If you are charged with a “Traffic Infraction” such as speeding, passing a school bus, red light violation, etc, you should not plead guilty but instead should hire an attorney skilled in defending such charges. The lawyers at the New York Law Firm of Tilem & Campbell have experience in fighting thousands of tickets. The Website is also a great resource to find out more about your ticket and your right. Tickets issued in New York City (Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), Rochester, Buffalo and parts of Brookhaven, Babylon, Islip, Huntington, Smithtown and Riverhead, in Suffolk County, your case will be handled by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau. If you received your ticket anywhere else in the State such as Westchester County, White Plains, New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon, Mamaroneck, Larchmont or other municipality, your ticket will be handled by the local criminal court. Below is a brief definition and explanation of a “Traffic Infraction”.

Traffic Infraction: A Traffic Infraction is any offense defined as a “traffic infraction” by VTL § 155. A “traffic infraction” is any violation of the VTL (except Articles 47 & 48) or of any ordinance, law, rule, regulation or order regulating traffic which are not misdemeanors or felonies. VTL § 155. Traffic infractions are not crimes and the punishment imposed for committing a traffic infractions shall not be deemed a penal or criminal punishment nor shall a conviction for a traffic infraction impair one’s credibility as a witness. Id.

A conviction for a New York traffic infraction can result in fines, the remote possibility of jail and points imposed under the New York State Point System.

Where “traffic infractions” are handled in local criminal court, for purposes of procedure and otherwise, they shall be deemed misdemeanors and, with some limited exceptions, all provisions of law applicable to misdemeanors are applicable to “traffic violations” except no jury trials are permitted. Id. The Court of Appeals has stated that prosecutions for “traffic infractions” in local criminal court are generally governed by the rules of criminal law. People v. Phinney, 22 N.Y.2d 288, 292 N.Y.S.2d 632, 239 N.E.2d 515 (1968).

Despite this very clear language establishing that the procedures and law pertaining to misdemeanors shall apply to “traffic infractions”, one does not have any statutory speedy trial rights when charged with a “traffic infraction”. People v. Solomon, 124 Misc.2d 33, 475 N.Y.S.2d 749 (1984).  However, constitutional speedy trial still applies and can result in dismissal of old traffic tickets.  Unlike statutory speedy trial constitutional speedy trial looks at the totality of the circumstances of the delay and does not depend on a specific number of days, weeks or months.

For the exact definition of “Traffic Infraction”, see NY VTL § 155.

What this means is that many legal “loop holes” exist that can be used to fight your traffic ticket. These loop holes can be used to get tickets dismissed but also used to obtain favorable plea bargains for drivers. The key is to have an experienced attorney, such as an experience New York Traffic Attorney from Tilem & Associates who knows the procedures and can best fight your ticket.

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