A following too closely ticket is issued for tailgating or driving too close to the vehicle in front of you, such that a sudden stop could cause an accident.
What is the TVB? All non-criminal traffic violation matters (i.e. moving violations) in New York City, the surrounding boroughs and Rochester are handled in Traffic Violations Bureaus (or "TVBs"). Examples of non-criminal moving violations are speeding; disobeying a traffic control device (e.g. no turn sign); improper passing; improper cell phone use and tailgating. TVBs do not oversee parking tickets. TVBs are operated by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and substantially differ from criminal courts. All proceedings are overseen by Administrative Law Judges (or "ALJs"), attorneys specializing in Vehicle and Traffic Law, and evidence otherwise considered hearsay in criminal court is admissible. How do I answer my ticket? You have two options when answering a traffic ticket: 1) plead "guilty"; or 2) plead "not guilty." In general, it is advisable to plead "not guilty" and challenge a traffic ticket at a TVB hearing over just pleading "guilty." This is because of the associated costs and insurance implications that accompany a traffic violation. Each traffic ticket has a point value assigned to it. For example: o Tailgating= 4 points o Improper Cell Phone Use= 5 points o Following Too Closely= 4 points o Disobeying Traffic Control Device= 3 points o Speeding Ticket= 3 to 11 points (depending on speed over) When you plead guilty, whatever number of points the violation is will be added to your driving record. Insurance companies look to your driving record when calculating auto insurance premiums. Consequently, the more points you have on your driving record, the higher your insurance premiums will be. In addition to higher insurance premium costs, each traffic ticket carries a fine and a mandatory surcharge. If you plead "not guilty," a hearing will be scheduled at the TVB in the county where the ticket was issued. You can hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing or you can represent yourself. The hearings are similar to mini trials in that the police officer will testify first and you will then have the opportunity to make your case. Can I argue for a better deal? TVB hearings differ from other traffic tribunals in that there is no plea bargaining. This means you are either found guilty or not guilty of the violation issued. There is no negotiating with a prosecutor.
What a Police Officer Does after an Accident When a police officer is called to the scene, he will try to determine the facts surrounding the accident, and if possible, determine who caused the accident. You may give your side of the story, but chose your words carefully. Saying things like "I'm sorry" or "it was my fault" could damage you. You also have the option to say nothing and only comply with handing the officer your license, registration and insurance. Regardless of what you say or don't say, the officer may still give you a ticket. The Types of Tickets a Police Officer will Issue The following list mentions different types of traffic tickets and the points they carry. Red light tickets issued by an officer are worth 3 points. Following too closely or tailgating is worth 4 points. Reckless driving is worth 5 points. Failure to yield right of way is worth 3 points. Failure to obey a stop sign or yield sign is 3 points. Improper passing or changing lane unsafely is worth 3 points. Driving in the wrong direction or left of center is worth 3 points. Leaving the scene of property damage incident (hit and run) is worth 3 points. Child safety restraint violation is worth 3 points. Improper cell phone use is worth 5 points and the use of a portable electronic device (texting) is 5 points. Speeding is worth 3-11 points depending on your how many miles per hour you drive over the speed limit. What Should I Do? Though there is a great deal of hassle associated with getting your car back on the road and sorting through the things that yourseIf you've received a traffic ticket, an experienced attorney could lower the points against your license or get rid of the charges altogether. Tickets after accidents have very serious ramifications and negatively impact your driving record as well as the cost of your insurance. Hiring an attorney can reduce the burden.
Drinking and Driving is NOT a DUI (or even a crime, for that matter) Drinking and driving may Florida's open container law, which is NOT a crime (it's a non-criminal traffic infraction), but it's not a DUI. However, it's not advisable behavior regardless, and may be used as evidence against you if you are arrested for DUI for other reasons. You Don't Have To Be Driving To Get a DUI (Yes, you read this right) Despite the title of Florida's DUI law as "Driving Under the Influence," you need not actually be driving at all to be arrested and convicted for it. That's right, simply being in or on the vehicle and having the capability to operate it counts just the same as driving. This is known as actual physical control or APC. So the old addage that you can sleep it off, fully reclined in your driver's seat, with the car lawfully parked and engine off may not save you from an arrest. Pretextual Stops By Police Are Permissible I can't tell you how many times my clients have explained in painstaking detail why they believe the police didn't pull them over because of a traffic infraction, but rather, because of their race, gender, ethnicity, or something else (i.e. flashy car). In the law, these are referred to as "pretextual" justifications. I usually get the same expression from those clients when I explain that, sadly, even when their suspicions are true (that is, the police officer had a pretextual reason for the stop), so long as a that officer also had either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that you committed a traffic infraction while driving, the stop was lawful. What are the odds anybody can drive on Florida's 120,000+ miles of road and not commit a single traffic infraction (e.g. speeding, no signal, following too closely, etc.). Even if the police did not have the best of intentions to stop you, if they have a legitimate reason, they can and will. The Magic Words: Slurred Speech; Red, Watery, Bloodshot Eyes; and Odor of Alcohol These magic observations, in addition to, let's say, speeding, are all a police offiicer needs to lawfully initiate a DUI investigation. They might also look to your inability or dealyed response to provide documentation upon request. What To Expect During a DUI Investigation You will likely be asked to perform 1-5 field sobreity exercises. Your performance on these akward exercises will likely determine whether the officer makes an arrest or not. After your arrest, Florida law permits the police to try and obtain a sample of your breath. This is referred to as Florida's Implied Consent Law. All 50 states have them, though.
