For most people, sooner or later they are bound to find themselves on the receiving end of a traffic ticket. Both drivers who are just beginning their experience behind the wheel and those with many years experience eventually find their way to traffic court. Not only is it inconvenient and potentially costly if you lose your case, but it’s also very time-consuming, often forcing a person to miss an entire workday in order to stand before a judge and plead their case. While most traffic tickets concern speeding or parking in the wrong place, there are others that deal with disobeying a traffic device. Specifically, a traffic device is also known as a stop sign, stop signal or other object on the road. While many people always believe they can’t beat a traffic ticket, the truth is they are very beatable if you know what to do before you set foot in the courtroom.
First of all, know your rights regarding how the case is decided. A traffic device violation ticket, also known as a VTL 1110A, is settled in an administrative traffic court hearing. The rules are set up to allow for a quick decision by the presiding judge, with a civil procedure code outlined by the DMV being used to set the guidelines. No plea bargaining is allowed, nor is a driver able to demand paperwork from the arresting officer regarding what went on prior to receiving the ticket.
However, the deck is not totally stacked against the driver. The burden of proof is still on the arresting officer, so they must make sure they’ve got their facts straight before trying to convict you. When you disobey a traffic device in New York, the police must have clear and convincing evidence that you committed the offense. In other words, they must convince the court that there is at least a 51% chance you did what they say you did. They must also state the prima facie elements of the case, meaning they’ve got to show any signs you allegedly ran through were free of graffiti or other markings at the time of the incident. They’ve also got to make clear the weather conditions at the time, if there were any traffic issues and if there were any extenuating circumstances that could have played a factor.
If you’ve decided to fight your ticket, your best bet is to hire an experienced traffic court attorney. These attorneys know what judges look for in these hearings, which police officers write the most tickets and which judges are the most lenient. A good attorney can usually make the case so difficult for the police and judge to prosecute that unless the violation is an obvious and potentially dangerous one, there is a good chance the charge will be dismissed. By hiring an attorney who knows the ins and outs of New York City traffic court, it’s possible to beat the rap in traffic court and get back behind the wheel very soon.