New York Traffic Tickets

Table of contents

New York Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties

Unlike those of most other states, traffic ticket fines in New York are not always spelled out for each violation. Rather, the fine depends on the category of the violation, your individual driving record, and many other factors.

For example, the state of New York includes surcharges depending on where the violation took place. The state also allows each county to generate its own rules for fines and fees, but they have to stick to the rules that the state sets out.

You might have to pay even more fees if you fail to pay your ticket on time. Even if you decide to fight your ticket—if you end up losing—you might still have to pay late payment penalties. It all depends on the date of your conviction.

Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) Fee

This point-based surcharge is added to your traffic tickets when you satisfy any of the following requirements:

  • You are convicted of an alcohol- or drug-related traffic violation.
  • You refuse to take a chemical test for blood alcohol content (BAC).
  • You receive 6 or more points on your license within an 18-month period.

How much you pay depends on the number of alcohol- or drug-related traffic convictions you have. Other factors include how many times you've refused to take a BAC chemical test and the total number of points on your license.

New York Traffic Ticket Points System

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) assigns points based on the severity of the traffic violation. Just like in golf, the more points you have the worse off you are. Higher points can lead to higher fines, fees, and surcharges. Having too many points on your license can also cause the court to suspend or revoke it.

Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP)

Points can cause your insurance premiums to increase by thousands of dollars each year.

Also known as the Defensive Driving Course or Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course, the Point and Insurance Reduction Program is designed to reduce much of that financial burden. The PIRP opens the door to the following benefits:

  • Turn 4 active points into passive points (passive points do not count against you for the suspension or revocation of your license).
  • 10% reduction in annual auto insurance premiums for 3 years.

Of course, there are also a few noteworthy drawbacks to taking the course:

  • The course does not remove any points from your driving record.
  • The course has a mandatory length of 320 minutes (5 hours and 20 minutes).
  • You may have to pay extra fees for the administration of the class.

Ticket Violations that Don't Give Points

New York has quite a few traffic laws on the books. They cover violations ranging from a smack on the wrist to decades in prison. The violations listed below do not add points to your license. Keep in mind, thought, that they still come with fines and other penalties.

  • Any bicycle violation.
  • Any pedestrian violation.
  • Any parking violation.
  • Any violation related to unregistered, unlicensed, or uninsured operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Any violation related to motor vehicle inspection, vehicle weights or dimensions, or vehicle equipment other than inadequate service brakes.
  • Any violation related to a business or the sale of goods established in the Vehicle and Traffic Law or any local law.
  • A violation related to the improper use of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Suffolk County between exits 49 and 57 of the Long Island Expressway.
  • Any other violation not resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.

This list refers exclusively to government-mandated points. Although the state of New York will not issue points for these violations, insurance companies can. Many of them have their own point systems and might issue points even when the government doesn't.

Driver's License Suspensions and Revocations

Suspension and revocations function in a similar fashion in the state of New york as they do elsewhere: If you are convicted of a serious traffic violation or a series of traffic violations, you might have your driver's license suspended or revoked.

There are two kinds of license suspensions in New York: definite and indefinite. A definite suspension is a suspension that comes with a definite expiration date. In other words, the court sets a date when you can have your license back. It's usually a few months after your conviction. Traffic violations that can result in a definite suspension include the following:

  • Not having automobile liability insurance.
  • Alcohol- or drug-related traffic violations.
  • Gaining 11 or more points on your license within an 18-month period.
  • Not following the rules for junior drivers.

An indefinite suspension is a suspension that can last forever or until certain requirements are met, whichever comes first. Here are a few examples of traffic violations that can result in the indefinite suspension of your driver's license:

  • Failure to answer a traffic ticket.
  • Failure to pay a traffic ticket fine.
  • Failure to file a motor vehicle accident report.
  • Failure to pay child support.
  • Failure to pay New York tax debts.
  • Not having automobile liability insurance.

A license revocation is the permanent and complete withdrawal of any and all of your driving privileges in the state. Sometimes, you can get a new license, but that comes with extra costs and fees. Long story short, you do not want your license revoked. Traffic violations that can result in your license being revoked include the following:

  • Operating a vehicle without automobile liability insurance.
  • Being involved in an uninsured motor vehicle accident.
  • Alcohol- or drug-related traffic violations.
  • Being convicted of a "serious" traffic offense or "multiple offenses."
  • Failure of a DMV road test.
  • Making a false statement on a DMV application for a license or registration.
  • Being involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in a fatality.

