How long do points stay on a New York driving record?
Believe it or not, the points you get from receiving a NY traffic ticket will remain on your driving record (i.e. driver’s abstract) until January 1 of the fourth year following conviction. That means (depending on when you are convicted) the conviction and points could appear on your record for up to four years (however, see the Courts & Prosecutors exception, below)! For a list of the number of points assigned for speeding in NY click here. So long as a conviction is listed on your NY driving record, your insurance company will be able to see it and could increase your insurance rates as a result (see below).
How long do points count towards suspension in New York?
Points received for a New York traffic ticket are cumulative for 18 months based on the date of violation. This means that all of the points you accumulated from tickets received within an 18 month time span will count toward your license being suspended. This is also the same calculation for the Driver Responsibility Assessment, a special penalty levied against drivers who accumulate 6 points or more within an 18 month period.
For example, if you receive a 6 point ticket and then two months later you receive another 6 point ticket and ultimately plead guilty to or get convicted of both, your license will be suspended and you will receive a DRA penalty. (Remember, if you receive 11 or more points within 18 months, your NY driving privileges will be suspended.) Importantly, this suspension will happen regardless of when you are convicted because points are calculated as of the date you received the ticket. So contrary to popular belief, postponing your case for 18 months won’t help! On the other hand, if you received the second ticket more than 18 months after the first ticket, your license won’t be suspended (assuming you don’t get any other points in the interim) and you also won’t get a DRA penalty because the two tickets were received more than 18 months apart.
Enhanced Driving Records for Courts & Prosecutors
Lest you think that in four years you are in the clear – don’t look now. Even though your auto insurance company might not be able to access more than four years of driving history, prosecutors and judges can. For example, in the DWI context, your prior infractions might have been 10 years ago or more, and a court can take them into consideration. In some counties, prosecutors who are considering plea bargain options will order an enhanced driving record in order to dig deeper into a driver’s history before they make an offer. So pleading guilty to a ticket might not seem like a bad idea in the short term, but it might come back to haunt you many years later if you are facing a future ticket and asking a prosecutor to make you a favorable plea bargain or settlement offer. This is another good reason to fight a NY traffic ticket and try to keep it off your driving record.
Dirty Little Secret About Car Insurance Hikes
You might be thinking “who cares if points are on my record for four years if I am not going to get suspended?” The dirty little secret is that car insurance companies can still raise your insurance rates regardless.
Car insurance companies can raise your rates based on the convictions that appear on your driving record regardless of the number of points or whether or not those points led to suspension.
At the end of the day, your car insurance rates can go through the roof. Auto insurance rates are based on risk assessment. In other words, the greater the risk that you will get into a car accident, the higher they raise your premiums in an attempt to mitigate that risk. If you have various infractions on your record – speeding, cell phone, reckless, etc. – in their view you are a riskier driver and more likely to result in them having to pay out a claim that results from a car crash.
This is why it’s very important to fight most NY traffic violations – you want to prevent them from showing up on your driving record and exposing them to your auto insurance company which can then raise your insurance rates as a result.
The DMV Applies the Points, Not the Judge
When you are convicted of a traffic violation in New York State, the court will notify the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and they will place a record of the conviction on your driving record and assign the number of points to your driving record that are associated with that infraction. It is not the judge that decides the number of points on a discretionary basis. This subtle difference actually matters because many people think they can plead guilty “with an explanation.” They wrongly believe that the judge will have mercy on them and decide to reduce or eliminate the points even though they pled guilty. In reality, a judge cannot do this. A judge can only either accept a proposed reduction of the offense made by the prosecutor (if applicable) or find you either guilty or not guilty at trial. Once a court receives a guilty plea they have no choice but to transmit that to DMV and the points will be applied automatically.
Who Should You Contact for Help?
If you are looking to avoid the impact a NY traffic ticket can have on your driving record and insurance, make sure to contact The Rosenblum Law Firm. When you hire an experienced NY traffic ticket attorney, you are putting his or her many years of experience to work for you and that will help you get results. Call today: 1-888-883-5529.