Suppose an officer issues you a ticket for an alleged non-criminal traffic violation. You see that you have a few different and convenient options to pay it. Although paying the fine is a quick and easy way to take care of the matter, it's not always the way to go. Paying your citation means you're pleading guilty and accepting the conviction's consequences, which can include additional fees and other sanctions.
Before sending your payment for a traffic ticket, consider your options. You can fight the citation and seek to avoid penalties.
Ways to Pay Your Traffic Ticket
Depending on where your traffic ticket was issued, you may be given several ways to satisfy the fine. In many cases, you can pay over the phone, by mail, in person, or online. (Note that these options are available for non-criminal traffic violations. Typically, you must appear in court for criminal matters).
Regardless of the avenue you pursue, paying the citation has the same effect. It is an admission of guilt. A traffic ticket conviction has several consequences.
Beyond the Traffic Ticket Fine
The financial burdens associated with a traffic citation don't end after you pay the fine. The court or DMV may assess other monetary sanctions. For example, you may be ordered to pay a mandatory surcharge. If you have 6 or more points on your driving record in 18 months, you may also be subject to the Driver Responsibility Assessment fee.
A conviction for certain violations can also lead to the DMV assessing points to your driving record. The number of points depends on the offense you have been accused of.
- Going 1 to 10 miles over the speed limit is 3 points
- Using a cell phone while driving is 5 points
- Disobeying a traffic control device is 2 points
Accruing 11 points in 18 months can result in the suspension of your driver's license.
Your insurance carrier may also operate on a point system. The company may increase your premium if you have a certain number of points on your driving record.
Fighting Your Traffic Ticket
You don't have to simply pay your ticket. You can challenge the citation. When you go this route, you are pleading not guilty to the alleged violation. You can seek to avoid the consequences of a conviction.
As with paying the traffic, you can plead not guilty in a few ways: online, by mail, or in person. After your plea is received, you will be scheduled for a hearing. The proceeding allows you to present your case and challenge the allegations against you.
A judge will decide the outcome. If they determine that you are not guilty, your case will end, and you won't be subject to fines, fees, surcharges, or other assessments.
If you don't pay your ticket or attend a hearing, you could face:
- Driver's license suspension,
- Additional fines, and/or
- Default conviction.
To Pay or Not to Pay
In some situations, paying the ticket may be a viable option. However, because doing so leads to a conviction, it may be in your best interests to speak with an attorney before remitting payment. A lawyer can evaluate the circumstances, determine what defenses can be raised, and anticipate possible outcomes.
To learn more about your options for resolving a traffic ticket in New York, please call Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1525 or submit an online contact form today.