You'll have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get your driving privileges back after having your license revoked. You will need to obtain permission from the New York DMV, retake the written and driving tests, and pay a new license application fee. And that's assuming the state even lets you get a new license in the first place. Sometimes, you'll never drive again.

All the more reason to hire a New York traffic lawyer to prevent that conviction in the first place.

Penalties for Traffic Violations as a Junior Driver

New York's Graduated License Law includes many responsibilities and restrictions for junior drivers. If you don't take special care to follow those rules, you could wind up having your license suspended or revoked for 60 days.

Moving and Non-Moving Traffic Violations

Moving and non-moving violations are exactly what they sound like. Moving violations are traffic violations that happen while the vehicle is in motion. Non-moving violations are traffic violations that happen while the vehicle is not in motion.

Here are a few examples of common moving violations:

  • Speeding.
  • Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign.
  • Drunk or drugged driving.
  • Texting while driving.

Non-moving violations are usually related to parking or faulty equipment. If you have faulty brakes, for example, you could get a ticket for a non-moving violation. Non-moving violations are usually less severe than moving violations. That said, they can still pack a punch.

How to Respond to Your Ticket

Responding to your ticket in a timely manner can make the difference between getting off scot free and racking up points and fines. Like we said earlier, failure to respond to your ticket before the deadline can also result in the indefinite suspension of your driver's license.

Traffic Ticket Plea Options

Whether you receive a Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) ticket or a general New York ticket, the plea options remain the same: guilty or not-guilty.

A plea of guilty immediately renders a conviction complete with the points, fines, fees, and other penalties that come along with the conviction. A plea of not-guilty enables you to fight the ticket in court.

Note that New York's rules regarding plea bargaining and no-contest pleas are not like most other places.

Plea Bargaining and No-Contest Pleas in New York

The state of New York does not allow no-contest pleas. And most of New York doesn't allow any form of plea bargaining. New York City traffic tickets (TVB tickets), for example, which are the majority of tickets in the state, do not allow plea bargaining.

That means you have only two options (plead guilty or plead not-guilty), and if you plead guilty you will have to accept the full penalty associated with the violation(s) cited in the ticket.

This differs from virtually every other state in the Union, as other states often allow you to negotiate what is called a plea deal, an admission of guilt to a lesser violation in order to reduce the penalties for you and reduce the time and financial costs to the court. This mutually beneficial practice was outlawed in most of New York back in 2006.

No-contest pleas are also not offered in New York. These pleas — common elsewhere in the country — involve accepting the charges against you without admitting guilt. In New York, however, you must explicitly either admit guilt by pleading guilty or declare lack of guilt by pleading not-guilty.

Paying Your Ticket

You can pay a New York traffic ticket online, by mail, or at a DMV (or TVB) office. Depending on the location where the traffic violation occurred, you might owe one portion of the ticket to the DMV and another portion to the TVB. The easiest way to pay a ticket is through the WinIt app.

Paying your ticket in any way is considered an "admission of guilt," which carries the following consequences:

  • You can never fight or otherwise contest the paid ticket, its fees, or any of its penalties.
  • You will take the full brunt of the penalties, as New York's traffic court is an all-or-nothing system with no option for plea bargaining.

Fighting Your Ticket

Everybody's been there before. You're driving, following all the rules of the road, and a car comes speeding past you. The police officer manning the speed trap down the road clocks the speeder with his radar but mistakes your car for theirs, giving you the ticket instead.

Whether you're in this situation or any of the countless others that New York drivers face every day, you're going to want to fight your ticket.

This means entering a plea of not-guilty in Section-B of the ticket, mailing it to the court, and eventually taking time off work to argue against seasoned prosecutors with years — or even decades — of experience.

These mail-in disputes, however, tend to offer an extremely low success rate.

One thing that any lawyer will tell you is that there is value in the human element. When prosecutors, judges, and juries can see a person in front of them actively explaining your case, your odds increase significantly.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Lawyer through the WinIt App

Fighting the good fight involves spending time, energy, and expertise that most people simply don't have; but in order to reduce your points, prevent your insurance premiums from rising, and avoid having to pay costly fines and fees, you're going to need to do just that.

The WinIt App puts all of those resources at the tip of your finger, making it possible to hire an expert traffic attorney in New York — or elsewhere — with the press of a button.

These attorneys handle all of the paperwork, go toe-to-toe with the prosecutors in traffic court, and do all of the heavy lifting so that you don't have to.

The longer you wait, the closer you get to the late payment deadline and potential suspension of your license, so fight your ticket with the WinIt App today and sleep better tomorrow.

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