NYC Unposted Speed Limit Lowered from 30 to 25 mph.

October 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

The NYC City Council approved a bill on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, that will reduce the maximum speed on most NYC streets to 25 mph from the current 30 mph. The new limit is set to go into effect on November 7. The new speed limit applies to all streets where a maximum speed is not otherwise posted. These are referred to as “unposted” zones. While not every driver may have known, the law to date in NYC was “speed limit 30 unless otherwise posted”. As of November 7, it’s 25 mph. There are some people who argue that the lower speed limit could significantly cut traffic fatalities. It’s hard to argue against the basic premise that slower driving leads to fewer and less severe accidents. The question is whether people will actually alter their driving speeds. Was anyone really driving 30 mph in the first place? Did drivers even know this was the default, unposted speed limit? Is it...Read More >

Traffic Violation Enforcement: Further Evidence It’s More About Money

November 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

The newly opened Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau (SCTPVA) currently charges an administrative fee on all tickets. While this isn’t necessarily unusual for a court, the SCTPVA is charging a fee even if a motorist is found “not guilty” of a charge and the traffic ticket case is dismissed. As one motorist whose ticket was dismissed asked, “Why do I have to pay anything? Why do I have to pay their court costs? Why do I have to pay any of that?” Drivers have voiced complaints about this policy to some local elected officials and some agree that this policy is a problem. “Traffic violations should be about safety, not about revenue generation,” said Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport.) The county will claim that this is compensation necessary for the time and expense of prosecuting traffic violation charges. However, when you consider that just a few months ago Suffolk County opened this new SCTPVA to keep local...Read More >

Manhattan South TVB Address Change (as of Nov. 12, 2013)

October 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm

The Manhattan South TVB will move to a new office as of Nov. 12, 2013. Currently at 19 Rector Street, the TVB office will move to a new location in the same neighborhood.  The last day at the old address of 19 Rector St will be on Friday, Nov. 8th. The new court address: 2 Washington Street New York, NY 10004. View Larger Map The Manhattan South TVB office (as well as the Manhattan North office) handles traffic tickets (moving violations) issued within Manhattan. The TVB is famous (infamous??) for the lack of plea bargaining or negotiation on simple traffic tickets. Every case at the TVB either is guilty as charged or dismissed in it’s entirety after a hearing. Scott Feifer

Liability For Texting While Driving Even If Not Driving

August 29, 2013 at 8:47 pm

The battle to educate people on the dangers of distracted driving and the steadily increasing penalties for those convicted of texting while driving have been well documented. Not quite as well documented is the potential liability of the “remote” individual on the other end of the text. On Tuesday, the NJ Appeals Court ruled that “a remote texter can be held liable to third parties for injuries caused when the distracted driver has an accident.” In other words, if you’re texting with a person while they are driving, and that person injures another or damages property, you could be help responsible for those injuries and damages. The particular case in question involved a 2009 accident where teenager Kyle Best drove his car into a motorcycle and injuring the man and woman rider to the extent that both lost a leg. Mr. Best was found to be texting at the time of the accident. At the time of the accident, Mr....Read More >

NY Cell Phone Law 5 points As Of June 2013

July 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

New NY cell phone law now adds 5 points to your NY license as of June 2013.  New York simply does not want drivers distracted by the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices while driving and the penalties if convicted of this offense keep getting more severe. Summary of the law on texting, portable electronic devices and cell phone usewhile driving in NYS – VTL Sec. 1225-c and 1225-d. Drivers are not permitted to use portable, hand-help mobile cell phones while operating a vehicle.  This is a New York State law and applies to using a cell phone while driving in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County and everywhere else in the state.  If an officer observes you using a cell phone while operating a vehicle,  you run a serious risk of getting issued a cell phone ticket.  Same for texting and portable electronic devices in general.  Distracted driving is a big issue and officers are actively looking for...Read More >

Memorial Day. Drive Safe.

May 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

Hello summer.  Memorial Day is here. With the Memorial Day holiday, as we see on many holidays, people will travel.  Whether it’s vacation or quick visits to friends and family, major holidays like this one are when the greatest number of people travel from here to there. The number of travelers choosing to drive may be particularly high this Memorial Day when compared to past Memorial Day holidays.  Lower gas prices combined with a general “fatigue” for flying from higher fares, new baggage fees, long security lines and increased flight delays have the AAA predicting that 89% of all travelers (31.2 million overall) will choose the automobile as their primary mode of travel this Memorial Day. This is up slightly from prior years. When I was 16 and first started driving, I remember my parents always saying “drive safe”.  People say it to each other all the time prior to getting into a car.  It always struck me as a...Read More >

NY Passing A Stopped School Bus Law Sec. 1174(a)

May 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

NYS VTL Section 1174(a) reads as follows: § 1174. Overtaking and passing school bus. (a) The driver of a vehicle upon a public highway, street or private road upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus marked and equipped as provided in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter which has stopped on the public highway, street or private road for the purpose of receiving or discharging any passengers, or which has stopped because a school bus in front of it has stopped to receive or discharge any passengers, shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a red visual signal as specified in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by the driver or a police officer to proceed. For the purposes of this section, and...Read More >

Cell Phone Use And Other Driving Distractions

April 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the task of driving.  Using cell phones and other electronic devices, adjusting various settings for the car or radio or navigation system, eating, drinking, shaving, disciplining your kids in the back…all are examples of common distractions while driving. Distracted driving is a real issue.  Distraction should be considered an “impairment” of one’s ability to drive no less dangerous than the conventional drug and alcohol impairment. Some distracted driving statistics to consider: In 2011, more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in crashes attributed to distracted driving (AAA). 72% of AAA members support a ban on the use of all cell phones (hand-held and hands-free) while driving except for emergency situations. 11 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reportedly distracted when the accident occurred. (Pew research) 40 percent of all American teens say they...Read More >

Suffolk County SCTPVA New Traffic Court Set To Open April 1, 2013

March 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

The new Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violation Agency (SCTPVA) is set to open on April 1, 2013. Currently, moving violation traffic tickets which will be handled by this court are handled by the Suffolk County TVB. At the TVB, there is no plea bargaining. All challenged tickets proceed to trial where the outcome is either all (win, case dismissed) or nothing (guilty as charged). We’re expecting the new court to allow plea bargaining and negotiation similar to all the other village, town, city and county courts throughout NY. Cases which are still open and were originally answerable to the Suffolk TVB will be transferred to the new SCTPVA. Everyone at this point is saying the right things about the new court. It is designed to open fully staffed, operate efficiently and help motorists avoid long lines and waits that motorists expect at state agencies like the DMV. Ultimately, there are plans to give motorists access to their case information...Read More >

Motorists Bear the Brunt of Ticket Fixing Scandals

February 5, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Last week nine judges were indicted for ticket fixing in Philadelphia’s traffic court. The indictment charges that the judges improperly “fixed” tickets for various friends and relatives of the judges.  The indictment also alleges that the judges made tickets disappear for the politically connected as well as business associates of the judges. New York City endured a different type of scandal in its traffic courts last year.  In New York City all types of traffic tickets including speeding tickets and red light tickets are fought in the Traffic Violation Bureau or TVB.  The TVB is the arm of the Department of Motor Vehicles responsible for adjudicating these matters.  The scandal involved NYPD police officers making tickets disappear for friends, family, business associates and the politically connected.  This is essentially the other side of coin from what is happening now in Philadelphia, with the officers engaging in these behaviors instead of the judges. The upshot of these scandals, at least in...Read More >

More On Cuomo’s Proposed Restrictions On Speeding Ticket Plea Bargains

January 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Governor Cuomo has included in his 2013-2013 budget a proposal to add additional fees to certain traffic tickets and restrict certain types of speeding tickets on plea bargains. Typically, the “target” plea bargain is a reduction to a parking violation or other local ordinance.  The “win-win” here is that the local court collects their fine money and the motorist walks away with nothing reported to the DMV (no points, conviction or insurance ramifications at all). Cuomo’s proposal seeks to end this type of deal on speeding tickets issued for driving 21+ mph over the speed limit.  Moreover, he looks to add an additional $80 fee when such a plea bargain is negotiated to compensate for the state surcharge that would have been paid had the case ended with a conviction for a traditional moving violations. The $80 additional surcharge is what it is.  DMV has come up with new surcharges and increased existing charges consistently over the years.  There’s really...Read More >

Gov. Cuomo 2013-2014 Budget Proposal Targets Speeding Tickets

January 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

A South Dakota legislator recently tried and failed to attach points to speeding tickets in that state. The measure failed when a majority of legislators deemed the bill unnecessary and overly burdensome on local residents. This laissez faire attitude toward punishing drivers charged with a speeding ticket is not shared by our elected officials in Albany. Governor Cuomo, in his recently unveiled budget proposal is asking the legislature to approve new surcharges for those convicted of traffic infractions and is trying to make it harder to fight these infractions in court. The budget, if passed, would mandate new restrictions on plea bargaining, making it harder for New Yorkers to come to an acceptable resolution on their speeding tickets. Aside from presenting an attack from the executive and legislative branches of government on a traditional prerogative of the judicial system (not unlike mandatory sentencing guidelines), the effect of this on New Yorkers will prove truly costly on our already overtaxed population....Read More >

Simple Holiday Driving Tips. Avoid The Following

December 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

I’ve seen all the year end lists this week. Ten ways to avoid weight gain, to avoid stress, for gift giving, gift getting, ten thing you can do to end your year strong and for making 2013 resolutions. Here’s our list…what NOT to do while driving during the holidays. 1. Drink before driving. It’s pretty much at the top of any what NOT to do while driving list. 2. Speed or commit other ordinary traffic violations. Yes this is common sense but it’s here as a reminder that there will be increased enforcement during the holidays. Between looking for drunk drivers and attempting to recoup some of the revenue lost to the hurricane, let’s just say that while the weather outside is frightful, the opportunity for officers to issue a large volume of tickets is delightful. 3. Engage in distracted driving. Calling to wish someone happy holidays, excessively using your GPS to figure out how to get to or from...Read More >

