Speeding Tickets in NYC
Speeding tickets may appear to be inevitable aggravations to everyday commuters. If you drive long enough, it seems, there’s no way to avoid the odd lapse in judgment or an accidental ascension over the speed limit. In fact, the DMV says that about 90% of drivers will receive at least one speeding ticket (or similar moving violation) over the course of their driving career. One speeding ticket every now and again may seem trivial, but when a driver begins accumulating many of them over a short period of time, these tickets transform from minor inconveniences into major problems. When the speeding tickets begin to pile up, so too do “points” on your license. We’ll go into further detail about the DMV’s point system below.
There are more consequences to face for habitual speeders. An overabundance of speeding tickets will also cause your insurance rates to skyrocket. Enough infractions, and an insurance company may even cancel your plan entirely.
These penalties may seem like ample reason for drivers to keep their speed under control, but. evidently, not even fines and suspensions are enough of a deterrent. Every day, approximately 112,000 people receive speeding tickets. That means that each year, on average, 1/5 of the population receives a speeding ticket, adding up to a mind-boggling 41 million tickets written annually!
The bad news for New Yorkers? New York ranks high on the list of most-frequently penalized states, earning the 3rd most driving citations nationally. Luckily, New Yorkers have a law firm they can turn to, a firm they can trust to handle all of their traffic-related cases. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, our committed team of attorneys knows the ins and outs of beating speeding tickets.
Should You Fight Your Ticket?
Despite the costs and penalties that come along with pleading guilty to speeding, only about 5% of drivers contest their tickets in traffic court. Many drivers who have been pulled over for speeding feel helpless and think there’s nothing they can do to avoid paying the full price of their fine. This is simply not true. There often are mitigating circumstances, and there are many outside factors that could lead to your ticket being diminished or dismissed.
There is also a substantial gray area between innocence and guilt — two absolutes that are difficult to prove definitively without concrete proof. Many judges can be swayed by convincing testimony. Oftentimes, a driver is able to continue driving safely even if the speed limit is slightly breached. Most judges understand this and will rule in your favor if general carefulness can be proved.
Sometimes, the view of a police officer was obstructed by roadside obstacles or inclement weather at the time of the incident. Other times, officers make mistakes when trying to determine which vehicle committed a particular violation. Amidst what is, at times, a blinding, rush of highway traffic, cops are liable to make mistakes, taking one red truck, say, for another. Some motorists are pulled over erroneously, their vehicle of choice mistaken for the actual culprit’s.
Moving violations such as reckless driving are more subjective in nature, and rely on the interpretation of the police or other officials. Experienced attorneys are adept at casting doubt on exactly these claims, and at Kaplan Lawyers PC, that is precisely what we offer to you: a team of attorneys with long and storied track records of successfully fighting speeding tickets by disputing the claims made by the officer in question.
If you are pulled over, we implore you to remain calm, respectful and courteous throughout the ticket-administration process. Kindness and understanding will go a long way should your case eventually go to court.
Breaking Down the DMV Point System
The point system works as follows: The faster you are caught speeding, the more points you’ll receive per ticket. If you’re caught driving 11 or fewer MPH over the speed limit you will receive three points on your license. Over 10 MPH and that point penalty jumps to 4. If you compile eleven points over a year-and-a-half’s time, your license will be suspended. If you accrue 6 points over this same 18-month time span, you’ll be required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. If you are caught going 40 or more MPH over a posted speed limit, or you engage in other dangerous and unlawful driving behavior, such as not stopping for a school bus, the point total could be even higher.
Here’s a complete breakdown of the New York State DMV point system, per the Department of Motor Vehicles website:
- 2-Point Offenses
- Driving with inadequate brakes in an employer’s vehicle
- Other assorted (less serious) moving violations
- 3-Point Offenses
- Driving less than 11 MPH over the speed limit
- Passing improperly
- Driving in the wrong direction
- Unsafely changing lanes
- Failing to observe and obey the following signs:
- Traffic Signal
- Committing railroad crossing violations
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to adhere to all seatbelt regulations
- Leaving the scene of an accident that has caused vehicular damage or injury to either a human or domesticated animal
- 4-Point Offenses
- Speeding between 11-20 MPH over the speed limit
- Following too closely
- Driving with inadequate brakes
- 5-Point Offenses
- Texting while driving, or other improper cell phone use
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Reckless driving
- More Serious Offenses
- Speeding between 21-30 MPH over the speed limit will result in a 6-point violation.
- Speeding between 31-40 MPH over the speed limit will result in an 8-point violation.
- Speeding in excess of 40 MPH over the speed limit will result in an 11-point violation, and consequently, the immediate suspension of your license.
Notice some of these violations, such as reckless driving, are more subjective in nature than the more straightforward offenses, like speeding, which are measured by radar guns.
We’d also like to point out to any of our readers who may have already received speeding tickets, that there are programs you can enroll in which help reduce the points on your license and work on reducing the costs of your insurance premiums.
