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New York Speeding Ticket FAQ


Every case is different and there are no guarantees. Below are rough answers to some questions we hear frequently.

Q: Will I have to go to Court for my speeding ticket?

A: It depends. Without a lawyer you usually do have to appear in Court. In most courts, good lawyers can resolve your speeding ticket or other traffic charge without you having to go to Court. Criminal Procedure Law 340.50(2) allows for a lawyer to appear on your behalf, if the proper paperwork is taken care of. It is possible that the prosecution will object, but that is not common. There are a few courts in the area where you will have to attend, but that is rare.

Q: Do I need a lawyer for a speeding ticket?

A: No, but in many courts a lawyer will get you a better deal than you will get for yourself, with fewer points, a lower fine, less impact on your insurance, and less hassle.

Q: Will my insurance rates go up if I get a speeding ticket?

A: A speeding conviction or other moving violation will be reported on your New York State driving record. If you are insured in New York, points on your license can affect your insurance. It is possible that your insurance company won't find out, but the odds are that they will. The best way to keep your rates down is to get a good lawyer to negotiate to get you a reduction. Insurance Law 2335 discusses in detail what violations can be used by insurance companies to raise your rates. A good lawyer will consider those rules in resolving your ticket.

For out-of-state drivers, there is no simple answer. It is our understanding that New York State reports moving violations to the "Drivers License Compact", and that this can affect insurance rates for out-of-state drivers. It seems like this is applied inconsistently. In some cases the home state never finds out. We have seen cases where they do. NY tickets definitely can affect drivers in New Jersey, North Carolina, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, and we have also seen them affect Quebec and Ontario licenses.

For New York drivers who get out-of-state tickets, these generally will not affect you. The exception is tickets in Quebec and Ontario. However, it is always possible that your insurance company will find out, and if they do, your rates might go up. Under Insurance Law 2335, it should not affect you in New York, but that doesn't mean they won't try.

When good lawyers negotiate plea bargains, they minimize the impact on your insurance rates. For out-of-state drivers, a lawyer might seek a reduction to something that has points in New York but not in your state or province.

Q: Can we beat a speeding ticket or traffic charge?

A: Yes, but it may not be worth the money. The police often make mistakes and we can and do win traffic trials. The most common way you can beat a ticket is if the officer doesn't show up. That is very rare. The main reason you would fight a ticket is if you already have several points and you can't get a reduction that will save it. Also, if your job requires a clean license, it may be cost effective. In most cases your lawyer can negotiate a reasonable deal for you. This usually costs much less than doing a trial. You should discuss this with an experienced traffic lawyer.

Q: What do lawyers charge for a speeding ticket?

A: In upstate New York attorney fees are around $500 for most ordinary tickets. If it is a case that will go to trial, the fees would be higher, perhaps $1000 or more. Fees for tickets in New York City and downstate counties, and some other areas may be higher. Also, fees are typically higher if the case involves more serious charges.

Q: What is the point system?

A: When you get convicted of a moving violation the DMV records points on your New York license. All moving violations are at least two points. Most are three points or more. New York recently added a new surcharge of $100 per year for three years if you get six points, plus $25 per year for each additional point.

The following table shows the point values assigned to moving traffic violations. The "points" are assessed against your driving record based on the date you committed the violation, not the date you were convicted in court. If you accumulate 11 or more points in 18 months, you will be called to a DMV hearing, after which your license may be suspended or revoked. You will be offered the option of waiving the hearing or accepting a definite period of suspension.

Some license revocations and suspensions are mandatory and do not depend on points. These include three speeding violations within 18 months, and convictions involving alcohol or drugs.

Speeding (mph over posted limit)
1 to 10 3
11 to 20 4
21 to 30 6
31 to 40 8
More than 40 11
Reckless Driving 5
Failure to stop for a School Bus 5
Following too closely (tailgating) 4
Inadequate Brakes 4
(while driving employer's vehicle) 2
Failing to Yield Right-Of-Way 3
Violation Involving Traffic Signal, Stop Sign, or Yield Sign 3
Railroad Crossing Violation 3
Improper Passing or Lane Use 3
Leaving scene of an incident involving property damage or injury to an animal 3
Child safety restraint violation 3
Any other moving violation 2 
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