Note: You can find a listing of TVB offices here.
If you received a traffic ticket (non-criminal) in the boros of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or Rochester, your case will be handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB).
The main limitation of being in the TVB is that negotiating a reduction of your ticket (“plea bargaining”) is not permitted in these administrative courts and assuming you plead “not guilty” and take your case to trial, the only two possible outcomes are either (1) guilty, in which case you receive points and a fine; or (2) not guilty, and that means the ticket will be dismissed with no points or fines. This “all or nothing” system is what prompts many people to hire an experienced trial attorney (see below).
Plea Options for Traffic Violations Bureau Cases
You have three options when responding to a TVB ticket.
(1) plead not guilty – your case will be scheduled for trial
(2) plead guilty – you will receive a fine, points, and license suspension, if applicable
(3) plead guilty with an explanation – contrary to popular belief, if you plead guilty the judge will not be able to find you “not guilty” based on your written explanation. The only way you can be found “not guilty” is if you are acquitted at trial. However, the judge may choose to mitigate the fine amount based on your explanation (but this is uncommon).
TVB – Default Conviction
If you fail to answer your ticket the court may find you guilty by default. Failing to pay any fines associated with the conviction may also result in a suspension of your privilege to drive. An additional $70 STF (Suspension Termination Fee) will be required to lift the suspension. Make sure that the address on the ticket matched the address on your license. Failure to update you address with DMV is not an excuse for failing to answer the ticket.
A default conviction is as harmful as pleading guilty initially. We will ensure that you are given your legal right to a proper defense and have your day in Court.
Missed Court Date / Rescheduling a TVB Case
If you missed your court date or unable to appear on the scheduled date you may be required to post a $40 bond per ticket to reschedule you trial. These bonds must be paid in person (not online) at any TVB. At the completion of your trial you will receive the bond money back if you are found not guilty or the bond will be applied toward any fines you owe if you are found guilty.
The choice to retain an attorney from our Firm will give you the confidence that you never have to worry about missing another court date. Our experience helps guide our decision making when deciding the cost/benefit of rescheduling. Often times rescheduling will set your case before a different Judge, each with their own standard of evaluation. Our daily exposure to the TVB court system has provided us with gainful insight that we employ to provide you with the most competent legal representation.
Required Appearances at TVB: Certain traffic violations require your appearance even if you intend on pleading guilty. You OR your Attorney must appear if:
- your license is currently suspended or revoked
- a conviction of the current offense would cause a license suspension or revocation
- the ticket is 11 or more points
- the speeding ticket is in excess of +30mph
- a conviction would result in you being labeled a “persistent violator”
- you have a junior license, restricted license or conditional license
Upon signing a waiver provided by our firm, you will no longer need to appear in Court. Just because you receive a ticket doesn’t mean that you have to be severely inconvenienced for the next 18 months. Our flat fee covers as many court appearances as necessary until your case is resolved. Stop worrying about rescheduling work, finding babysitters or cancelling vacations. You can be confident that the Rosenblum Law Firm is handling your matter competently.
The TVB Trial
You can represent yourself at a trial (“pro-se”) or retain an attorney to act on your behalf. Attorneys are not appointed by the Court. Unlike most other Courts in New York, you are not entitled to a supporting deposition (officer’s notes) prior to the trial. Typically, this deposition would provide the motorist with additional information relating to the traffic stop and alleged offense prior to the trial. The officer will be given the opportunity to present their case against you in the hopes of providing “clear and convincing proof” that you are guilty of the alleged offense. This is a much lower threshold than the typical “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. The officer is also permitted to reference their notes while testifying against you.
Before the trial starts we have the opportunity to examine the ticket and any notes the police officer wrote – it is at that time that we may discover defects or inconsistencies that may be the basis for a dismissal.
Next, the police officer will be given a chance to present his case. This requires that he prove each and every element of the offense charged. So for example, if the officer has accused you of speeding, he has to explain how he measured your speed as well as the applicable speed limit, among other factors.
Questioning the officer or “cross examination” is permitted at trial. This is often the most effective method of getting a ticket dismissed. But knowing when to ask and how to ask the questions is not easily accomplished without significant trial experience. Trials move along quite rapidly and the ability to “think on your feet” is a skill that every trial lawyer needs to learn. We are extensively trained at the careful art of cross examination. Our legal expertise provides our attorneys with the ability to ask the right questions, look for proper grounds for a dismissal and find loopholes in the officer’s testimony. Rather than focus on the actual guilt or innocence of the client, we focus our attention on dissecting the officer’s case. It now becomes the officer’s burden to convince the judge of your guilt. His/her testimony must be flawless in order for the judge to convict you of the offense. We are keen at knowing what to listen for regarding required testimony and ways officer’s often fail to meet their burden of proof. You need to be prepared to have the legal skill set to conduct a proper and logical arguments in order to win.
After the officer testifies, the person who received the ticket has the chance to offer any testimony or proof she might have. If you choose to testify, you can also be questioned based on your testimony. Note that admitting to having violated the law but offering excuses or explanations for doing so never works! Once you admit that you violated the law, it’s equivalent to pleading guilty and the judge has no choice but to find you guilty at that point.
After testimony and cross examination, the judge has a chance to ask any questions he or she may have. Each party will then have the opportunity to make a closing statement. The judge then makes a ruling of guilt or innocence, and sets the fines, penalties, and possible suspension of your driving privileges. Note that a judge can suspend your New York driving privileges even if you live out of state.
The legal system is not user-friendly – after all, lawyers exist as a profession for that reason! That said, it is best to hire someone who has the experience you need to give you the best shot in court. Our firm is prepared to handle your traffic matter from beginning to end providing you with the best legal representation possible. Achieving results is our number one priority and our legal team is prepared to aggressively fight for your rights.
Appeals of a TVB Conviction
You have 30 days from the date of conviction to appeal your case. This is a written appeal with a $10 application fee per ticket. You can also request a “stay” of a suspension or conviction. If granted, the court will not suspend you pending the outcome of a case. However, this does not excuse your obligation to pay any fines or surcharges relating to the conviction. Those fees will be returned if the conviction is overturned. The Appeals Board can either overturn the conviction, uphold the conviction or grant you a new trial.
The decision to retain at attorney from The Rosenblum Law Firm is a decision you will not regret. Don’t wait until you’ve been found guilty to consider the benefits of arming yourself with an experienced trial attorney. Points and conviction on your driving record can have a long lasting impact on your ability to drive and insurance premiums.
Legal Representation at the TVB
Due to the legal structure of the TVB system, it is best to defend yourself with someone who has the experience and expertise handling traffic trials. We are highly trained cross examining officers and navigating the legal system to give you the best chance possible for a dismissal. Once you retain one of our attorneys you can simply sign a waiver provided by our office and your appearance will be excused. Our firm is prepared to handle your traffic matter from beginning to end providing you with the best legal representation possible. Our clients’ satisfaction is our number one priority. Our legal team is prepared to aggressively fight for your rights in a legal system that is often confusing and time consuming.
Please feel free to call for a free phone consultation so that we can discuss your legal options.