Asking Officers You Know For Traffic Ticket Favors

December 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

At least once a week I’ll hear from a client or prospective client dealing with an open traffic violation that he’s going to reach out through a friend or relative to the police officer who issued him a traffic ticket. Typically, I have no problem with that.  In most case I don’t think it can hurt to ask.  I’m sure officers hear requests like these on a regular basis and have their way of dealing with it. If you are in a similar position and are looking into receiving some assistance or a favor on a traffic ticket, please consider the following first: 1.  Officers “helping” to get rid of traffic tickets has been a notorious news item lately. Just yesterday, two officers in Huntington Beach, California were convicted of conspiring to help a woman get out of a speeding ticket.  The officers were found guilty of misdemeanor conspiracy to obstruct justice.  The whole story revolved around a 32 year...Read More >

Class-Action Suit Attacking NYC Red Light Cameras

December 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Who likes red light cameras? Good news if you don’t.  A class action lawsuit has been filed against NYC and it accuses the city of rigging the timing of the light cycles to encourage more violations and thus more fines. Robert Sinclair, AAA motor club New York spokesperson, says they are in favor of cameras that are in place to monitor and prevent red light violations.  AAA is in favor of the concept but only when it the cameras are “done to certain engineering criteria.” Federal law requires providing drivers with enough time to get through a yellow light — three seconds at the typical 30-mile-per-hour intersection. In October, engineers at AAA New York discovered a problem. At some city intersections with the cameras, the yellow lights were almost a half-second too fast.  Red light camera ticket recipients now are arguing that they may have been set up to violate the red light, expecting a longer yellow only to be...Read More >

Drowsy Driving Traffic Tickets Coming To NY?

December 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

Drowsy Driving.  Lots Of It. The term “drowsy driving” is relatively new to me.  The concept is not. I’ve always known what it was.  Who hasn’t had at least a few instances when they were driving and fighting off falling asleep?  Personally, I open the window and try to find some kind of 80′s music I can easily blast and sing along with.  Sometimes (and I have no idea why) I open the window and scream the Atlanta Braves/Florida State Tomahawk Chop chant (political correctness issues aside) over and over.  The best way to really wake up is that extreme adrenaline jolt you get after you actually do nod off for what is likely a millisecond and then come back to in an absolute panic. The point is I know what it feels like to fight sleeping at the wheel.  And I’m not alone.  In 2010, AAA Foundation researchers reported that 41 percent of drivers admitted to having “fallen asleep...Read More >

New SCPTVA Traffic Court Coming To Suffolk County

November 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

Out with the New York State/DMV Traffic Violations Bureau and in with the Suffolk County Parking and Traffic Violations Agency. If you’re not familiar with traffic tickets in New York and Suffolk in particular, these two agencies probably seem like exactly the same thing with a different name. They’re not. Tickets currently answerable in the local village and town justice courts won’t be affected. Tickets that are currently answerable at the State TVB office (depending on who issues the summons and where it was issued) are the ones which will be handled differently come April 2013. The Suffolk County TVB: This office is currently located at the State Office Building (2nd Fl),  250 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge.  The main thing to note about any TVB office is the lack of negotiation (plea bargain) option.  The TVB is not a true court and in some cases can be more difficult to deal with and navigate than the local courts. The new Suffolk...Read More >

An Officer’s “Roadside Manner” Can Go A Long Way

September 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm

A lesson in avoiding needless conflict “Do good, be good, treat people good.” This is golden rule officer Elton Simmons follows.  It’s the basic tenet behind an impressive run during the past 20 years as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy: -Traffic stops: 25,000+ -Complaints lodged against him:  0 A Captain who recently reviewed his personnel file commented that “Vegas or MIT could not give you the odds of the statistical probability of that.” I’ve personally been pulled over before.  More than once.  And I’ve had different feelings, driven by different circumstances, about the situation each time.   I can only imagine the spread of emotions spilled on the side of the road during car stops.  There’s simply no one universal reaction or feeling people have or walk away with when it’s over. Despite the varied emotions, I would estimate that at least 40% of the people I consult with believe (not always accurate, but they do believe it) that...Read More >

Nassau County Traffic Ticket Slowdown

September 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Nearly 10% of the patrol officers who typically issue summonses in Nassau County have engaged in a yearlong slowdown.  Parking and moving violations were down 20% from 2010 to 2011 and are likely down approximately 28% overall by this year’s end. The decline in summonses is will cost the county approximately $4.1 million in revenue this year that was otherwise expected to be generated. It seems as if the more counties rely on the revenue raised by summonses, the more the officers who write them have recognized that they have a great deal of leverage as they alone control how aggressively they write. In Nassau County, an investigation focused on the 493 officers who wrote at least 50% fewer tickets during the first eight months of 2011 compared with the same 8 months in 2010.  About 160 of them had absolutely no excuse for the decline. Note that the most up to date numbers (mid August to mid September 2012)...Read More >

Apps To Discourage Distracted Driving

September 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

AT&T sponsored a legitimate competition to create an app that helps reduce distracted driving and an 11 year old girl beat a field of professional developers to win the $20,000 prize. The money will go towards further development and marketing of the app. Victoria Walker, a sixth grader, showed a video and a slideshow presentation of her app called “Rode Dog” to a panel of judges. The app enables users to create small social networks (a “pack” of friends and family) who are held accountable to each other. GPS tracks the location of each person in the pack at all times and alerts others whenever someone in the pack is using their phone and driving at the same time. Once alerted, users within the social network can send barking sounds to the offending individuals to remind and encourage them to stop put the phone down while driving. The app generates revenue by enabling users to download sounds of different animals...Read More >

Is “I’m Topless” A Valid Excuse For Speeding?

August 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

I can only imagine how many different stories and excuses officers hear when they pull someone over for speeding. Here’s a new one. A woman from Fort McCoy, Florida told an officer the reason she was speeding and the reason she didn’t stop when the the officer attempted to pull her over was because she was topless. The incident started when a deputy on patrol initiated a car stop after observing what was otherwise a routine situation–a vehicle driving 70 in a 55 zone. The pickup truck, however, ran a stop sign, clipped a tree and turned into a residence, and the deputy lost sight of the vehicle The pickup was ultimately located by a sheriff’s helicopter. The driver explained she couldn’t stop because she was topless and the owner of the vehicle later added that she “did something stupid trying to impress me.” My advice to those wishing to avoid this situation is simple. Wear a shirt while driving...Read More >

Really? A Ticket For This?

August 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

We don’t fight parking tickets, but I thought this was a great example of the lack of common sense and/or desire to do the right thing that we’ll see from a small percentage of the enforcement officers out there in certain situations. There seems to have been some kind of traffic accident in NYC. A parked car was pushed into a crosswalk and onto a curb. Multiple cars were involved. Police arrive on the scene and the video below focuses on one particular action they took–issuing a ticket to the parked car that was pushed into a crosswalk for parking on a crosswalk. From the pictures and video and audio accounts, it seems pretty obvious that there was an accident and that something had happened here. If the ticketing agent or officer was at all concerened with doing the right thing, he or she would not have written the ticket or at least voided it once it was written. I...Read More >

Why All Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Cases Are Not The Same

May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am

I read an article today about a man arrested on drunk driving charges who hasn’t had a valid license since 1979 and who was driving with 23 suspensions on his license when he was stopped on the recent charges. The story was an excellent example of how some situations involving driving while suspended are just more serious and will result in different penalties than others. Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AU0) is a criminal charge of driving while your license is suspended or revoked. The law sets three degrees of severity based on the quantity of suspensions or revocations on your record, the basis of the suspensions or revocations and certain factors that may have been in play such as driving under the influence or operating certain commercial vehicles. The third degree is the least severe, punishable with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. The second degree is next, punishable with a fine of up...Read More >

Physicist Beats Traffic Ticket, Gives False Hope To Amateur Scientists Everywhere.

April 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

Dmitri Krioukov is a physicist at the University of California in San Diego and he got a ticket for failing to stop at a stop sign. He decided to challenge the ticket because he didn’t think he did anything wrong. Nothing unusual about that. Where the story differs from the typical traffic ticket defense case is his use of a very technical paper entitled “The Proof of Innocence” to allegedly “prove” that he was not guilty and did come to a complete stop. The media has been reporting the story and setting forth that this man’s ticket was dismissed because he was able to conclusively show that he did indeed stop at the sign. Personally, I don’t understand a bit of the science involved. Won’t even try. You can read the whole paper and I can tell you I was lost from the start.  The paper opens with “It is widely known that an observer measuring the speed of an...Read More >

Three Speeding Tickets In One Hour. Was Arrest Warranted?

March 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

A story has been in the news the last few days about a California woman who was pulled over three times in one hour on the same California roadway. She was pulled over at 8:10 p.m. for driving her Hyundai SUV 103 miles per hour and then a second time by 8:30 p.m. for driving 105 miles per hour. Forty minutes later she was pulled over for going 76 miles per hour. On the third stop, she was arrested and charged with Reckless Driving. She told officers she was in a hurry because she was on her way to care for a sick relative. My take on the story isn’t so much about what the penalty should be or how many times someone can/should be stopped on the same roadway in the same county for the same offense. What stood out to me is the fact that too many people think they are justified for speeding and that their actions...Read More >

What Happens To My Car Insurance If I Get A Traffic Ticket?

