New York Driving Tickets: What To Do With Them

Even the most cautious drivers make mistakes from time to time. If you've recently been pulled over and issued a traffic ticket in New York, this guide will help you understand your ticket.

Fines and Penalties in New York

In New York, traffic fines are not specified on the ticket because they have a fee range that varies depending on the type of violation, driving record, and other factors. You will be charged additional late fees if you do not pay on time. Determine your deadlines and penalties by consulting your traffic ticket. The following are examples of major infractions:
  • Reckless driving.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol.

Points For Various Traffic Violations in New York

The Department of Licensing (DOL) in New York uses a point system for driving records. Your license will be suspended if you receive 11 points on your driving record in the next 18 months.
Violations Points
Speeding - MPH over speed limit not indicated 3
Speeding 1 - 10 MPH over the speed limit 3
Speeding 11 - 20 MPH over the speed limit 4
Speeding 21 - 30 MPH over the speed limit 6
Speeding 31 - 40 MPH over the speed limit 8
Speeding More than 40 MPH over the speed limit 11
Reckless driving 5
Failed to stop for a school bus 5
Inadequate brakes 4
Improper cell phone use 5
Following too closely 4
Passing improperly, changing lanes unsafely, driving to the left of center, driving in the wrong direction 3
Failed to obey a traffic signal, a stop sign, or a yield sign 3
Railroad crossing violation 3
Failed to yield the right-of-way 3
Passenger safety violations, including seat belt and child safety seat violations for passengers under the age of 16 3
Left the scene of an accident that includes property damage or the injury of a domestic animal 3
Other moving violations 2
Inadequate brakes (vehicle of an employer) 2
Use of portable electronic device ("texting") 5
Speeding and cell phone tickets are two of the most common moving violations in New York. The following are the penalties and fines associated with these infractions:
  • Speeding 1-10 MPH over the speed limit = 3 Points; $243 Maximum Fine
  • Speeding 11-20 MPH over the speed limit = 4 Points; $300 Maximum Fine
  • Speeding 21-30 MPH over the speed limit = 6 Points; $300 Maximum Fine
  • Speeding 31-40 MPH over the speed limit = 8 Points; $600 Maximum Fine
  • Speeding 41 mph or more over the speed limit = 11 Points; $600 Maximum Fine
  • Cell Phone/Electronic Device Ticket = 5 points; $150 Maximum Fine
A $93 mandatory court surcharge is added to each ticket in addition to the fines. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles slaps you with another penalty known as the Driver Responsibility Assessment after accumulating 6 points in New York State (DRA). This is true even if you are driving from another state. You will be fined $100 per year for the next three years if you have 6 points. You will be charged an additional $25 per year for the next three years for every point above six. In New York, for example, the DRA for 8 Points will be $450 ($150 per year for three years). Your New York driving privileges will be suspended if you accumulate 11 points on your record. If you are caught driving in New York while your license is suspended, you will be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (driving while suspended), a criminal offense.

Moving Violations

A moving violation occurs when a vehicle is in motion and breaks a traffic law. Speeding, running a stop sign or red light, and driving while intoxicated are all moving violations. A non-moving violation, on the other hand, is usually associated with parking or malfunctioning equipment.

Penalty For Junior Drivers

If you are convicted of one serious traffic violation or two other traffic violations, your junior permit or license will be suspended for 60 days. A serious traffic violation is punishable by three or more points. If 1 serious or 2 other traffic violations occur within 6 months of a suspension being lifted, your junior's permit or license will be revoked.

No-Point Violations in New York

The following offenses will not result in any points being added to your driving record:
  • Violation of the bicycle law.
  • Violation of the pedestrian code.
  • There was a parking violation.
  • Any violation involving the operation of an unregistered, unlicensed, or uninsured vehicle.
  • Any violation involving motor vehicle inspection, vehicle weights or dimensions, or vehicle equipment that isn't related to inadequate service brakes.
  • Any violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law or any local law relating to a business or the sale of goods.
  • In Suffolk County, between exits 49 and 57 of the Long Island Expressway, a violation related to the improper use of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes.
  • Any other infraction that is not related to the operation of a vehicle.

Responding To Your Driving Ticket

Unless you have been instructed to appear in court or respond directly to the court, you must respond to a ticket within thirty (30) days of the date of issuance shown on the front of the ticket/citation. If you do not receive a response within thirty (30) days, you must:
  • Default Status will be applied to the ticket/citation.
  • To the original fine amount owed, a $50.00 administrative fee will be added; and
  • Failure to comply with or properly respond to the ticket/citation may result in the suspension of operating and registration privileges, with additional fees required to reinstate privileges.

Filing Your Plea

It would be best to decide how you will plead after you have recovered from the initial shock of receiving a New York traffic ticket. There are two options for you: guilty or not guilty. If you received a speeding ticket and know you were driving faster than the posted speed limit, you can enter a guilty plea and pay your fine. Depending on where you live, speeding tickets are considered non-criminal violations in New York. They are handled by your local city courts or the Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau. Criminal offenses, such as driving while intoxicated or recklessly, are dealt with in the criminal courts.

Guilty Plea

Paying a traffic ticket in New York is admitting guilt. This translates to:
  • You're giving up your right to go to court to contest the traffic ticket.
  • Your car insurance rates may rise as a result of the traffic violation.
If you plead guilty, you'll have to pay a fine, and your conviction will be recorded on your New York driver's record. In some cases, you can submit your plea by mail, in person, or even online. If you qualify, you may be able to take a Point and Insurance Reduction Program course to lower your driving record and avoid an increase in your insurance rates.

Point and Insurance Reduction Program

The PIRP course neither eliminates nor reduces the requirement to pay the Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. You can refresh your driving skills by taking a DMV-approved course online or in a traditional classroom. The following is a list of course sponsors who have been approved.
  • You may be eligible to have up to four points removed from your driving record.
  • The course must be completed in a minimum of 5 hours.
  • You will receive a minimum 10% reduction in the base rate of your vehicle liability insurance premiums each year for the next three years if you are the registered owner of a motor vehicle.
  • You'll have to pay additional course fees.

Not Guilty Plea

If you want to fight a traffic ticket in New York, you'll enter a not guilty plea and argue your case in court. Hiring an attorney to represent you is the best way to do it. You will not be responsible for any fines or penalties if you successfully argue your case and the court dismisses your ticket. Unfortunately, you will still be responsible for court costs and attorney fees if you lose. You can avoid fines, license suspension, and higher insurance premiums by fighting your traffic ticket. In that fight, a traffic ticket lawyer is a valuable asset. In most cases, you can count on an attorney to
  • Take care of all the paperwork.
  • Represent you in court
  • Negotiate a dismissal or reduction of your charges with the prosecutor.