Traffic Tickets and the Best Defense
A common mistake is to look at a traffic ticket in New York and think,
all is lost, there can be no possible defense. Usually there are several
defenses to a traffic ticket and as any good
criminal defense attorney will tell you it all starts with the traffic ticket itself.
In New York State traffic tickets are written for any crime or violation
under the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). Tickets can be
written for moving violations such as speeding, non-moving violations,
equipment violations even DWI and DWAI Drugs. The traffic ticket is the
basis for a prosecution and it the starting point for the defense to the charge.
1. The Ticket (Simplified Traffic Information)
The Ticket is usually a half page document, yellow in color, that a police
officer would hand you on the side of the road. A State Trooper may provide
you with a full page ticket (white in color) but usually its the front
and the back of the “yellow” ticket on one page. The front
of the ticket outlines the charge while the back has instructions regarding
how to respond. The ticket is also known as a Simplified Traffic Information.
The sufficiency of a simplified traffic information is governed by the
criminal procedure law. Because the traffic ticket is the local court
accusatory instrument that provides the least amount of information. the
recipient is entitled as a matter of right, upon a timely request, to
a supporting deposition.
2. The Supporting Deposition
The supporting deposition is a document that explains the charge in greater
detail. The supporting deposition must be completed by the police officer
and must allege all of the elements of the offense. The statute provides
that the allegations may be made upon personal knowledge or upon information
and belief providing reasonable cause to believe that the driver committed
the offense charged.
3. Probable Cause
The ticket and supporting deposition together must provide probable cause
to believe that the traffic offense in questions was committed. A supporting
deposition that contains boxes checked off by the police officer is sufficient.
4. Time to request a Supporting Deposition from the Police
In some cases a driver will receive a supporting deposition from the police
with the traffic ticket, usually issued by the State Police, but in most
instances the police officer will only provide a traffic ticket without
a supporting deposition.
The request a supporting deposition must be made within 30 days of the
court appearance noted on the ticket. Where the charge is a misdemeanor
such as DWI or reckless driving the driver may request a deposition beyond
the 30 day period up to 90 days with permission of the court.
5. The Plea
Always plea NOT GUILTY to a traffic ticket. In most cases an experienced
criminal defense lawyer can get the charge dismissed or reduced. A guilty
plea is the same as if you went to trial and were found guilty by the
judge or jury. Your best option is to contact one of our experienced criminal
defense lawyers to aggressively attack the ticket and its contents even
before appearing in Court.
A plea can be entered in court on the date at the bottom of the ticket
or by a signed statement on the ticket by mail. When pleading not guilty
by mail, the plea must be sent by registered or certified or first-class
mail and within 48 hours of receiving the ticket . A driver may plea not
guilty by mail and request a supporting deposition. FAILURE to act in
a timely matter will cause a loss of the right to the supporting deposition.
6. Service of the Supporting Deposition
The deposition must be provided to the driver within 30 days of the court’s
receipt of the request for it OR 5 days before trial whichever comes first.
7. Failure to provide a Supporting Deposition
When the court orders the filing of a supporting deposition and the police
officer fails to comply in a timely manner the ticket is rendered insufficient
on its face and may result in a dismissal.
The above is one of the basic and best defenses to traffic tickets. Although
there are many defenses this requirment always remains at the core. It
is important to have a traffic ticket attorney since the police officer
may try to submit a late supporting deposition or other method to prevent
the case from being dismissed. Our traffic ticket attorneys are prepared
to protect your rights and provide you with the best possible criminal
defense either in a traffic ticket case,
DWI case or other criminal matter.
If you have questions regarding your criminal matter or traffic ticket case
call one of our attorneys for a free consultation.
The best defense is a strong understanding of the criminal procedure law
and how each court operates in New York State.