February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

One of the reasons to fight a traffic ticket is the potential for increased insurance rates in the event of a conviction.  While many clients want to know what they can expect to happen to their insurance if they are convicted, unfortunately we can never predict or speak in terms of an exact number.  There really are too many factors at play, including the particular insurance company, your age, driving history, sex, type of car driven, where you park your car, etc.  Thus, the best I am usually willing to offer is a vague but accurate statement–convictions for moving violations simply aren’t good for insurance. I recently came across a study completed last year.  While there still is no way to predict exactly what will happen to insurance after a conviction for a moving violation, the study at least give some people an idea about the potential increases. surveyed more than 32,000 auto insurance policies sold through their...Read More >

New NY Move Over Law Into Effect On January 1 2012

January 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Last year, NY introduced it’s “move over” law to protect police officers and other emergency workers from the dangers of passing vehicles while working roadside (move over law NY).  Now New York’s “move over law” is being expanded as of New Year’s Day to include tow trucks, other emergency vehicles and highway crews. The law requiring drivers to shift lanes when approaching flashing police lights will now include flashing amber lights as well. Drivers must slow down when and where it isn’t safe for them to actually change lanes and move over. Just last month, Kevin Woloszyn was driving in Cattaraugus County on Interstate 90 when his truck broke down. The tow truck driver who responded was killed when a tractor trailer hit him.  It’s a said reminder of the dangers of working roadside and stories like these are the inspiration for the original (and now the expanded) version of the law. It’s pretty simple from a driver’s perspective.  If you...Read More >

False Accusations After Speeding Ticket Result In Discipline For NY Lawyer

December 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

A New York lawyer will face six months of suspension for lying to get out of a speeding ticket and falsely claiming that the state trooper made anti-Semitic comments. NY attorney Eliott Dear was pulled over in July 2007 by a New Jersey state trooper.  He was issued a speeding ticket for driving 84 mph in a 55 mph zone. A few days after the issuance of the summons, Dear wrote a letter to the traffic court on his law firm’s letterhead.  He accused the officer of calling him a “Jew Kike.” When an Internal Affairs officer interviewed Dear by telephone he repeated his claims of anti-Semitic behavior.  Dear also cited the officer’s failure to acknowledge his explanation for speeding: that his pregnant wife needed a bathroom. Fortunately for the officer, his car and uniform were rigged to video and audio recording devices throughout the car stop.  Neither recording supported Dear’s version of the incident. Internal Affairs cleared the trooper...Read More >

MADD Rates Each State On Efforts To Prevent And Punish Drunk Driving

November 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

In November 2006, MADD launched their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.  For the fifth anniversary of the Campaign, they have released a national report which rates each state on its progress toward eliminating drunk driving. On average, the nation received three stars (out of 5).  New York is a four star state. Stars are awarded as follows: Requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers Conducting sobriety checkpoints Creating enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the vehicle Participating in “no-refusal” activities for those suspected of drunk driving Utilizing Administrative License Revocation for drunk driving offenders New York did not receive a fifth star in relation to the “no-refusal” point.  I imagine just about every state has some law or method to address those who refuse to immediately submit to a BAC test because it’s necessary to prevent people from getting away with DWI just by saying no to a field test.  In New York Section 1194 of the...Read More >

Westchester High School Students Attempt Simulated Distracted Driving

November 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

A texting-while-driving simulator similar to an old-fashioned video game is being demonstrated at nine Westchester County high schools this week. The simulator aims to replicate some real world distractions.  These distractions come via the voice of an annoying passenger who fails to wear her own seat belt, asks the driver to drive faster and then requests that the driver calls and texts her brother. Through the distractions the driver must maneuver local streets and then highways while using either a real cellphone or the one integrated with the video simulation. During a demonstration yesterday, test subjects routinely got into fake accidents while trying to multitask.  Scarsdale police Chief John Brogan quickly got into an “accident” while trying the simulator himself. Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said the demonstration should make it very clear that “even one second of distraction can lead to a lifetime of regret” and that distracted driving poses dangers “not only to the driver and the...Read More >

Putting Traffic Ticket Fixing And Other Recent NYPD Issues In Perspective

November 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

The NYPD traffic ticket fixing scandal continues as 16 officers were arraigned on criminal charges last month in the Bronx. An officer convicted just a few days ago of planting crack on innocent people in Brooklyn. Five Staten Island officers were arrested last month in a federal gun-running sting. There’s a lot of bad news recently surrounding the NYPD and I’ve had a few clients ask me about it.  I get mostly either a question about specific Bronx traffic tickets or just general commentary and grumbling about bad officers issuing bad tickets that may or may not have been justified. 1.  Will the Bronx TVB ticket fixing scandal affect my already closed or still open traffic violation matter in the Bronx?  Start with the premise that only tickets issued by the officers who have been either criminally or administratively involved in the scandal are in play.  Just because your ticket was issued in the same borough does not automatically raise...Read More >

Officers Arraigned In Conjunction With NYPD Traffic Ticket Fixing Scandal

October 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm

The NYPD traffic ticket fixing scandal that’s been in the news most of this year took another step forward Friday as 16 officers were arraigned on criminal charges in the Bronx in conjunction with the scandal.   Hundreds of officers have found themselves involved in the scandal to some extent.  While the vast majority of officers will be dealt with administratively by the NYPD, the 16 arraigned Friday are charged with activity that rose to the criminal level. Eleven of the 16 were charged with fixing tickets.  All 16 were charged with a official misconduct charges ranging from destroying summonses to accepting gifts or forcing other officers to perjure themselves in court. Many officers not directly involved with the scandal were at the scene to protest the entire investigation.  The crowd of officers backed their colleagues while voicing their displeasure with NYPD officials who pushed ahead with this investigation in the first place.   Officers referred to the investigation as a...Read More >

Traffic Ticket Information And News From Around The Country 2011

October 15, 2011 at 7:43 am

Here are some stories of interest pertaining to traffic tickets and driving related issues outside of NY. October 15, 2011 In 2003, 3,815 aggressive driving violations. In 2010, 23,180. Aggressive Driving On the Rise In Florida September 18, 2011: Missouri Child Passenger Safety Week. Aggressive Enforcement Of Child Safety Restraint Violations August 25, 2011: Houston follows Los Angeles and ends red light camera program.  Putting An End To Red Light Camera Enforcement July 19,2011: Carmageddon in California wasn’t as bad as expected. Nicely Done, California Drivers July 15, 2011: New Illinois law makes it the 15th State to require every person in car to wear a seatbelt.  Illinois Seat Belt Law July 5, 2011: South Carolina forms Commission to examine automated camera traffic tickets. South Carolina Camera Tickets July 1, 2011: California changes law with respect to driving school and ticket dismissal. New California Driving School Law Closes Loopholes. June 28, 2011: Nevada ahead of the game in preparing for...Read More >

Texting While Driving Tickets Have Risen Significantly Since New Law Passed

September 22, 2011 at 11:55 am

Governor Cuomo signed a new law over the summer to crack down on texting while driving. In August, the first full month after the new law took effect, Police issued 1,082 tickets.  According to NY State records, this is up from an average of 427 per month from January through June. Cuomo commented that “We were serious when this law passed. Texting while driving is illegal and the law is being enforced, so don’t do it,” Whether it was a coincidence or he knew it was a Doors (Roadhouse Blues) song lyric, he added “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands (up)on the wheel.” This summer’s new law changed what was a “secondary” offense  (could only be issued after observing another traffic violation) to a “primary” offense .  Now, officers could stop motorists and issue a summons if texting was the only violation observed. In NYC, records show 438 tickets issued in August, up from an average of...Read More >

2011 NYC Traffic Tickets Statistics And Analysis

August 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

According to the NY Post, an analysis of traffic tickets issued in 2011 by the NYPD has revealed the following: • Elmhurst has the highest number of speeding tickets issued (2,094) • Flushing has the highest number of cellphone charges (2,589) • The East 60s in Manhattan see the largest number of red light tickets (1,480) and driving the wrong way down a one way street violations (359). • The West 30s in Manhattan are home to the most failure to yield to a pedestrian tickets in NYC (no specific number cited). • Cellphone violations are the most commonly cited in NYC (95,426). This is especially noteworthy considering these violations have gone from 0 to 2 to 3 points this year alone.  NY Cell Phone Violations Now Three Points • Seatbelt violations were the second most commonly cited in NYC (90,062) • As for individual Boroughs, Brooklyn saw the most traffic tickets issued (141,971), followed by Queens (128,098), Manhattan (115,428),...Read More >

TVB Traffic Ticket Hearings And The NYPD Ticket Fixing Scandal

July 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

As many know, there is an ongoing “ticket fixing” scandal within the NYPD (NYC Ticket Fixing Scandal).  Unfortunately, a number of motorists and officers who had nothing to do with it are getting caught up in the aftermath of the scandal. Officers at the Traffic Violations Bureau are now routinely watched by superiors and the Internal Affairs Bureau as they testify.  They are there to make sure that each and every officer follows through on the tickets they’ve written and doesn’t try to “fix” anything in any blatant or even subtle manner. We don’t have a problem with an anti-fixing policy.   No one can complain about a system which is merely trying to elicit full and complete and honest and fair and true testimony offered by an officer who issued a summons. But what happens when that honest and true testimony leads to a finding of not guilty?  Take for example an officer who issued a ticket to a...Read More >

Cell Phone Tickets Now Three Points In NY; All Distracted Driving Offenses Now Primary Offenses

