If you are detained for a traffic violation in Yonkers, your inclination may be to pay the ticket and put the problem behind you instead of fighting the charge. But not all violations are the same. With some, you can end up with points on your driver’s license and higher insurance rates. With others, you can end up with a criminal record. It is beneficial to work with an experienced law firm when this happens.
Traffic infractions and criminal traffic offenses have repercussions, with mounting points leading to license suspension and criminal offenses resulting in possible jail time. If you have been ticketed for any traffic law violation, a Yonkers traffic lawyer from StolzenbergCortelli, LLP can review your situation and explain your options.
Traffic infractions under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 155 are violations that do not amount to misdemeanors or felonies. Infractions include failure to signal or yield right of way, running a red light, failure to wear a seatbelt, and speeding. Infractions do not carry jail time, but points and fines are assessed upon conviction, and auto insurance premiums will increase.
A driver must usually respond to a ticket within 15 days of issuance; and can plead guilty and pay the fine prescribed by law, or plead not guilty and fight in court. Ignoring the ticket is not an option because their driving privileges will be suspended. Before making any decision, a person should contact StolzenbergCortelli, LLP and discuss the best course of action with a Yonkers traffic attorney.
Some driving violations are considered criminal acts in New York. Common traffic crimes that could result in misdemeanor or felony charges include:
Drivers charged with criminal traffic offenses must appear in court or else there will be a bench warrant for their arrest. A Yonkers traffic defense attorney from StolzenbergCortelli, LLP is familiar with the legal process after a criminal traffic arrest and should be consulted immediately.
The penalties for criminal traffic violations will vary depending on whether the accused has a history of violations, the specific circumstances of the violation, and how serious the offense is viewed under state law. For example, if a driver flees to elude a police officer but then stops, the charge could be a misdemeanor. But if the fleeing driver crashes into and kills a pedestrian, the criminal charge could rise to a felony with a punishment of seven years in prison.
Repeat offenders face longer jail time and higher fines the more they commit the same infraction, such as reckless driving. Drivers who rack up five DUIs face permanent revocation of their driver’s licenses. The stigma attached to a criminal record extends into the community, making it more challenging to get jobs, housing, and loans after a conviction.
Repeat offenders will accumulate points assigned to various traffic infractions, including criminal offenses, which are added to drivers’ records by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Over 18 months, drivers slapped with 11 or more points face license suspension. Drivers with at least six points must pay a driver responsibility assessment fee. A mitigation class can reduce up to four points from counting toward a license suspension.
Most people look at traffic tickets as annoying inconveniences and choose to pay them so they do not have to become further embroiled in the court process. But repeated infractions can impact your life in many negative ways, including fines and increased insurance rates. If the charges are criminal, you may carry a record that imperils your job, reputation, and housing choices.
Before you decide to pay a fine, admit guilt, or fight a traffic infraction before a judge, consider what an experienced advocate can do for you. The Yonkers traffic lawyers at StolzenbergCortelli, LLP could make the case to keep points off your record, lessen or dismiss charges, or explain why fines should be reduced. Contact our team today if you were recently ticketed or arrest while operating your vehicle.