How Many Points is a Speeding Ticket in New York?

How Many Points is a Speeding Ticket in New York?  What other Considerations Should I Know About?

The answer to these questions usually depends on how many miles per hour above the speed limit you are convicted of traveling. The higher the speed the higher the associated points.

If you are convicted of speeding 10 miles per hour or less above the speed limit in New York, the ticket carries 3 points.  These points  will attach to your New York State license or a record that is created for you if you have an out of state license.  There is a  separate violation of speed not reasonable or prudent which also carries 3 points.  Police will write this ticket when they believe that the speed you are traveling is unsafe given the road conditions.  Police do not need to use a radar or laser device to issue this ticket.  These tickets are far more subjective than the standard speeding ticket  which are verifiable with some sort of device which confirms the officer’s speed estimate.

Driving 11-20 miles per hour above the speed limit carries a penalty of 4 points.  There are a lot of misconceptions out there (some perpetuated by unscrupulous traffic court attorneys) about whether a single speeding ticket will cause an increase in your insurance premiums.  The line in the sand is right in the middle of the 4 point New York speeding ticket.  New York State Insurance Law states that a speeding ticket of less than 15 miles per hour cannot in of itself cause your insurances rates to increase.  This can be a huge difference for a lot of people in determining whether to fight their speeding tickets and what results will help them the most.

Traveling 21-30 miles per hour above the speed limit carries a penalty of 6 points on your record.  It is at this level of speed ticket that the state of New York begins to charge additional fees based on the number of points accumulating on a person’s record.  New York has instituted a Driver’s Responsibility Assessment which requires motorists to pay $300 for 6 points issued in an 18 month period.  For additional points above 6, New York mandated an additional $75 per point.  You can see how the fees really start adding up once 6 points hits your record.  The 6 point speed fills your point tally to pay the assessment in one fell swoop.

If you are convicted of traveling 31-40 miles an hour above the speed limit, 8 points are added to your record.  These tickets are considered “excessive” speeds and in New York City traffic courts (TVB) you are mandated to appear before a judge even if you want to plead guilty to the charge.  The court requires this because the judge may take license action against you if you have  prior convictions or the judge deems the circumstances of the speeding tickets egregious.

The final category of New York speeding tickets is for traveling 41 miles per hour or greater above the speed limit.  These speeding tickets carry 11 points on a record and very well can result in a license suspension or revocation if convicted.  It is important to remember that when a judge finds you guilty or takes a guilty plea on a case like this, they DO NOT have to issue a suspension.  The suspension is completely discretionary to the individual judge  and is not mandatory.

There are many considerations that must be taken into account if you receive a speeding ticket regardless of its severity.  Call our office for a consultation to fully understand what is at stake and how we can help you.

Submitted by Matthew Greenberg

New York Cell Phone Violation Points and Fines Keep Going Up

New York cell phone violation points and fines when convicted keep going up.  NY State has made it clear that distracted driving is clearly a primary target of legislation and enforcement.

On June 1, 2013, drivers convicted of using a cell phone or using a handheld electronic device will have 5 violation points added to their New York drivers license or NY record if licensed in another state.  This increase  in the severity of the penalty for this violation reflects the danger that distracted driving is deemed to pose to the general public and the safety of drivers and pedestrians on New York roadways.  The Governor and the Legislature made this change to discourage drivers from engaging in unwanted behavior and to severely punish those drivers who still choose to use their electronic devices while driving their cars.  In addition to the point increase, the fines for repeat offenders will be increasing as well.  Commercial drivers will also face additional penalties going forward.

Prior to February 16, 2011, cell phone violations did not carry points.  As the use of cell phones quickly became ubiquitous in New York State and more instances of accidents caused by distracted driving were noted, the Legislature mandated that cell phone tickets should carry two points. By October of 2011 cell phone tickets now carried 3 points.  Finally, on June 1, 2013, cell phone tickets and texting tickets in New York now carried 5 points.  The five points for these violations make cell phone tickets as severe as all but highest excessive speeding tickets in New York.