July 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

New York State’s message with respect to distracted driving (texting, navigating your Ipod, talking on the phone, etc) is clear–don’t do it. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago (More Points For Cell Phone Tickets In NY) , Governor Cuomo had set his sights on toughening existing distracted driving laws. Tuesday, it became official. The Governor signed a new law that strengthens the enforcement against the use of handheld electronic by a driver while a vehicle is in motion. The legislation makes this action a primary traffic offense, giving law enforcement the power to stop drivers solely for engaging in this activity. Until now, it had been a secondary offense and a traffic ticket for using a handheld electronic device could only be issued if the car was stopped for a primary offense such as speeding or red light or most other traffic violations. The Governor also announced that the penalty for using a cellular phone without a hands-free device...Read More >

“Jackass” Co-Star Ryan Dunn Had Many Speeding Tickets, Poor Driving Record

June 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

Ryan Dunn died in a fiery crash this week. He was undeterred by the many speeding tickets he was issued over the years and the numerous driving related legal matters he dealt with.  He continued to drive the way he liked to drive and ultimately this cost him his life. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, over the past 13 years Dunn’s driving record shows over 20 incidents, including 10 speeding and careless driving stops, three times driving with a suspended license and a drunken driving arrest from 2005. Dunn’s Porsche literally disintegrated on impact early Monday morning after it flew over a guardrail, tore through trees and erupted in flames. Police accident reconstruction shows the car was going at least 130 mph. While toxicology reports will take four to six weeks, there is a chance alcohol played a role here as well.  Despite a local bar manager’s statement that he saw Dunn leave and did not believe him to be drunk, Dunn...Read More >

NY May Crack Down Further On Texting While Driving

June 12, 2011 at 11:24 am

Governor Cuomo plans to introduce a bill to toughen existing laws prohibiting drivers from texting or use of portable electronic devices while driving. The bill closes loopholes and adds stricter penalties for distracted driving, which contributes to more than 10,000 crashes per year in New York state. Cuomo issued a statement on the bill:  “Every day, countless drivers, particularly teenagers and young adults, drive with their eyes on a screen rather than the road,” said Cuomo. “Current warnings, educational programs, and driving laws aren’t working. We need to impose a true deterrent to stop people from driving while using an electronic device and to keep our roads and citizens safe.” New York’s existing law on texting while driving passed in 2009.   The biggest perceived weakness in the existing law is a provision that makes distracted driving a “secondary offense,” meaning a traffic ticket for texting while driving will not be issued unless the driver had been pulled over for another...Read More >

Old NY Traffic Tickets Found in Greenburgh Town Court

May 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

An unbelievable 100,000 unresolved traffic tickets have been found crammed into cabinets at the Greenburgh (Westchester) Town Court. The moving violations go back as far as 1993. In some cases, the town failed to take certain actions like suspending a driver license, scheduling a trial or sending out fine notices. I don’t want to get on the Greenburgh Town Court in particular.  It happens to be one of the more reasonable courts we deal with and best I can recall we haven’t had any particularly bad administrative issues with any of our cases. However, we do have clients who sometimes question why a case is taking so long or why their case in one court is not proceeding just like their previous case in a different court or why a notice was sent from a court that shouldn’t have been sent or how we reported one thing to our client but the court or DMV is claiming something altogether different,...Read More >

Move Over Law In NY. Have You Been Issued A Ticket?

April 28, 2011 at 7:09 am

The NY Move Over Law is more than just a symbolic violation to honor Officers Ambrose and Searles for whom the law is named. It’s a new law that went into effect on Jan 1, 2011 and we are starting to see officers out there for crackdowns specifically on motorists who fail to “move over” and switch lanes while approaching an emergency vehicle engaged on the side of the road. A recent week long enforcement blitz in Poughkeepsie resulted in the issuance of 865 tickets.  A similar two day blitz in the Buffalo area resulted in 43 move over traffic tickets issued. You can read more about the Ambrose-Searles NY Move Over Law or just keep in mind these two points: On all roadways, you must reduce your speed when approaching an emergency vehicle. On larger roadways (Parkways, Controlled Access Highways, roadways with multiple lanes) you must reduce your speed and move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency...Read More >

NYC Traffic Ticket Fixing Scandal May Get Worse

April 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Murray Weiss of, who seems to be out in front of the news on this ticket fixing scandal, has reported that the whole mess may be getting worse. The probe all started with recorded conversations and what was heard on thousands of hours of tape goes far beyond just fixing traffic violations for friends and family. Alleged misconduct includes officers trying to quiet domestic violence and drunk-driving incidents involving off-duty police and officers making arrangements involving prostitutes. Nothing to do with traffic tickets but the alleged misconduct will be tied with the traffic ticket scandal nonetheless. Evidence is currently being presented to a Bronx grand jury that’s weighing criminal charges. Prosecutors are setting threshold levels to determine which cases will rise to the criminal level and which will remain internal police administrative disciplinary issues. Weiss points out that right now the number of criminal cases may be near 40 while the number of administrative cases as high as 500....Read More >

People Do Hate Paying Traffic Tickets But…

April 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

Jim Dwyer of the New York Times wrote an interesting piece in light of the current NYPD traffic ticket fixing scandal on the lengths people go to avoid paying traffic ticket fines. In his words, “of the many fevers that can grip the human animal, the desire to fix parking and traffic tickets has few equals for absurdity”. I don’t think that the actual “desire to fix” is itself absurd.  When someone is pulled over for something they didn’t do or something everyone else on the road was doing or is given multiple tickets for the same offense or is treated rudely by an officer or is endanger of losing their license or their job or is facing thousands of dollars a year in additional auto insurance or very high fines and assessments or reads stories about how the DMV has raised fines and surcharges or about how officers are issuing more tickets to compensate for a poor economy or...Read More >

Fixing Traffic Tickets in NYC

April 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Over the last few days there have been multiple news reports about a traffic ticket fixing scandal in NYC. We’ll be following and commenting on this story as it develops. Here is what we know thus far: Two dozen or so Bronx NYPD officers may face criminal charges after a lengthy inquiry into the practice of traffic ticket fixing. The tickets in question are almost all moving violations.  The investigation focuses mostly on the time before a system was put in place which made it harder for an officer to simply “lose” a ticket. Wiretaps were used in the investigation and the transcripts show how common traffic ticket fixing is and how open officers often were discussing it with each other. The investigation started when wiretaps in place for an unrelated matter turned up a conversation about helping fix a ticket. It’s not clear when the grand jury investigation being conducted by the Bronx DA’s Office and/or the administrative investigation...Read More >

Traffic Ticket Quotas? Alive And Well In Los Angeles.

April 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

Traffic ticket quotas usually cost the ordinary driver more money. In a twist on that usual theme, theses quotas just cost the city of Los Angeles $4 million dollars. Two LAPD officers, who set forth that their reputation was affected and their career damaged by refusing to meet certain traffic ticket quotas, were awarded the damages as compensation. The quota system in question was put in place by their captain at the LAPD’s West Traffic Division. The system called for issuance of at least 18 tickets per day, including a certain number of “big mover” traffic violations like speeding or red light. “Big mover” referred to the particularly high fines associated with certain violation. The city argued that productive traffic ticket writing was simply about trying to make roads safer, not specific quotas. My take on the quota issue has always been that of course there are quotas. There are “quotas” in every job to some extent. I expect a...Read More >

Forget Quotas. What About Traffic Ticket Of The Month?

April 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

In Onondaga County, NY 1,280 window tint tickets were issued in March. This is an unusually high number and is a result of a push by the Onondaga County Traffic Safety Advisory Board to focus on specific traffic violations. The Board started with tinted windows in March. One officer explained that excessively tinted windows present officer safety issues and help drivers hide other potential moving violations inside the car such as seat belt and cell phone violations. Now, enforcement will focus on a different violation in April and every month through the end of the year. In order for an effort like this to ever really be effective, all violation issuing agencies would need to be on the same page. Town and village police, sherriff’s deputies and state police have all agreed to focus on the same violation at the same time. Officers have been asked to have a zero-tolerance policy for the particular targeted offense. In my opinion, “targeting”...Read More >

Our Top 10 Driving Related Headlines For April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011 at 7:57 am

Some items of interest you may have missed if you haven’t been following the news closely this week: 1.  New York State lawmakers, noting that “times are tough and it’s just not right to rely on drivers as a source of revenue” unanimously agree to reduce traffic ticket fines and DMV fees and surcharges across the board. 2.  A driver reported a recent incident where he was pulled over in his red lamborghini after getting clocked at 105 in a 35 mph school zone.  The officer exclaimed “Wow, awesome car and awesome driving.  Dodging all those children at that speed isn’t easy.  Just wanted to stop you to say I’m impressed.  Have a good day.” 3.  Traffic ticket lawyer offers free ticket defense to all for the month of April because “it was never about the money…it’s all about helping people.” 4.  After years of motorists trying to avoid driver license points by driving safely and contesting traffic tickets, the...Read More >

Review Of Driver Licenses and Inspection Of Busses In Wake Of Bronx Bus Tragedy

March 18, 2011 at 7:46 am

Efforts have been stepped up to review commercial driver licenses and enforce commercial vehicle violations following the terrible bus crash on I-95 last weekend which resulted in the death of 15 passengers. Sen. Charles Schumer has called for a crackdown on the discount tour bus companies and is asking the NTSB to expand its probe to look into regulations and oversight that is currently in place.   I’d expect a call for a crackdown by local level enforcement as well–vehicle stops for just about any reason followed by thorough investigation of both vehicle and the driver’s license and in many cases the issuance of one or more traffic tickets or other violations. On Thursday, state officials inspected 21 buses at the Monticello bus terminal.  Their inspections resulted in six drivers taken off the road and seven traffic tickets issued for various violations.  Similar scenes around the state are likely to follow.  The State Department of Transportation and NY State Police have...Read More >

Interesting Old Article On The Elks “War Against Ticket-Fixing”

