York City because of how these matters are handled.
Pursuing a reduction or other favorable outcome for a traffic ticket isn’t always easy. It requires understanding the law and legal process, as well as analyzing and presenting evidence. Strong negotiation skills are also necessary, as you must try to convince the prosecutor that your case warrants a dismissal. A lawyer can assist you in working toward an optimal outcome.
What Is a Traffic Ticket Reduction?
Having your traffic ticket reduced means you are being charged with a lesser offense. For instance, suppose an officer cited you for speeding 11 to 30 miles per hour over the posted limit. You can seek to have your ticket reduced to speeding 1 to 10 miles per hour over instead. Or, your ticket can be reduced to a non-speeding charge.
How Can You Get Your Ticket Reduced?
In most New York jurisdictions, to seek to have your traffic ticket reduced, you must negotiate with the prosecutor. The prosecutor is the individual who tries your case in court on behalf of the state. They decide what charges to pursue.
Negotiating with the prosecutor doesn’t mean simply telling them that you believe your ticket should be reduced for whatever reason. For example, merely saying that your 30 mph over speeding ticket should actually be an 11 mph-over ticket because you weren’t going that fast likely won’t convince the prosecutor to agree to a reduction. It could be a starting point, but you need to give the prosecutor more information to consider your stance.
“More information” comes in the form of evidence – tangible objects you can refer to that support your arguments.
Types of evidence you may produce when seeking a reduction include, but are not limited to:
- Substantial factual mistakes on the ticket
- Faulty RADAR device
- Mistakes by the officer
- Surveillance footage
If you got your ticket in New York City, you don’t have the option of negotiating with the prosecutor. The Traffic Violation Bureau (TVB) handles non-criminal traffic violations and has different processes than a court. Your options when contesting a citation with the TVB include pleading guilty by paying the ticket or pleading not guilty by requesting a hearing. At the hearing, you can present evidence to pursue an amendment of your citation or a not guilty verdict.
What Are the Benefits of a Traffic Ticket Reduction?
You potentially avoid or minimize several consequences by pursuing a traffic ticket reduction. First, you may be subject to fewer points on your driving record. In New York, various traffic violations have a certain number of demerit points attached to them. If you accumulate 11 points within 18 months, your driver’s license may be suspended. Having your traffic ticket reduced could prevent you from losing driving privileges.
To illustrate, suppose you have 7 points on your driving record for prior traffic ticket convictions. You are then cited for going 30 mph over the speed limit, which is a 6-point offense. The DMV would suspend your driver’s license if you're convicted of that violation. But if the ticket were reduced to a 1 to 10 mph-over violation, you would accumulate only 3 points and be below the threshold for driver’s license suspension.
Having fewer points added to your record could allow you to avoid New York’s Driver Responsibility assessment fee. The fee is charged when you accumulate 6 or more points in 18 months and continues for three years. The cost is $100 per year, meaning by the time you’re relieved of this sanction, you end up shelling out $300 in addition to the fine for your ticket.
A traffic ticket reduction can also prevent an increase in your insurance premium. Your insurance company might have a policy stating that your rates may go up by a certain percentage if you’re convicted of traffic violations like speeding. If you are cited for one of these offenses but can get it reduced to something the policy does not cover, you might be able to avoid a rate hike.
Consult with an Attorney
Fighting your traffic ticket or even seeking a reduction can be complicated. That is why having a lawyer assist with your case is helpful. They can ensure that you understand your options and build a legal strategy on your behalf.
If you’ve been cited for a traffic violation in New York, please do not hesitate to contact Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C.