Speeding Tickets in New York

What Is The Cost of A New York Speeding Ticket?

Fines: If convicted of speeding in New York the fines will range between $45 to $600. Specifically, it can cost from $45 and $150 for speeding 1 mph to 10 mph over the limit; $90 to $300 for speeding 11 mph to 30 mph over the limit; and from $180 and $300 for speeding 31+ mph over the limit.

Surcharges: New York automatically imposes an $88 or $93 surcharge (depending on whether the driver was in a city or town/village) in addition to the fine for the speeding ticket.

Points: The New York DMV will assess three points for speeding 1 to 10 mph over the limit; four points for speeding 11 to 20 mph over the limit; six points for speeding 21 to 30 mph over the limit; eight points for speeding 31 to 40 mph over the limit; and 11 points for speeding 41 mph or more over the limit.

Auto insurance premium increase: Insurance companies can increase drivers’ premiums based on the points assessed on their driving record. Rates can rise dramatically with just one speeding ticket. Numerous studies have found that a single traffic ticket can lead to up to a 20 percent increase in a driver’s auto insurance premium. This factor alone provides a significant incentive to fight every speeding ticket.

Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRA): Drivers who receive six or more points as a result of violations that occurred within an 18-month period will be subject to an additional fine known as the Driver Responsibility Assessment fee (DRA). This penalty costs $300. An additional $75 will be imposed for each point after the six-point mark. This fee is paid to DMV and is separate and in addition to the court fines associated with the ticket.

speeding ticket fines table

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Hiring an Attorney to Fight a NY Speeding Ticket

The combination of fines, surcharges, and insurance increases that result from a speeding ticket can cost hundreds of dollars. In most cases hiring a lawyer to reduce the charge will save money in the long run. For the vast majority of traffic violations in New York State, an attorney can reduce a speeding ticket to a non-moving violation such as a parking ticket or plea it down to a lesser-point ticket such as failure to obey a traffic control device (a two-point, non-speeding violation). Such reductions can lower or eliminate the impact on one’s driving record and auto insurance rates. While there are courts that will not reduce speeding tickets to a non-speeding offense, those are the exception and not the rule.

Additionally, once hired, a lawyer can take over the case. The driver can sit back and relax, letting him/her do all the work, including appear in court on the driver’s behalf.

Pros of Hiring An Attorney Vs. The Cons Of Pleading Guilty 

pro and cons of hiring traffic ticket lawyer

 

How To Read a New York Speeding Ticket

speeding ticket sections

  • Section 1 - The Defendant’s Information

    These boxes display numerous identifying data about the defendant including name, address and information about the car being driven at the time of the stop. Note: If the officer made a minor mistake in the section (e.g. the officer wrote down the wrong color of the car) the case will NOT be dismissed.

  • Section 2 – The Charges

    The “Section Sub Section” box indicates which section of the law the defendant is being accused of violating. Below is a list of common New York traffic violations as well as the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law sections they fall under, the amount of points (if any) and the maximum fines and NYS surcharges attached to them. It also lists the location and officer’s information.

  • Section 3 – The Court

    This particular Section shows the name of the court and its address, along with a date and time for a response, either by postal mail or in person.

  • Section 4 – Plea of Guilty

    Drivers choosing to plead “Guilty” to the charges should fill out this Section and mail it to the address of the court mentioned in Section 3.

    Important Note: Many people think that if they plea guilty “with an explanation” there is a possibility that the court will consider their explanation and decide to find them not guilty. This is a big misunderstanding. Anyone who fills out this portion of the ticket and mails it in will be convicted of the offense.

    The only way to challenge the charges or get the charges reduced is to plead “not guilty” (see next Section). It is also a common belief that a person should plead “Guilty” if he or she knows that he was, in fact, guilty. It is important to keep two things in mind: Entering an initial plea of “Not Guilty” does not mean that there is no going back. To the contrary, all it does is preserve the right to a plea bargain or trial. A person can always change his/her plea to “Guilty” later on, and in most cases where a plea bargain is offered, he/she will be pleading guilty at some point, but to a less severe offense than the one initially charged with.