March 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I thought this old article from 1937 was very interesting for two reasons.  First, in contrast to what’s predominant today, we see an organization more concerned with too few tickets written and too many people using whatever means necessary to get out of paying tickets issued to them.  Next, compare the numbers of concern in 1937 (37,900 deaths and 1,300,000 injuries) to today.  In 2009, there were 33,963 deaths and 2,217,000 injuries.  While I don’t have exact statistics going back to 1937, safe to say there are many many more vehicles and licensed drivers on the road today, yet fatal accidents have actually decreased from 1937.  That says a lot about how far the technology of vehicular safety has come. From the Evening Independent, Oct. 25, 1937. Elks To Carry On War Against Ticket-Fixing. Elks Lodges in 1400 American Cities will begin this week a campaign against the “insidious evil” of traffic ticket “fixing,” Major Charles Spencer Hart, grand exalted...Read More >

Are Traffic Tickets Issued For Revenue Generation Or Safety? The Debate Continues

March 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

While we know that traffic enforcement and traffic tickets do partially contribute to safer roadways by serving as a deterrent and by leading to license suspensions for the most persistent violators, we still like to point out examples where there’s evidence that it is all a money grab as much as anything else. In Central New Jersey, suvh evidence has recently been uncovered. In the closing months of 2010, it’s no secret that many municipalities struggled to close budget shortfalls.  Now we are learning that these same municipalities handed out more than 250,000 additional traffic ticerts to the tune of millions of dollars in fines and surcharges collected.  Some of the largest towns in the state doubled or tripled the number of traffic tickets issued.  A cynic might say drivers were simply used as a piggy bank as the year came to a close. Of course, law enforcement officials respond predictably, saying they stepped up patrol to save lives, not...Read More >

Staten Island Police Officers Accused of Writing Bogus Traffic Tickets

February 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Two Staten Island Police Offers have been charged with writing dozens of bogus traffic summonses to justify their overtime hours. At the time an Officer writes a traffic ticket, there are three relevant copies.  One is kept at the Precinct for the police records, one is sent to DMV so they can attach the ticket to the motorist’s license and one is handed right to the motorist so he knows exactly what he’s been charged with. According to the accusations, these officers would fabricate a ticket, submit one copy to the Precinct and then throw away the copies ordinarily intended for the DMV and the motorist.  The Officers in question allegedly have done this approximately 40 times. Others in the Police Department didn’t really have any reason to be suspicious.  Officers were out enforcing traffic and issuing tickets during overtime hours–this is not unusual–and the department was under the impression that the tickets were properly proceeding through the system as...Read More >

NY Cell Phone Tickets Now Result in Two Points on Your License.

February 3, 2011 at 9:05 am

JULY 2011 UPDATE: POINTS INCREASE: CELL PHONE TICKETS NOW 3 POINTS IN NY. We were just informed by a Head Judge at one of the TVB offices that cell phone convictions in NY would carry 2 points starting later this month. First, we wanted to confirm this was accurate and figure out when this all happened and what the rationale was. Unfortunately for motorists, it is true. DMV gave their official notice of the rule change in the New York State Register on Dec. 15, 2010. I say unfortunately because this will mean more licenses get suspended and more points-based Driver Assessment dollars collected than before. However, it will NOT be unfortunate if it somehow encourages a few more drivers to go hands-free. Distracted driving is real and it is bad news. The new rule will apply to summonses issued on or after February 16th 2011. Thank you to NY Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (Assembly District 13) and his Legislative...Read More >

Car explodes, gets parking ticket

January 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

His taxi caught on fire and he ended up with a parking ticket for blocking the road. During the latest big snowstorm last week, the driver was stuck in the snow.  He gave the car some gas, some more gas and some more gas in an effort to free the vehicle. He never got free.  Instead, his car caught fire and then exploded. According to the NY Post, the fire was extinguished by the FDNY at 3:10 a.m. and the ticket issued by 5:20 a.m. when a tow truck didn’t arrive soon enough to move the burned-out vehicle. Didn’t they realize tow trucks may have been tough to come by during the snow?  Couldn’t the NYPD have moved the car? Instead they issue a ticket and clearly taught this cabbie a valuable lesson.  Don’t ever let your car catch on fire and, if you do, please make sure you either own your own tow truck so you can get it...Read More >

New Law: The Ambrose-Searles Move Over (when approaching an emergency vehicle) Act

January 13, 2011 at 8:00 am

Effective Jan 1, 2011, motorists will be required as per NYS VTL 1144a to “move over” or “slow down” when their vehicle is approaching an authorized emergency vehicle when its emergency lights are flashing and the emergency vehicle is parked on a highway or roadway in New York State. This will be a two point violation if a driver in NY is convicted under the new law. The NY State Senate’s justification for the law included the following points: The law is for the protection of emergency personnel from motorists who have crashed their vehicles into police and emergency vehicles that were parked on highways or roadways in the performance of their duties The momentum behind the law can be traced back to a March 11, 2003 New York State Senate investigation prompted by the death of New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose. Ambrose was fatally injured during a routine traffic stop on the New York State Thruway in Yonkers,...Read More >

Good excuses will rarely justify speeding

January 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

A man in New Hampshire was recently rushing to the hospital with his wife who was on the verge of giving birth. When he saw a police car behind him trying to pull him over, he didn’t want to stop. He called 911 to let them know why he was continuing. The officer in pursuit got the call and then pulled in front to give a police escort to the hospital. Everyone got to the hospital in time. Man and wife had a baby and the officer congratulated him. Then, the officer gave him a speeding ticket for driving 102 mph in a 55 mph zone. Why? This man is not trained to drive at that speed. While he was rushing to help two people in distress, he put everyone else on the road in danger by driving an unmarked vehicle, without lights or sirens, at 102 mph. The man’s actions were completely understandable under the circumstances. If the prosecutor...Read More >

Keep all your traffic ticket related paperwork even after the matter is closed

January 3, 2011 at 8:27 am

Please–If you pay a traffic ticket or beat a traffic ticket or otherwise close out a matter in the TVB or other NY traffic court, hold on to any and all related paperwork. You should never need it again but it’s worth keeping just in case. Dekalb County, Georgia currently has a little bit of a mess on their hands. People that paid traffic tickets years ago are receiving notification that they owe money and are late on the same ticket they already paid. No one is sure what went wrong or why, but clearly something did. One woman explained about getting arrested during a routine car stop on an unrelated matter when her license showed and old unpaid ticket. Fortunately for her, she had the old paperwork to prove the error. Not everyone will be so fortunate and it will be interesting to see how the county will determine what money is legitimately due on old tickets and what...Read More >

Toys for traffic tickets program discontinued

December 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

A New Haven, Connecticut Superior Court program that allowed people to get out of minor traffic tickets by donating a toy to charity won’t be continued next year. The program was reviewed and the decision to end it made after one resident questioned whether the program was unfairly coercing ticket recipients to make a donation instead of fight, whether some offenders who did donate were getting off too easy and whether the state was losing too much money for every toy that was donated in lieu of paying a fine. A spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch deemed the program “well-intentioned” but not appropriate considering the concerns that were voiced. Ultimately, it was “justice bought and sold” which means that, despite the low level nature of the infractions, the program must end. Interesting program, but the decision to end it was probably the right call.

Pay people to NOT speed?

December 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

In January, a man named Kevin Richardson won Volkswagen’s The Fun Theory, a contest for ideas to make obeying speed-limits fun. Now, less than a year later, his entry is in use in Stockholm, Sweden. Kevin’s idea is very simple.  Record vehicles that enter enforcement zones at or under the speed limit and automatically enter the vehicle in a lottery.  Prizes?  These come from the fines paid by speeders. If speed enforcement were truly about safety and not revenue collection, this would have potential.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely an idea like this would gain traction in the US because of the potential lost revenue. As for safety, in Sweden thus far the average speed of cars measured by the program dropped from 32 km/h prior to the program to 25 km/h after. Watch the video for more info on this interesting contest and idea

More red light cameras and higher traffic ticket fees for Nassau County?

December 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

Just a heads up Long Island.. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano was in Albany recently to lobby for financial help for the county. He met with lawmakers twice, as recently as Dec 7, to discuss ways to increase county revenue. Included in that conversation was the possibility of more red light cameras and additional fees on traffic tickets. At least it’s not more “we’re making the roads safer” rhetoric…

A traffic ticket “holiday” in Sacramento

December 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

Dozens of motorists are getting traffic tickets dismissed in the Sacramento, California area just for fighting. There’s a dispute between the District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento, Elk Grove and Folsom police departments over who’s going to pay for the prosecutor’s traffic court services. Officers are just not showing up and motorist are easily beating tickets. We work hard for our clients in NY–we’d welcome a few easy wins like this one day… Read more:

Cell phone tickets and texting while driving

November 3, 2010 at 7:39 am

YET ANOTHER UPDATE:  As of JUNE, 2013 cell phone violation convictions in NY will result in FIVE (5) points on your license. OK.  After the third change in less than three years to the NY cell phone driving laws, we’ve just created a new page of information.  Please go to our newest cell phone ticket page and an updated summary of the law or our main cell phone ticket page for more information. NEWEST UPDATE:  As of 7/12/11, cell phone violation convictions in NY will result in three (3) points on your license and using a portable electronic device is no longer a secondary violation but will be considered a primary violation. UPDATE:  As of 2/16/11, cell phone violation convictions in New York will result in two (2) points on your license.  Read about the rule change here (2 points for NY cell phone tickets) or continue reading about the violation itself below. We get a lot of inquiries about tickets...Read More >

TVB is getting serious with NYC seat belt and cell phone tickets.

