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What Happens When You Get a Traffic Ticket?

Police writing a ticket

Little feels worse than looking in your rearview mirror only to find those dreaded blue and red flashing lights behind you. The officer comes to the window and tells you that you just violated a traffic law and now you are stuck with a ticket. Though understandably upsetting, there are certain things that you can do to make the process less painful.

You Get Pulled Over

When you get pulled over in the state of New York for speeding or another traffic violation, the officer will first ask for your license, insurance, and registration. You should always maintain these three documents in your glove compartment or somewhere safe in your car so that you have them with you whenever you drive. If you fail to present them at the time you are pulled over, you can also face additional tickets. 

Traffic Tickets Given

There are two different types of traffic tickets that you may be pulled over for:

  1. Infraction: All basic New York traffic violations are generally considered to be infractions. 
  2. Misdemeanor: Those who commit a more serious driving offense can likely expect to receive a misdemeanor. This includes offenses such as DUI, excessive speeding, or driving on a suspended license. 

You are presented with the ticket that you will sign and date and receive a copy. This signature is not an admission of guilt, only that you agree to pay the listed fine and to appear in court. Keep your ticket copy in a safe place, as it has important information including your court date and citation number. 

If you have committed a crime, such as DUI, in which you are unfit to go back to driving your car, you could possibly be arrested then and your car may be impounded. 

Plea Options

There are three plea options in response to your ticket: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest to the traffic violation, you must send in the required fine and the copy of your citation to the court. Once received, the case will be closed and any points, as well as your citation, will make their way onto your driving record, where they will remain for 3 – 10 years depending upon the violation. It is possible to take a DMV-approved Point Insurance Reduction Program, which can help prevent you from having your license suspended or revoked should you accumulate more than 11 points on your driving record within an 18-month period. The course can allow for up to four points to be reduced from your record. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, it will remain on your record for up to four years. 

If you plead not guilty, you must go in front of a judge to plead your case or you must submit a written “trial by declaration” to the court. You may obtain counsel or choose to represent yourself. Though you must still pay your fine upfront, you may receive a reduced fine or even a refund if the court finds for you. 


There are a different number of points depending upon the traffic violation:


Speeding (1-10mph over limit) 3
Speeding (11-20 mph over limit) 4
Speeding (21-30 mph over limit) 6
Speeding (31-40 mph over limit) 8
Speeding (40+ mph over limit) 11
Reckless Driving 5
Failure to stop for a school bus 5
Tailgaiting 4
Private Car Inadequate Brakes 4
Employer Vehicle Inadequate Brakes 2
Failure to yield the right-of-way 3
Disobeying Traffic Control Signal 3
Railroad Crossing Violation 5
Improper Passing 3
Driving left of center, in the wrong direction 3
Leaving the scene of a property damage incident 3
Child safety restraint violation 3
Improper cell phone use 5
Texting 5
Other 2

Any points can cause your insurance premiums to increase, potentially costing you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more each year. 

The Lawyers at AutoTrafficTickets.com Help Those in New York Who Have Been Issued a Traffic Ticket

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal traffic violation, it is important that you act as quickly as possible to recall the specific details of the incident, which could help establish a defense for your case. At AutoTrafficTickets.com, we understand what is at stake and can help to reduce your fines, or even get your ticket dropped all together. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call the attorneys of AutoTrafficTickets.com today!

Posted in: Traffic Tickets