  • Section 5 – Plea of Not Guilty (recommended)

    Those who choose to plead “Not Guilty” must fill out section 5. The “Not Guilty” section features a spot to request a supporting deposition. A supporting deposition is a written sworn statement detailing the traffic violation and it is signed by the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket. Remember, it is everyone’s Constitutional right to to plead “Not Guilty.” A person can always change the plea later on, and if an acceptable plea bargain is offered, then he/she will ultimately be pleading guilty to that reduced charge.

For more information, drivers should download the How to Read a Speeding Ticket PDF.

How a New York Speeding Ticket Impacts Out-of-State Drivers

It is a common misconception that drivers from other states can and should ignore a New York speeding ticket. The reality is that New York State can suspend someone’s right to drive within its borders for failing to respond to or pay a speeding ticket issued here. Likewise, a driver who pays a New York speeding ticket can still face the consequences of points, insurance increases and hefty fines associated with a conviction. New York will also inform the home state of a driver of any convictions, which means those convictions are very likely to end up on a person’s driving record.

How each state handles a New York speeding ticket varies. Here are some examples:

  • New Jersey – A driver licensed in the Garden State who is ticketed for speeding in New York faces two points on their license as a result of a conviction. These points are assessed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and does not increase with speed. The points do, however, count toward the total a NJ driver would need to face a suspended license. Read More
  • Connecticut – Drivers from Connecticut should be aware that New York does not allow drivers to plead nolo contendere (i.e. no contest) to speeding tickets. As such, the only way to avoid getting points for a New York speeding ticket is to get it dismissed or plea it down to a no-point violation. Read More
  • Pennsylvania – In the Keystone State, driving 1 to 5 mph over the limit is not considered speeding. However, in New York it is a three-point offense with a maximum fine of $150. Pennsylvania drivers will be happy to know that their home state will not assess points for out-of-state violations; however, their auto insurance companies may still raise their rates as though the violation occurred at home. Read More
  • Other states – Drivers licensed in any of the other 50 states and D.C. can find more information about New York speeding tickets by visiting our of out-of-state license page.
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How to Fight a New York Speeding Ticket

It is inadvisable that a driver attempt to fight a speeding ticket on their own. Most prosecutors, judges and even officers are adept at questioning individuals so as to extract information that can result in a conviction. Even a person who is truly honest and genuinely innocent can accidentally say something that can result in being convicted of a traffic offense. By contrast, a skilled and experienced traffic ticket attorney will know how to navigate such questions and present the driver’s case in the best possible light so as to mitigate or avoid a conviction.

Another reason drivers should consider hiring an attorney is that traffic court is nothing like criminal court. In most criminal cases, the prosecution must prove a defendant understood what they did was wrong (i.e. “actus reas”) or had deliberately intended to commit the crime (i.e. “mens rea”). However, this does not apply in traffic court, which operates under the rule of strict liability. Strict liability removes the mental state component from the equation. In other words, a driver can be convicted of speeding regardless of whether or not he/she knew they were exceeding the limit.

As such, a driver who insists they were not aware that the speed limit was only 55 mph on the New York Thruway will not get out of a ticket. All that matters is whether or not it can be proven the driver was speeding. Similarly, there are no legally permissible justifications for speeding.  For example, telling an officer that they really need to use the restroom, are having a baby, or any other excuse will is not likely to sway an officer or judge.

To understand the tactics needed and challenges faced in defeating a New York speeding ticket, one must turn to existing case law.

Case Law Analysis

New York case law reveals several crucial points to bear in mind as a driver.

First and foremost, a NY speeding ticket issued by a police officer who does not use a mechanical device like radar, and, instead estimates it will still be sufficient to convict a driver for speeding. (See People v. Olsen, 22 NY 2d 230.)

The court in Olsen explained its rationale by saying:

  • “The rule is well settled in this State that opinion evidence with regard to the speed of moving vehicles is admissible provided that the witness who testifies first shows some experience in observing the rate of speed of moving objects or some other satisfactory reason or basis for his opinion.” (See People v. Olsen, 22 NY 2d 230.)

Similarly, in People v. Dusing, the court summed up in one cogent statement a governing rule that applies to all drivers ticketed for speeding in New York. The court concluded,

  • “The sum of the combined Magri, Heyser and Marsellus holdings is: first, that a reading from an untested speedometer or radar device is admissible but is not[,] without more[,] sufficient for a speeding conviction; and, second, that the resulting deficiency in proof can be supplied by the testimony of qualified observers.” (See People v. Dusing, 5 NY 2d 126.)

