Traffic Q&A

Q:    Can’t I just pay my fine online?

A:    Some courts allow you to pay your fines online, but others don’t. The best thing to do is to check in with the court, as each court has a different policy. If your fine is in Nassau, for example, the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency in Hempstead allows you to pay fines over the phone with a credit card.

Q:    Can an attorney go to court in my place?

A:    If you are represented by an attorney, then you typically do not need to appear in court. However, if the case proceeds to trial, then you will more than likely need to appear.

Q:    If I received a ticket for going over 30 miles over the speed limit, can’t I just plead guilty?

A:    Technically yes, but you should be able to save money and points on your license if you hire an attorney. This is an eight-point violation, and if you catch two more points within that 18-month period, your license will be suspended. Not to mention the fact that you will also incur a fine, an $85 surcharge, and a driver assessment fee of at least $450 upon pleading guilty, as well as increased premiums once your insurance company finds out about those eight points.

Q:    Speaking of the driver assessment fee, what exactly is that?

A:    If you incur six points or more on your New York State driver’s license within an 18-month period from the date of the violation, then the driver’s assessment fee is $100 annually for a period of three years, for a total of $300. The assessment fee includes $25 per point per year for the three years (so $75 for each point). As you can see, this fee can become pretty pricey pretty quickly.

If you are convicted of an alcohol or drug-related traffic violation, or if you have been found to have refused a chemical test, then the driver’s assessment fee becomes $250 for three years, making it a total of $750.

Q:    I handled my own case, but the judge suspended my license and gave me a fine. I need my license to get back and forth to work. Can you help me?

A:    Unfortunately, it is too late in the game at this point for an attorney to help you.

Q:    I pled guilty to my ticket, then I received a letter telling me that my license was going to be suspended. Can you help me?

A:    It is possible to reverse a guilty plea, so long as the request is made within six months of the plea being made.

Q:    I want to hire you as my attorney, but I don’t know whether I should plead not guilty and then hire you after I am given a court date. Do I hire you before going to the first appearance, or after?

A:     We can take your case on at any point, though the earlier you hire us, the better. There are certain deadlines that need to be met by which you would have a better chance at seeing your ticket get dismissed, so if you hire an attorney to help you, you have a better shot at receiving some leniency.

Q:    How many points is a cell phone violation?

A:    As of July 12, 2011, cell phone violations can cost you five points on your license.

Q:    I received a ticket for having no license, and the judge wants to put me in jail. Isn't driving without a license just an infraction?

A:    You are correct; driving without a license is an infraction, but a judge can still choose to impose a jail sentence upon conviction. A judge can also choose to place bail on you even if you haven’t pled guilty to the charge. No matter what, if you have been charged with driving without a license, you should retain an attorney who is familiar with the court to which the ticket is returnable to help you with your case.