As of July 26, 2013 the fines for texting or using a cell phone will increase to between $50 and $150 for a first offense.  For a second offense within an eighteen month period the fines will be between $50 and $200.  Finally, for a third offense in 18 months the fine can go to $400.

A brief summary of  the law on cell phones and portable electronic devices is as follows. New York State Vehicle and Traffic law (VTL) Section 1225-c and 1225-d prohibit drivers from using handheld phones and electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.  The two key words here are “using” and “operating”.  How a police officer testifies about these two concepts often are the deciding factors in whether a case like this is won or lost.  There is one exception to the prohibition of using a phone while driving.  If the phone is being used to contact emergency personnel about an emergency in the process of happening, this can be an effective defense to the charge in court.  It should be noted the judge isn’t simply going to take your word on this point. Be prepared to present some evidence backing up your claim.  The increase in the severity of these charges and the frequency with which these tickets are now being issued to New York state drivers mean all New Yorkers should know their rights in fighting these tickets.  Call our office for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.

By Matthew Greenberg

Fighting a NYC Speeding Ticket

For speeding ticket lawyers, fighting a NYC speeding ticket requires an in depth understanding the relevant law and a whole lot of hand-on practical experience.  Much has been made of the fact that whether a speeding ticket has been issued in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island or Manhattan, the case must go to trial once a not guilty plea has been entered.  Once plea negotiations are off the table, what strategies are used to successfully argue and win a case at the Traffic Violation Bureau (TVB)?

The most important job of the traffic court attorney is to discredit the officer’s testimony or show that the testimony was legally insufficient to establish guilt.  At all TVB hearings, the police officer offers their testimony at the beginning of the hearing. This testimony is a recitation of their observations and the rationale of why they issued the speeding ticket to the motorist.  The defense attorney carefully listens to the officer’s case and then makes motions to dismiss based on legal insufficiencies in the testimony and possible important omissions in the testimony that may be fatal to the officer’s case.  These motions have nothing to do specifically with the events as they may have unfolded on the roadway.  Rather, the argument is essentially, “Judge, the officer testified Y. A proper legal case for speeding requires X.  Therefore, the case needs to be dismissed.  This is the basic framework, lets look at a couple real world examples to see how this plays out.  Here is a case from from the Manhattan South TVB from last week.

Our client received a speeding ticket for going 52 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone in the Park Ave tunnel in Midtown Manhattan.  The office offered pretty solid testimony about most of the case hitting just about all of the required elements that would have been required of him to get a conviction.  What the officer failed to do, was state in his testimony that the area where this ticket was issued was an unposted speed zone.  In New York City, if there are no speed limit signs posted, then the default speed limit is 30 mph.  Police officers frequently write speeding tickets in these zones and they are routinely upheld by the court.  However, in this case the office did not testify that this was an unposted zone.  He simply stated that the speed limit was 30mph.  If the officer say this then the officer must provide testimony about speed signs.  No speed sign testimony was offered for the obvious reason that are none on that section of Park Avenue.  So because the court was not told that this was an unposted speed zone our attorney’s motion to dismiss was granted and our client walked away very happy.

Here is another example from last week in Queens North TVB.  Our client was travelling eastbound on the Long Island Expressway in Queens close the Nassau County border.  The police officer claimed she was going 74 miles per hour in a 50mph zone.  The officer also testified that he used his rear view mirror to estimate the speed of our client’s vehicle.  In order to issue a speeding ticket the officer must make the visual estimate prior to confirming the estimate with another method of speed enforcement such as laser or radar.  We were able to win this case because the officer  neglected to tell the court that he was trained to make an speed estimate of this nature.  There needed to have been explicit testimony that the officer was trained to estimate vehicle speed using his rear view mirror.  Our attorney picked up on the omission and the case was dismissed.

By Matthew Greenberg

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Fighting NY Traffic Tickets Made Easy With Feifer & Greenberg, LLP.

Fighting traffic tickets in NY should not be complicated.  Understand the consequences and your options.

Let us know if you have any questions.



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