July 20, 2010 at 7:30 am

From what we’ve seen lately, it appears that the DMV may be encouraging judges at the TVB to crack down on drivers who continue to ignore seat belt and cell phone laws. Both violations carry no points. In the past, we routinely told potential and existing clients not to bother retaining our firm to fight cell phone or seat belt tickets unless it was a situation where the individual had some serious existing license issues or we had some reason to believe a conviction would affect the driver’s insurance. Recently, we’ve changed our policy based on case results we’ve either been involved with or been informed of after the fact. In multiple cases, we’ve seen judges issue suspensions to drivers convicted of driving while using a cell phone or without a seat belt in NYC where one or more such conviction was already on their driving record. We’ve seen too many examples of this to call it a coincidence and...Read More >

Rockland County speeding tickets on Route 304

May 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

Speeding tickets are up along Route 304 in Clarkstown.  Watch your speed…particularly where the speed limit dips to 35 MPH in the New City – Bardonia area. Why is this noteworthy? One, it’s a good example of how the speed limit can vary on a single roadway.  Sections of Route 304 are 55 mph limit.  It’s easy to forget to slow down when the speed limit changes and officers are most likely to enforce near the area where the limit drops. Second, I grew up right around there.  It’s a stretch I’ve personally driven hundreds of times and almost never at 35mph.  An otherwise mundane story of speeding tickets that happened to hit particularly close to home. If you’ve been issued a Rockland County traffic ticket, feel free to contact us anytime. Submitted by Scott Feifer

Buffalo ticket war

April 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

I have a feeling this story will make people happy. City parking enforcement officers in Buffalo, NY (Erie County), who issue the orange- colored parking tickets we all hate to see when we get back to our parked car, have themselves been issued numerous New York traffic tickets recently. Buffalo police officers have been issuing the parking enforcement officers vehicle and traffic tickets for failure to wear seat belts.  In other words, while patrolling for parking violations, they are committing moving violations. Apparently this is payback by the police for a number of parking tickets on their privately owned vehicles when they park in restricted areas outside Police Headquarters. It’s a legitimate ticket war. The city corporation counsel’s office actually had to step in and issue a ruling that parking enforcers driving city vehicles are exempt from wearing seat belts.  They site NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law Sec. 1229-C(4) which exempts “authorized emergency vehicles” from the seat belt regulations. In my...Read More >

The most accidents and speeding tickets? Lawyers and doctors.

December 18, 2009 at 10:05 am

Two of the professions historically linked with car crashes have been doctors (to help the injured) and lawyers (to help the injured collect). Turns out these professions are actually linked with car accidents in a more direct fashion. Doctors and lawyers are at the top of a report recently released by Quality Planning Corp. setting forth how frequently people in various occupations are involved in accidents. Doctors ranked first and lawyers second. Architects were third. Real Estate Brokers were fourth. Students were far and away the category most likely to be involved in accidents but are considered separate from the other categories because they are not a “profession”. Quality Planning Corp. is a California company in the business of compiling information for insurance companies and will occasionally issue reports related to their findings. While the reports are based on fact, we can only theorize with respect to why certain professions or groups rank higher than others. With students, it’s easy...Read More >

Route 17 NY speeding tickets

November 16, 2009 at 9:21 am

Between 2006 and 2008, 553 tickets were issued for speeding at 100 mph or higher in Orange County, Sullivan County and Ulster County. Almost half of those were issued on State Route 17. In comparison, police issued 160 tickets to drivers of 100 mph or more on the Thruway, and 82 such tickets on I-84. As a traffic ticket attorney (and an occasional user of Route 17) I’m tempted to be cynical about the reasons for the higher number of extreme speeding tickets on Route 17 in comparison to other roadways.  Route 17 is one of the most heavily patrolled roadways I’ve seen.  You can’t drive 5 miles without seeing either a car stop in progress or an officer waiting on the side of the road ready to initiate a car stop at any moment.  The attorney advertisements on the billboards along Route 17 are a testament to the excessive number of traffic tickets issued along the roadway. Moreover, some...Read More >

Some thoughts on traffic in NY

November 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

According to the 2009 Urban Mobility Report, we spend 4.2 billion hours sitting in traffic each year. That’s a lot of hours.  In case you are curious, that adds up to the total number of hours in the entire lifetime of approximately 6,244 men.  Over 6,000 entire lifetimes in a single year wasted sitting there just trying to get somewhere else. Makes all the teleportation experimentation seem well worth while even with the occasional fly/human DNA mix up. Men’s Health magazine took a short break from letting us know 7 ways for better sex and how to get your abs ripped in 28 seconds to ask men their thoughts on traffic congestion.  Some of the more interesting questions and results: 53% consider traffic a major stressor in their life 26% spend more than 1.5 hrs/day commuting 71% said commuting with their significant other would NOT improve their relationship 76% blame other drivers, not roadway design, for the congestion 70% say...Read More >

A special trick for avoiding traffic tickets?

October 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

I read a short article this morning on the Tampa Tribune website. It posed the question of whether “there is some sort of technique to getting out of traffic citations.” It caught my eye because it hit on a point I’ve been trying to make for years. Everyone wants to know if “I can say this or do this or use this defense or if officers are like this or that”… These questions are with respect to both before and after a ticket is issued. People want black/white solutions to their problems, but such solutions rarely exist. My answers are almost always “maybe, it depends, could be, etc.”… One officer pulls you over and is in a good mood and gives you a warning, another pulls you over 2 minutes after getting into a fight with his wife on the phone. One judge buys your story about why you were talking on a cell phone while another judge’s aunt was...Read More >

$200,000 speeding ticket in Finland. No joke…

October 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Finland assesses speeding fines based partially on how fast you were charged with driving and partially on your income. An heir to a northern European meatpacking empire was recently charged with doing 50mph in a 25mph zone. In New York, this would be a six point speed and all fines and surcharges–including the point-based DRP–would total approximately $500 or so. In Finland, he fine amount took into consideration the motorist’s $11.5 million income that year and was set at $200,000. A number of Scandinavian countries, including Denmark and Norway, also levy fines according to income, according to a survey of the world’s highest speeding fines by AOL Autos.

Supreme Court weighs in on traffic stop

October 23, 2009 at 7:40 am

Is it legal for a police officer to pull over a suspected drunk driver based solely on a caller’s tip? The Supreme Court recently let stand a Virginia Supreme Court ruling that held a police officer can follow but cannot stop a suspected drunk driver’s car until the officer sees the driver do something suspicious, such as swerve in a lane. Justice Roberts strongly dissented. “The effect of [this] rule will be to grant drunk drivers ‘one free swerve’ before they can be pulled over by the police,” Roberts said. “It will be difficult for an officer to explain to the family of a motorist killed by that swerve that the police had a tip that the driver of the other car was drunk, but that they were powerless to pull him over, even for a quick check.” The Supreme Court’s action is not a formal ruling. Other states are not bound to follow the Virginia ruling. However, with that...Read More >

Will new technology help prevent speeding tickets?

October 4, 2009 at 7:11 pm

For as long as there has been speed enforcement, there have been efforts by motorists to use whatever methods were available to avoid speeding tickets. it probably started with simple conversation between neighbors and friends. “Bill, keep an eye out as you’re approaching exit 12 on the highway because this one officer always hides there…”. Then headlight flashing became common among drivers in the mid 1960s when cars began to come with headlight beam selectors located on the steering column—typically activated by pulling the turn signal stalk—rather than the previous foot-operated switches. Once activation was moved to the signal stalk, drivers could momentarily activate their high beams regardless of whether their headlights were turned on or off. Drivers now had a readily available means to attempt communication with one another by flashing their headlamps. Next came the radar detector in the 1970s. The first model–the “fuzzbuster”–was introduced as a result of the 1974 National Maximum Speed Law. This law was...Read More >

Former Nassau County employee charged with 20 felony counts in ticket fixing scam

September 9, 2009 at 6:45 am

A former employee of the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency has been arrested and charged with 20 felony counts for illegally fixing 10 tickets for her daughter and one other relative. Angela Petty was arrested Tuesday morning by investigators from the Nassau County DA’s office and charged with 10 counts of second degree tampering with public records, 10 counts of first degree falsifying business records and 10 misdemeanor counts of official misconduct. She could end up in prison for up to 20 years if convicted. From August 2007 to July 2008, Petty allegedly helped her daughter and one other relative avoid convictions or making any payment on 10 traffic and parking tickets by making entries in the NCTPVA computer indicating that the tickets had been dismissed. Prosecutors say she actually made entries setting forth that specific judges had dismissed the tickets on specific dates, when in fact no judge ever reviewed any of the tickets in question. Petty...Read More >

Excessive traffic ticket writing leads to shooting in court

September 5, 2009 at 9:11 am

The Fire Chief in Jericho, Arkansas got a traffic ticket.  He told the judge what he thought of the police force that issued the ticket and their speed traps.  The entire police force of seven was there in court to hear what he had to say. The police response?  They shot him. Right there in court. The recent shooting brought national attention to this small, former cotton city.   On a local level, drivers have been well aware for some time of the ticketing machine that is Jericho. You probably didn’t have any success if you tried to call the police force to complain about the excessive ticketing.  You can’t get someone to pick up the phone “because normally they’re writing tickets,” according to the chief investigator for the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies patrolled Jericho until the 1990s, when the city received grant money to start its own police force.  Police often camped out in the department’s two cruisers...Read More >

New York traffic ticket leads to points, fine and…felony robbery charges.