The Reason for Speeding Tickets
Speeding tickets may seem like a universal evil. They are abhorred by mostly all, a source of communal dread that lurks in the collective subconscious of all drivers. But there are two sides to every story, as they say, and the truth is that there is actually a foundation of good intentions behind the existence of speeding tickets.
Disparagers will complain that tickets exist for one reason: to drum up funds for local police forces and pay for other governmental expenses. Police will counter by saying that all traffic enforcement has one common goal, to increase the overall safety for all who share the road. When it comes to speeding tickets, these two viewpoints overlap — because speeding tickets come along with financial penalties, it is impossible to separate the revenue-generating aspect from the concern for public safety.
However, there is some data that gives credence to the idea that the specter of possible traffic tickets does have a positive effect on motorists. Drivers who receive a speeding ticket exhibit measurably safer driving behaviors thereafter . . . for a time. During the few months following the receipt of a ticket, a driver is, on average, less likely to speed and 35% less likely to get into an accident.
These positive effects don’t last forever. Four months seems to be the threshold of human caution. After this time period, most drivers are liable to go back to their old ways. Some truly cynical ticket-haters have suggested that enforcing traffic violations do more evil than they do good, due to the number of people killed while evading arrest in high-speed pursuits. The figures simply don’t back up this claim. The total number of drivers, pedestrians and police officers killed during such pursuits is far outweighed by the projected figure of lives saved due to the enforcement of traffic violations. The existence of speeding tickets have been shown to decrease the average speed of drivers and thus decrease the likelihood of accidents.
The Introduction of Red-Light Cameras
Red-light cameras are a traffic enforcement tool used by local police forces and government bodies to catch drivers who run red lights. Since the early 1990s, many American states have employed the use of these systems in an attempt to reduce risky driving habits in motorists. Here’s how it works: A camera, mounted above or alongside the light itself, snaps photographs of an intersection as the traffic signal turns red. If a car or truck has tried to sneak through the red light instead of stopping before it, the camera will, if things go according to plan, capture a clear image of the vehicle’s license plate. The driver of the vehicle will then receive a ticket in the mail for a pre-designated amount, and will be forced to pay the fine or fight the ticket in court. These systems also reduce the level of human police forces necessary in a given area.
The Red-Light Robin Hood
Though red-light cameras are installed under the auspices of increasing safety, some believe their only purpose is to bilk money from responsible drivers whose only mistake was slightly mistiming a light. One such detractor is Long Island resident Stephen Ruth, who, upset with how the cameras operated, decided to go out and do something about it. Mr. Ruth believed that cars making legal right-on-red turns at certain Suffolk County lights were still being flagged and penalized by these red light camera systems. Citing the high ticket price for these errors ($80 per ticket, $105 if you’re hit with a late charge), Stephen Ruth felt unabashed about using a long stick to point cameras away from intersections, rendering them useless. He was so unabashed, in fact, that he posted a video of himself dismantling a camera on the internet. This video, which led police to his door, earned him an arrest on criminal tampering and obstruction of governmental administration charges.
Among the people, though, it also earned him a new nickname. Dubbed the “Red Light Robin Hood,” many drivers view his acts as maverick, and heroic. He’s sometimes recognized in the streets, where passers-by extol his virtues.
Not all, however, are in favor of Stephen Ruth’s ways. Some believe in the red-light camera’s ability to slow traffic down to a safer pace, and agree with the police viewpoint that a more sternly enforceable red light lowers the chance of accidents. The court of public opinion might have mixed feelings about Stephen Ruth’s actions, but most people still hate seeing a ticket arrive in the mail. Government agencies will point to data proving that intersections supervised by these cameras almost uniformly see a dip in vehicle collisions. Which brings us to the current impasse, with one side believing the cameras are nothing more than revenue generators for public coffers, the other trusting in these devices’ ability to decrease accident rates. Since drivers are, in general, uniformly against the idea of tickets, it’s hard to see a reconciliation between these two factions happening any time soon.
Contact Our NYC Traffic Ticket Attorneys
At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we know how important driving safely is, which is why we ask all of our clients to please drive responsibly. We stress the importance of staying alert, practicing safe habits, and keeping your eyes on the road. This means no talking on the cell phone, and especially no text messaging while driving. Your safety is what’s most important, and in a perfect world our readers would never have any run-ins with tickets at all.
We also know that tickets can’t always be avoided. We all make mistakes, and receiving a speeding ticket is a fairly common one. What’s important is that if you do receive a ticket, you solicit the help of a law firm with a deep and intimate understanding of how the New York State DMV and Traffic Violations Bureau works. We can help expose the flaws in your arresting officer’s protocol and question whether or not reasonable cause was exercised lawfully as it pertains to your case. Our attorneys have helped hundreds of people just like you overturn their speeding tickets, avoiding countless dollars in costly fines and the imposition of points that could affecting their licenses and insurability.
If you’re not sure whether or not you can beat your speeding ticket, your best bet is finding out. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we make that easy. Our consultations are 100% free. So if you’ve received a speeding ticket, or a moving violation, contact us today.