To request a Supporting Deposition or not in New York on a traffic ticket.
Many people ask me: Should I request the supporting deposition, when given the option to do so on a simplified traffic information? In the old days, and in some limited situations today, requesting a supporting deposition was sort of a tight rope. If the officer does not mail out the supporting deposition within 30 days of the court's receipt of the request, the ticket must be dismissed. However, the officer could re-issue the ticket within 1 year of the alleged violation, as long as the officer files a "long-form" ticket and the officer personally serves the defendant. Thus, a non-represented client in a traffic ticket case may not be advised to pursue the deposition route because, even if the court dismisses the ticket, the officer can reissue it on the spot to the motorist.
There is, however, a line of cases beginning with People v. Rosenfeld which held that it went against the "spirit" of the Criminal Proceedure law to allow the officer to re-issue the ticket. Nevertheless, often cops will do it anyway and the lower courts allow them to do it and then the motorist is left with the option of a costly appeal.
On the flip side, if the officer does provide the deposition, then he will likely be angry with the motorist becuase of the extra work he had to do on the case, and the deal offered will likely be less favorable.
Today, practically speaking the issue of the supporting deposition has largely fallen away due to new electronic tickets which by default, at least in regard to NY State Trooper speeding tickets, include the supporting deposition at the time of the issuance of the ticket to the motorist.
However, because my jurisdications have prosecutors who handle tickets, even thouse issued by local officers who don't always include the depositions, often times motorists and especially lawyers, can "get away" with getting dismissals on lack of supporting depositions because the officer who issued the ticket is often not there and is not ashamed and therefore will usually not attempt the "re-issue" of the summons, which can cause so many problems.
So, in the end it is a gamble, to request it or not, and a usually a non-represented client is poorly prepared for the flight which often ensues when attempting to make a motion to dismiss for failure to provide a supporting deposition; more and more courts, for example, are requiring written motions to dismiss which that alone can knock out a non-represented client's chances for dismissal on this basis.
Matisyahu Wolfberg, Esq.
NY Traffic and Criminal Attorney