August 27, 2009 at 10:17 pm

We know traffic tickets can be damaging. Insurance, fine, surcharges and potential suspension are always concerns and bring hundreds of potential clients to our office each month. Now, in a sudden and unexpected boon to traffic ticket lawyers throughout New York, you can add felony larceny and robbery charges to the list. Police in upstate NY recently tracked down a bank robbery suspect using a traffic ticket that was actually used during the robbery. Irondequoit police said Damien Ponder, 27, of Rochester, N.Y., allegedly used the back of the traffic ticket Saturday to write a note demanding money from a teller at the First Niagara Bank. Mr. Ponder was given an undisclosed amount of cash, which he dropped along with the note while leaving. He allegedly retrieved most of the cash, but left behind the traffic ticket. The ticket had his name and address which in turn led to his arrest and the felony charges of third-degree robbery and fourth-degree...Read More >

How much will my traffic ticket cost? It depends…

August 26, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Getting a traffic ticket in New York can be a lot like buying jewelry or antiques.  Unless you have a trained eye, it’s almost impossible to know what to expect to pay.  Drivers should never assume they know what a traffic ticket will cost in fines, surcharges and other penalties without a full analysis from a traffic ticket professional any more than you’d agree to pay a price for a piece of jewelry or antique furniture without an evaluation by a trusted expert. Let’s use a six point speeding ticket as an example.  Call it 52mph in a 30mph zone.  A relatively basic ticket with no major complications surrounding it.  If a potential client were to ask me how much this ticket may cost, here’s a rambling version of some of the issues and considerations I’d have: I’d first ask which court it was in because in the NYS TVB (NYC mostly) there is no plea bargaining so I’d know...Read More >

Do women get fewer traffic tickets than men?

August 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

No driver or officer can deny the fact that there are inherent differences between men and women.  However, a recent study shows that these differences are unlikely to alter the chances of simply receiving a warning instead of a ticket when pulled over. At least as far as Wisconsin is concerned, women and men actually receive the same proportion of tickets compared with warnings when pulled over by State Patrol officers. While it may not pay to be a woman when it comes to getting pulled over in Wisconsin, it does seem to pay to be an actual resident of Wisconsin itself.  The study revealed that Wisconsin drivers are given some consideration that out of state drivers are not.  Illinois drivers got slapped with tickets a higher percentage of the time than Wisconsin drivers. This information is all according to an analysis of more than 150,000 citations and warnings issued by the Wisconsin State Patrol in 2008. We don’t know...Read More >

The wrong way to get Nassau County traffic tickets dismissed

August 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

Yesterday the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency fired six employees for fixing more than 100 tickets. News reports didn’t mention that they were actually selling their “fixing” services. It seems the tickets in question were for themselves, friends and family. The investigation apparently started with an individual who was issued several Nassau County traffic tickets.  Some of the charges, including a driving on the sidewalk, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and a speeding ticket were dismissed outright. Other charges were delayed longer than a case typically would be within the court rules and some fines and surcharges imposed on other cases were simply removed from the computer system. Turns out this man had a relative working in the court and this relative was one of the six employees fired. The ticket fixing cost Nassau County an estimated $25,000 in revenue. Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice is investigating the possibility of criminal charges against them. Nothing...Read More >

Speeding violation of 5 mph over the limit costs one man $224,000.

July 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who led virtually the entire race this weekend at the Brickyard, was penalized for speeding on his final pit stop. The speed limit in the pits is 55 mph, but NASCAR gives drivers a 4.99-mph cushion.  Hit 60 mph, and a penalty is imposed. Montoya was clocked at 60.06 mph in the second segment of the eight-segment pit road sequence and 60.11 in the fourth.  Apparently, he was very close to exceeding the speed limit a couple of other times and was over 59 in most other zones. There’s no human element to the speed monitoring at the race.  It’s a simple computation of the time it takes for the vehicles in the pit to travel certain known distances.  A transponder records the time and does the mph calculations. Clocks are a pretty reliable technology, but that didn’t stop Montoya from sounding like many people who are issued more traditional speeding tickets.  Understandably upset, his...Read More >

NY Justice Courts have become key source of state revenue.

July 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I was interviewed last week by Justin Mason of the Schenectady Daily Gazette for an article on how fees, fines and bail forfeitures collected by some of New York State’s 1,262 justice courts are generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for New York State and local municipalities. Mason, an Associated Press award-winning journalist, (for more about Justin Mason, click here) makes the connection between a dramatic rise in traffic tickets and the revenues raised. Some of the main points raised: Fines, fees and bail forfeitures collected by some of the state’s 1,262 justice courts can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars for both the state and localities. The revenue collected by a justice court is much larger than the municipal cost of operating the court, meaning towns and villages can use the funding to help control taxes. Rotterdam Justice Court — one of the top grossing justice courts in the Capital Region — poured $427,244 into the town in...Read More >

Virgina woman finds way to beat long DMV lines

July 20, 2009 at 10:49 am

A Virginia woman drove to her local Department of Motor Vehicles service center in Leesburg this weekend to take care of some basic paperwork related to her car’s title.  She then drove straight into the building. Some theories as to why she did this: 1.  She was under the impression the DMV clerk would need to see the actual vehicle. 2.  She had a bet with a friend that it was a fake brick wall (she won the bet). 3.  She heard DMV was offering new drive through services. 4.  Trying to turn her midsize sedan into a compact car. 5.  General frustration with the DMV. Actually, she mistook the gas pedal for the brake. For the record, the traffic ticket attorneys at fully recommend that all motorists, upon visiting the NYS DMV, employ a more traditional strategy of parking a car, getting out of the car and walking into the DMV through what’s commonly referred to as a...Read More >

New York traffic tickets on the rise

July 7, 2009 at 8:01 am

We expect numbers statewide to reflect what the numbers in Central NY show for the first part of 2009—an increase in the number of traffic tickets issued. Speeding tickets are up 30% in 2009 according to ticket information from State Police Troop D, which covers all of Central New York From January 1st to May 1st, Troop D saw the following increases as compared to the same time period last year: Seat belt tickets (adult) up 12% Seat belt tickets (child restraint) up 15% Equipment violations up 27% Speeding tickets up 32% Overall the increase in the number of traffic citations was 21%. The Troop D Captain claims he has never been told to go out and write more tickets because the state needs more revenue and that there is no traffic ticket quota.  He attributes most of the increase to a new traffic management team of 10 troopers and one sergeant. We’ll never know for sure the exact reason...Read More >

NY traffic ticket? Keep your cool every step of the way.

July 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm

From the time you are pulled over through the very last word uttered at your hearing, it will never pay to lose your temper. It won’t get you out of the traffic ticket.  it won’t convince the enforcement officer, prosecutor or judge that a big mistake has been made. Losing your cool will never help and can only hurt your chances of success when it comes to fighting a speeding ticket or other traffic ticket in New York. In some cases, losing your cool over a traffic ticket can actually do a lot more damage than a mere conviction. Take Mr. Robert Luizzi, for example.  This morning he went to Schenectady Police Headquarters to take care of his traffic ticket when he was informed he needed to go to the department’s Traffic Services Division at a different location. Annoyed he was in the wrong place, Mr. Luizzi angrily kicked a glass panel section of a door at the police station...Read More >

Speeding tickets deserve careful review based on E-ZPass glitch

July 1, 2009 at 8:39 am

A news story circulated a few days ago about an E-ZPass malfunction at a western New York toll booth.  The malfunction caused erroneous E-ZPass “speeding citations”  for about 3,600 motorists who use the electronic toll collection system. The errors happened at Exit 59 of the NYS Thruway between May 28 and June 6. Drivers received letters telling them their E-ZPass privileges had been temporarily suspended because they had gone through the toll booth at more than 40 mph. These violations are not actual moving violations as charged on traditional NY speeding tickets.  These are violations of E-ZPass user rules.  Fortunately, there is no effect on a driver license or automobile insurance that needs to be reversed in light of this error. Nevertheless, we can only imagine the domestic disputes that resulted from the belief that a child or spouse put themselves in danger by driving through a toll booth at more than 40 mph and, at the same time, lost...Read More >

Red light cameras may cost more but will lead to many more New York parking tickets

June 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

Red light cameras in Nassau County, which were supposed to generate millions of dollars for the county without any upfront expense, will require more than $1 million in start-up costs, county officials now say. The money is a combination of the amount it will cost to lease the actual equipment and to hire nine new clerks (approx $330,000) to handle the expected tripling of its current annual average of 300,000 tickets. Some Nassau officials are upset they were told one thing which is actually turning out to be something else.  Others are saying it’s more a matter of bookkeeping with respect to what money is paid and when it’s paid. Personally, I’m not sure how anyone really could have thought there would be zero start up costs.  The new clerks and the overhead of simply managing the increase in red light camera tickets issued seem to be a pretty obvious and predictable expense. No one, however, is worried about the...Read More >

NYS TVB bond payments for NYC traffic tickets now due next day.

June 23, 2009 at 8:24 am

In many Traffic Violation Bureau (TVB) cases, the majority of which are traffic tickets in NYC, the Judge will require payment of a $40 cash bond on a ticket. It’s a refundable deposit and, as long as a motorist shows for court on the next hearing date, it will be returned. For years, NY traffic ticket attorneys complained that this bond payment had to be paid in cash on the same day it was requested by the Judge. If it wasn’t, a motorist’s license would be suspended at midnight that night. We are happy to report the efforts in getting this rule changed have finally paid off. Bond payments are now due the following day. This significantly cuts down the number of suspensions based on failure to pay the bond on time. If you have any questions about what a bond is or why it may be required, feel free to contact our firm any time. Submitted by NYC traffic...Read More >

Proposal to make traffic agents photograph certain NY parking violations.

