As of now, Buffalo does not allow you to plea bargain your traffic tickets. That means if you get a Buffalo traffic ticket, you cannot negotiate with the prosecutor to get fewer points in exchange for paying a higher fine. You are forced to either plead guilty or not guilty.
However, all of that could be changing in the near future. The Albany legislature is currently debating the passage of a bill that would allow Buffalo drivers to plea bargain any traffic ticket they received while stopped in the city. If the bill passes, every traffic ticket you receive in Buffalo would be able to be contested and negotiated.
The following traffic infractions are examples of just a few of the violations that the new bill would cover:
According to David Rivera, a council member for the Buffalo Common Council, “Those are the same opportunities that other municipalities smaller than Buffalo [receive], why shouldn’t we have that same opportunity?”
Countless Buffalo drivers have been echoing this sentiment for years now. They are very excited for the opportunity to potentially end what they have been calling an antiquated and unfair system. Another added benefit of the proposed legislation is that driving school would become an option for drivers who commit serious traffic infractions. This could help drivers avoid an exorbitant increase in their car insurance while reducing the amount of points that may appear of their driving record. Most local Buffalo legislators are in support of the bill as well. They believe that the City would get to keep the revenue generated from the various fines City instead of it going directly to the State of New York.
State Senator Mark Grisanti revealed that, under the current system, Buffalo loses out on approximately $500,000 to $1 million worth of revenue from traffic fines every year due it all going to the state. Although local and even stage legislators are very much in favor of this bill, Governor Cuomo could turn out to be a big wild card. As of now, there is no telling whether he will sign it into law or not.
Ultimately, lawmakers and Buffalo drivers alike are hoping to have the legislation passed before the legislature officially goes on break.