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Bill_Lumbergh's avatar

Advice on how to reduce points/violation in court for a NYS cell phone ticket?

Asked by Bill_Lumbergh (1468points) February 10th, 2014

My wife received a NYS violation (ticket) for using a cell phone while driving a few months back. She pleaded “not guilty” during her first appearance, and they gave her a follow-up court date. We are desperately trying to find a way to reduce the points/violation of this ticket, as it carries a 5-point increase (New York) to her license! We would prefer not to hire legal counsel for traffic court, as I’m sure the lawyer’s fee would greatly exceed the fine for this violation. I am looking for serious advice for my wife on what she can possibly do to reduce the points/violation during her court date.

Additional info: She already has 8 points on her license, but took a defensive driving course over the holidays to reduce the points. She’s not originally from New York, moved to NY four years ago, and lived in a state that allowed the use of cell phones while driving. Recently purchased a wireless Bluetooth headset, to use while driving in NY – she plans to bring it to court to show she is now using it.

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6 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Do not assume that legal council with greatly increase the costs.

In the state of Missouri I had numerous moving violations reduced to equipment violations, completely avoiding all points. I think the fine was less, too, leading me to only be out-of pocket an additional $25–75 each offense. Well worth it given the impact on insurance.

NYS may not be the same, I just saying that you need to at least check into it.

seekingwolf's avatar

Haha, I got one of these tickets…fortunately, I only got a few points because it was before Cuomo increased it to 5.

Okay, here’s my question, her 8 pts on her license now, are you accounting for the point reduction that comes from doing the defensive driving course? Because doing the course removes 4 pts from your license. This is useful because in NY, if you rack up 11 or more points on your license (points fall off and no longer count toward this total after 18 months) then you can get your license suspended for a while.

Currently, in NY, showing up the court does not reduce the sentence. If you are caught speeding, you should always show up in court because doing so automatically makes it a minor “moving violation” and not a speeding violation. Unless you were doing something like 20+ mph over the limit.
But the cell phone violation doesn’t work that way. When Cuomo made the penalty harsher, he made it so you specifically cannot plead the charge down. That’s what I was told by a judge.

jca's avatar

It may be worth the $500 you’ll spend on a lawyer because remember, it’s not the the penalty you’ll be saving on but the increased insurance costs over the next few years. If the points are reduced or better yet, if you’re found not guilty, that will easily justify the lawyer’s fee.

Cupcake's avatar

Our DA in this county (in NY) will not accept plea bargains. It is at the discretion of the judge whether the charges get dropped, but that almost never happens (and not if the ticketing officer shows up to court). They are working on a course that would lower your points, but have not decided on what the point reduction would be for participants.

It doesn’t even matter if you can prove you weren’t talking or texting on your phone at the time of the ticket. What matters is that your phone was out and that the officer can swear that they saw you holding it.

Good luck. Maybe you can get a free consultation with an attorney.

Bill_Lumbergh's avatar

@seekingwolf – The 8 points will be reduced to 4 once the defensive driving certificate is finalize with the NYS DMV. The worst part about all of this is, if the points are not reduced, it will put her total to 9 points on her license, which unfortunately puts her over the allowed coverage for insurance coverage through her employer. He job sometimes requires her to drive a company car, and once they discover her points have exceeded the allowable limit for company car insurance coverage, I’m afraid they will let her go! (I pray this does not happen)

jca's avatar

@Bill_Lumbergh: Can you update us on what the verdict was?

Thank you.
The Update Lady

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