June 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

A bill has been proposed that would make all traffic agents take photographs of certain parking violations. Of course, NYC parking ticket issuing agencies and other agencies affected are against it. Councilman James Vacca, who sponsored the bill, said the city was just concerned that it would lose revenue from “unreasonable, inappropriate, and frivolous tickets.” “I think that’s part of the reason they’re opposed to it,” Vacca, a Bronx Democrat, said. “Traffic tickets were never meant to be a revenue raiser.” Is the Councilman implying the city now views parking tickets as a revenue raiser?  Of course he is.  And it’s a big revenue raiser at that. Images of violations like parking in bus stops, bicycle lanes, and closer than fifteen feet to a fire hydrant would stop most traffic agents from printing bogus parking tickets. Such tickets are issued regularly–I’ve personally been the victim.  I was forced to prove my ticket was bogus by taking a picture of the...Read More >

NY traffic violation? Change in state law may mean extra day in court.

June 19, 2009 at 6:51 am

City, town and village traffic courts were notified last month that the state Legislature amended New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law to require courts to schedule an extra appearance date for motorists to talk over a plea-bargain with a police officer or prosecutor. This law is related to the big change we saw back in 2006, when state police decided to enforce a policy against allowing troopers to plea-bargain traffic tickets. Traditionally, State Troopers would issue speeding tickets and other moving violations and then, in court, serve as prosecutor for the case and potentially offer plea bargains to lesser charges. This ended in 2006 and forced courts, which rely on plea bargains to quickly and fairly dispose of a high percentage of cases, to scramble and find alternatives. Many District Attorney offices don’t have the manpower to serve as prosecutors for vehicle and traffic cases, so they delegated that authority to lawyers hired by towns and villages. Some courts couldn’t...Read More >

Many vehicle owners turning to car insurance fraud during difficult times

June 12, 2009 at 11:23 am

Many desperate, financially strapped car owners are intentionally destroying (burning in many cases) or simply dumping their vehicles and then reporting them stolen to cash in on the automobile insurance. This is known as an owner “give-up”.  Most claims are filed by first-time offenders looking for a quick financial fix.  In most cases these are people who view this as a “victimless” crime and wouldn’t consider committing other types of more traditional and “personal” crimes.    One industry insider described people who think “insurance companies are rich and fat” and won’t miss a little money Experts say the billions of dollars in insurance losses are actually recouped from honest consumers as premium increases. The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud says the number of people arrested statewide on suspicion of making false auto theft reports jumped from 96 in 2007 to 130 in 2008. Similar jumps have been measured in other cities. Such cases can result in felony charges of...Read More >

NY Parking Tickets pile up on van with dead man inside

June 6, 2009 at 6:58 am

Just read a news item about a man’s decomposing body inside a minivan covered in parking tickets going undiscovered for weeks because the vehicle’s windows were apparently tinted and ticketing officers don’t normally search cars The body was found in the backseat Wednesday when a city marshal tried to tow the vehicle from beneath an overpass on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, police said. He was believed to have been living out of the white Chevrolet minivan, which had North Carolina plates. His daughter said she last saw him in early May and had called police. “The window was cracked open. I don’t understand how no one noticed him. They just gave him tickets,” she told the Daily News. It wasn’t clear exactly how many tickets were on the minivan’s windshield when the body was discovered. There were reports of a foul odor near the vehicle. As always, a reminder that my firm fights New York traffic tickets–speeding tickets, red lights, other...Read More >

NYS DMV to double certain fees in July 2009.

June 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Right on the heels of my prior post about a potential for increased tickets and surcharges during these difficult economic times (Hard Times?  Expect more traffic tickets NY), we’ve learned that NY has authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to increase their suspension termination fees (stf) by 100%.  This means the license termination fee, the license reinstatement fee, and the scofflaw termination fee will all be double what they currently are in about a month. While we are not a fan of any of the increases, it’s the scofflaw termination fee–the fee required to end a suspension resulting from a failure to answer a ticket or pay a fine–that directly concerns us as NY traffic lawyers the most.  First, this is the fee most directly related to traditional traffic tickets.  Second, the scofflaw termination fee is by far the most prevalent of the three types of suspension fees.  Look at these numbers:  The DMV collects approximately $3 million annually...Read More >

Hard times? Expect more traffic tickets NY.

June 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Last week we read of renewed talk about a $50 surcharge to fund increased and more efficient enforcement in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Click here for the full story. “If you speed, you’ll get a surcharge and you’ll pay for the people who are protecting you,” Legis. Jack Eddington (WF-Medford) said. This doesn’t sit well with me.  Isn’t law enforcement a general public expense? Where are all the surcharges and fees for every one else violating other non-driving related laws?  The general public primarily foots the bill for enforcement of our laws — why are driving offenses treated differently? Driving is different because you can send as many officers out as you want to issue as many traffic tickets as they want on any given day.  It’s easy.  “Click it or ticket” campaigns, checkpoints, routine car stops that turn into multiple tickets, etc.  Need more money…How about a ticket blitz?  While I’ll never contend that enforcement officers issue undeserved tickets...Read More >

Study: More traffic tickets, fewer accidents

May 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

It’s always been the same argument.  Our clients are issued traffic tickets in New York and claim that it’s all about revenue generation.  The enforcement and administrative agencies in question respond with a simple “we don’t want to issue traffic summonses or set high fines and surcharges—we just want to encourage everyone to be safe”. While it may be true that there are indeed many people more concerned with the number of dollars collected than the number of bodies flying through windshields, the “it’s all about money” side of the equation took a big hit yesterday. Data from a 2008 study of Massachusetts traffic was released and shows that the heavier the police presence, the safer roads become. More traffic tickets equal fewer accidents. Fewer tickets lead to more accidents. A co-author of the study– Towson University economics professor Michael Makowsky—said simply that “As you garner a reputation as an area with lax enforcement, people are going to drive a...Read More >

NMA list of “worst places to drive”

May 24, 2009 at 9:03 pm

The “summer driving season” is here and officially gets underway Memorial Day weekend. More vehicles on the road means more potential traffic tickets and more enforcement of the traffic laws. The National Motorists Association recently ranked the worst places to drive due to what they characterize as unfair traffic laws and public monitoring. New York didn’t exactly do well on the list, but certainly did better than New Jersey.  New Jersey ranked the worst based on 17 factors, including: Speed limits. The use of red-light or speed cameras. Laws banning cell phone use while driving. Whether speeders are allowed jury trials. The number of speed traps (weighted by population). We can’t put it all on enforcement.  Holiday gatherings means drinking and potential dangerous driving and more enforcement certainly has an upside to it. That said, those driving carefully and otherwise following the rules of the road should beware that, at this time of year, the extra enforcement might very well...Read More >

Are there traffic ticket quotas?

May 20, 2009 at 7:49 am

A recent news item indicated that the Montreal Police union says it’s true: there’s a traffic ticket quota on the Montreal police force. Montreal Executive Committee chairman Claude Dauphin, the number-two man at city hall, says it’s news to him. Dauphin figures Yves Francoeur must be talking about a per-day, per-officer average of 18 tickets. Are there New York traffic ticket quotas? Chances are you’d get similar reactions.  While most would deny that there are no set specific traffic ticket quotas, we can pose the following questions to shed some light.  If an officer is assigned traffic enforcement over a six hour shift and returns to his precinct to announce that he issued zero summonses over that time, will his Sergent be pleased or disappointed with his performance?  Will future similar performances help or hinder this officer if he tries to advance his career within the department?  What if the officer issued an average of one ticket a shift?  What...Read More >

Younger Drivers and “Click it or Ticket”

May 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Prom, graduation, summer break and the start of the annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign (May 18-31, 2009) means more chances for traffic tickets and other driving and license related issues for young drivers.  In many cases, law enforcement and courts treat young drivers more harshly than more experienced drivers in order to send a clear message: driving is serious business.  This potentially costly lesson can be easily avoided.  Our top 10 tips: 1. Wear your seatbelt and use a hands free device for the phone.  Officers will look at each driver and into each vehicle to check for compliance. 2. Registration, inspection and insurance should all be current and proof readily available. 3. If you are in no condition to drive, call a parent or a friend.  Better to crash on someone’s couch than on the highway. 4. “Speed” intelligently.  The flow of traffic is sometimes at a speed greater than the legal limit, but “Everyone else was doing...Read More >

NY Mets outfielder Angel Pagan has traffic ticket problems

May 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

New York Met centerfielder Angel Pagan was recently arrested and it wasn’t for “stealing” a base or “robbing” an opposing player of an extra base hit. Pagan was arrested in Florida on May 7th after being stopped for speeding on I-95. While checking Pagan’s license the officer learned that he was driving with a suspended license and also had several warrants. Although Pagan had a valid Arizona driver license, his Florida driver license was suspended back in 2005 for failure to pay a traffic fine. I am not arguing that his transgression will somehow affect the Mets season. Pagan is a minor role player and, even if he was a star, the Mets consistently lead the league in finding new and interesting ways to blow it. Pagan wouldn’t make a difference one way or another. The point is that outstanding traffic tickets, license suspensions and traffic related warrants should not to be taken lightly. Pagan was driving with a valid...Read More >

Dutchess County Justices dismiss NY State Trooper Tickets

May 14, 2009 at 9:35 pm

In 2006, New York State Police (the State Troopers) stopped negotiating plea bargains (reducing the severity of the violation charged) with respect to the tickets they issue. The Troopers argue it was a move to prevent allegations of impropriety, favoritism and corruption. Many (myself included) feel it was simply related to overtime and the additional hours in court spent negotiating these deals. Courts rely on these plea bargains. It allows them to collect fine money, impose a fair punishment on the recipient of the ticket and avoid the more costly and time consuming trial that takes place when a plea bargain has not been negotiated. I have argued since day one that this was unfair. Whether a driver can negotiate a lower charge and/or fine depends on where they get a ticket and from whom. Moreover, how do we reconcile the fact that an accused murderer is more likely to be offered a deal and negotiated with in certain courts...Read More >

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