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.