Information regarding whether or not you should just send your guilty plea in through the mail after receiving a traffic ticket.
Should I just plead guilty through the mail? How bad can it be?
This is a common question I get, and here is my short answer, well sort of.... It is almost never a good idea to simply plead guilty to your traffic ticket through the mail. Many people think they are saving time and headache by just mailing in their ticket. It saves you a trip to court, you just pay a fine, and put that unpleasant memory of being pulled over behind you, doesn't it? Unfortunately by doing so, you might be laying the foundation for future problems. First of all, in New York State, you almost always can obtain some sort of reduction if you are facing a point bearing ticket. We have negotiated hundreds of reductions for clients throughout the state. Did you know that a 6 point ticket is considered a serious traffic offense by DMV? With 6-points on your license, you will face civil penalties through DMV for 3 years. You will have to pay DMV at least $100 per year (on 6 points) each year for 3 years to keep your driving privileges. Also, your insurance rates can go up. You might also be subject to a revocation of your driving privileges (potentially for life) if you accumulate a combination DWI and speeding ticket convictions. A lawyer can help you determine what the true consequences of a guilty plea might be and help obtain a better deal for you, potentially saving you time, points and money.
So when is it OK to just plead guilty through the mail?
Well, if you insist on just throwing in the towel on your ticket, there are some circumstances when it is OK. Sometimes when a police officer pulls you over for speeding, they might charge you with something other than the speed you were going. Speeding is usually charged under VTL 1180b, however the officer might write you for VTL 1110(a) (failure to obey a traffic control device, a 2-point non-moving violation) or 1201(a) (parking in a roadway, a non-point bearing traffic ticket). These sort of tickets are considered "roadside reductions" and are a signal to the prosecutor and court that the cop was giving you a break. Most prosecutors are not inclined to further reduce your ticket beyond what the officer did for you, so pleading guilty might make sense. Police Officers can also write tickets up to a year after the incident, so challenging a roadside reduction might result in the police officer coming back and writing you for the original speed. Whatever you decide, it might be worth a phone consultation before you make your decision. Traffic tickets can turn in to complicated problems if not handled correctly and in a timely manner.
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