Traffic Court in New York: To appear or not to appear

What is Traffic Court?

What is usually called a traffic court is actually the Traffic Violations Bureau.  It is an administrative office that handles cases where the driver disputes the issuance of a ticket to him by the apprehending police officer.  The hearing officer is an administrative judge who can dismiss a ticket or lower a penalty imposed by the police officer on the ticket issued to the driver.

When can a driver appear before a traffic court?

When a driver is issued a traffic violation ticket by a police officer who pulled him over, the ticket will usually show the specific traffic violation committed by the driver, the fine imposed upon the violation, and, if the ticket is returnable to the Traffic Violations Bureau, it will show the time and date on which the driver can appear before the Traffic Violations Bureau.

This court schedule is actually a summons or an order of the traffic court for the driver to appear before it.  However, the driver has three options: he can disregard the summons and just pay the fine; or, he can appear before the court and submit evidence to prove circumstances that may serve to lower the amount of the fine imposed upon him; or, the driver can appear before the traffic court and dispute the issuance of the ticket. When the driver chooses to appear before the court either to plead down the penalty imposed on the ticket or to dispute the issuance of the ticket, the driver can represent himself or, he can ask to be represented by a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney.

What happens when a driver disputes the issuance of a traffic ticket?

When a driver disputes the issuance to him of a traffic ticket, he is actually saying that the police officer made a mistake in issuing him the ticket because he did not commit the traffic violation. When this happens, the police officer who issued the ticket will appear before the Traffic Violations Bureau.  He will testify before the administrative judge and give him an account of what happened and why he issued the ticket to the driver.

The driver can then ask the police officer questions to test whether his recollection was correct.  He can scrutinize the evidence relied upon by the police. To do this, the driver can ask for the camera footage (if any was taken) to be shown to the judge. He can ask the police office to produce his notes. If the police officer called in the traffic violation or if the police officer was alerted to the traffic violation by an emergency call, the emergency call may be played.

The objective of the driver is to find discrepancies and inconsistencies between the evidence and the police officer’s testimony in court. The driver’s secondary objective is to present evidence in his defense. He can show that another car was at fault and he was pulled over by mistake.  He can also show that the traffic violation he was charged with was inappropriate for the act committed by him.

Effects of appearing in traffic court

If the driver succeeds in disputing the issuance of a ticket, then the judge can dismiss the traffic violation charge against you and void the ticket.  However, if he fails to convince the traffic court that the police officer made a mistake, the traffic court has the power to impose the highest penalty provided by law.  Appearing in court to dispute a ticket is a gamble and you can increase your chance of success by ensuring that you are represented by a competent and experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney.

Maxwell Law Firm handles traffic ticket, speeding, red light, reckless driving, seatbelt, stop sign violations. If you have received a speeding ticket in New York, Brooklyn/Kings, Queens, and Nassau Counties you may contact Maxwell Law Firm, PLLC by submitting a request for a quote on our traffic intake form or by calling 718-701-0095.