It is worth noting that the Dusing court said “observers,” not “officers.” This means a police officer does not have to be the one to testify against the driver. In most cases, if the prosecution finds any “qualified observer” (e.g. another driver on the road who saw the defendant), that person combined with the radar evidence will be enough to convict a person of speeding.

Second of all, the fact that a speeding ticket is not a crime appears to cut both ways. Since speeding is usually not a crime, it does not carry with it the severity of most criminal penalties. However, since it is not usually a crime, “not all the constitutional protections normally afforded to criminal defendants need be applied to those charged with such a minor offense.” (See People v. Phinney, 22 NY 2d 288.)

Lastly, a driver might be in for a rude awakening if he expects to be able to compel the TVB to turn over pertinent documents to him. Although the TVB has the right to do so, New York law does not require it to do so.

In Matter of Miller v. Schwartz, an attorney requested certain documents and information regarding the type of radar that was used to pull over his client. The TVB denied the request and explained that traditional discovery rules do not apply in the TVB. The lawyer took the case to court to compel the TVB to give him the documents. However, the court sided with the TVB and denied the attorney’s request.

The Schwartz court based its conclusion on the well-settled rule that there is no general constitutional right to discovery in criminal cases or administrative proceedings (See Weatherford v Bursey, 429 US 545 and National Labor Relations Bd. v Interboro Contrs., 432 F.2d 854, cert. denied 402 US 915).

Ultimately, this ruling reveals how difficult it can be—even for an attorney—to navigate through the complicated TVB system. If nothing else, this case shows drivers who get TVB tickets the importance of hiring an experienced traffic ticket attorney familiar with the TVB’s rules and procedures.

How to Fight New York Speeding Tickets eBook

Drivers who would like a more comprehensive and informative guide to New York speeding tickets and the strategies lawyers use to defeat them should download the Rosenblum Law Firm’s How to Fight a New York Speeding Ticket eBook.

Common Questions About New York Speeding Tickets 

  • Does New York report speeding tickets to other states?

    Yes. New York participates in the Driver’s License Compact, an interstate agreement that allows most states to share information about speeding and other traffic convictions that occur in their state. An out-of-state driver who pays or is convicted in court of speeding in NY will most likely that conviction appear on their driving record.

  • How long does it take to get points off a license in NY?

    Points will remain on a driver’s license for as long as the conviction remains on the record (usually about three years). However, 18 months after the date of the violation, those points will no longer count toward the total number needed for a suspended license or Driver Responsibility Assessment.

    Contrary to popular belief, a DMV-approved driver safety course will NOT remove points assessed on a license. Instead, it will increase the threshold of points needed for a suspension by a maximum of four.

  • How much does New York insurance premiums go up for a speeding ticket?

    There is no one answer to this as it depends on so many factors, including past driving history, age, even the level of income and education. Some studies have found that a single speeding ticket can increase rates by 12 percent, but it is not unheard of for a ticket to cause increases of 30 percent.

  • What is the statute of limitations on an New York speeding ticket?

    Technically, the statute of limitations for a speeding ticket is satisfied the moment the ticket is issued. Driver’s should not be fooled into thinking they can ignore a New York speeding ticket hoping it will “expire.” Once a speeding ticket is handed to the driver, the clock is ticking for the driver to respond with a “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” plea. Failing to respond to a New York speeding ticket will result in an immediate suspension of one’s driver’s license.

Data on New York Speeding Tickets

New York State law enforcement agencies hand out an average of 700,000 speeding tickets each year. In 2016, the most recent year for which data was available, officers issued 712,370 speeding tickets to drivers, the most in the last eight years. Speeding usually makes up just shy of 20 percent of all traffic tickets issued in New York.

More than half of all New York speeding tickets are issued by State Troopers. In 2016, NYPD alone contributed more than 16 percent of all speeding tickets given out statewide, part of a gradual uptick which started in 2014 with the onset of the city’s Vision Zero initiative

Out of New York’s 62 counties, Erie County tags the most drivers for speeding (56,000). This second-most ticketed county is Westchester (44,000). New York State averages a conviction rate of about 93 percent, although almost 54 percent are convicted of a different charge than the one issued by the officer.