Establishing Duty of Care for an Override or Underride Truck Crash The first part of proving liability requires determining the duty of care of the truck driver/trucking company. Commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard of care than are other drivers, and have an obligation to operate within federal and state standards. Usually, the duty of care is implied in truck accident claims. Breach of Duty of Care or Negligence The second component of proving liability is showing that the truck driver or trucking company breached the duty of care, known as acting negligently. Negligence on the part of either may include operating the vehicle while intoxicated or fatigued, violating hours of service requirements, or failing to inspect properly or maintain a large truck to federal/state standards. Negligence may also be less obvious, such as following too closely or speeding. Causation The third component of proving liability is proving causation. Essentially, causation is showing that the breach of duty (negligence) was the direct cause of the underride or override truck accident. Causation can be established using evidence from the crash scene, including the photographic evidence, physical damage, police reports, data from an electronic control module, witness testimony, and driver's logs. Damages The fourth and final part of proving liability is demonstrating that the negligence and causation led directly to the damages you've sustained. These damages may include: property damage of vehicle, injuries, lost wages, medical bills, disfigurement or loss of function, psychological injury, and more. To summarize, there are four parts of proving liability: establishing a duty of care, breach of the duty of care or negligence, causation, and damages. If all four components can be determined, then the party against whom a suit is being filed will be held liable. In Texas, all personal injury lawsuits must be filed in two years' time, so taking action as soon as you can is essential.
"I was going with the flow of traffic" is Not a Defense The most common defense I hear in court, virtually every day, is "I was only going with the flow of traffic." In law, this is not a defense at all. A speeding violation occurs when a driver exceeds a certain speed. it does not matter if other cars were speeding, it only matters if the driver cited was speeding. (The speed limit may be established for certain road conditions, or may be a statewide maximum speed, or may be posted speed, or may be a speed limit for the type of operation, e.g., pulling a trailer.) "I needed to go pee" is Not a Defense A real emergency may be a defense. However, "I had to go to the bathroom" is not a defense. One time I do recall a judge giving someone a break due to a pressing personal hygiene need. However, that did not relieve (no pun intended) the person of all liability; she just got a reduced fine. "I merged in the carpool lane to avoid an accident" is Not a Defense when You were Following too Closely A retired judge I used to see every other day in court used to say the same thing every time a defendant, or client, said that they had changed lanes into the carpool lane to avoid an accident. He would say, "I have been doing this 22 years, and only four times has someone had an excuse other than to avoid an accident for being in the carpool lane." He would then go on to explain that unless they had something else to say besides they were avoiding an accident, it was probably not going to help their case. The problem with a driver claiming he or she was avoiding an accident by making an illegal lane change-crossing over the double yellow lines into the carpool lane-is that the driving is essential admitting she violated the law to avoid a dangerous situation usually created by that driver from following the care ahead to closely. The DMV handbook is clear about the distances required to keep behind another vehicle. They even have calculations based on speed and distance needed to slow down. Unfortunately, if a driver keeps the distance that the DMV handbook states, that driver on the freeway will be constantly passed and cut in front of by other commuters. Reality does match the textbook. However, the textbook determines the violation.
NYC Traffic Tickets There are so many different traffic laws for New Yorkers to know that it's inevitable for drivers to slip up and receive a traffic ticket. Most moving violations in New York carry points, such as Failure to Yield (3 points) and Following Too Closely (4 points). While some tickets only carry 2 or 3 points, there are others that are more heavily penalized due to their severity. Speeding tickets range from 3 to 11 points, depending on the driver's speed, while cell phone tickets, reckless driving tickets, and passing a stopped school bus tickets each carry 5 points - these are the highest point tickets in New York besides high speeding tickets. If a driver accumulates 11 points on their driver's license within an 18 month period, their license may be suspended. In addition, 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about extra fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. The points can also cause insurance premiums to increase, which will cost drivers far more money beyond just the original traffic ticket fine. Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Tickets Over the past few years, New York has passed a number of tough traffic laws, such as penalizing the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices in an effort to combat distracted driving accidents. Cell phone tickets initially did not have points attached to them, but that changed in February 2011 when all cell phone tickets also came with 2 points. In June 2013, that penalty was increased to 5 points. This is because cell phone use while driving is a huge contributor to fatal accidents. State and local police often stage cell phone and distracted driving crackdowns multiple times a year in order to curb these dangerous habits and save lives. Vision Zero Vision Zero is Mayor de Blasio's policy to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York, which includes a reduction of the un-posted city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and increased targeting of Failure to Yield to Pedestrian violations. The amount of speeding tickets issued in NY has dramatically increased since the speed limit was lowered, and the amount of Failure to Yield tickets has increased by over 125% from the previous year. In addition, a Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian offense that results in death or serious injury has now become a misdemeanor offense as part of Vision Zero. Pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City are at their lowest point since 1910, so drivers can expect this policy to keep moving forward. Other Crackdowns New York law enforcement agencies often stage week-long or month-long crackdowns for different traffic offenses throughout the year. Just recently, state police participated in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, in which they targeted cell phone users but also gave out a large number of speeding tickets, seat belt tickets, and other moving violation tickets. Police also regularly engage in "Click It or Ticket" campaigns - while adult drivers and passengers do not receive points on a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, drivers can get 3 points on their license if any underage passengers are not securely buckled in. Police will also target commercial truck drivers whose trucks are over the allowed weight limit. These crackdowns are meant to increase safety awareness and help put a stop to dangerous driving practices, but traffic tickets issued during these periods can always be fought. How Can a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Help? NYC traffic tickets can be a heavy burden for drivers, whether it's due to the financial hardships they impose or the possibility of losing driving privileges. New York traffic ticket lawyers can often help clients by using their many years of experience navigating through the traffic court system to gain favorable outcomes. While no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed, drivers can at least be secure in the knowledge that they're entrusting their driving record to an experienced lawyer who can put forward a valid defense. In addition, traffic ticket attorneys can also save drivers valuable time by making court appearances without having their clients present.