If you recently received a speeding ticket in New York you may want to re-consider pleading guilty. A plea of guilty may cost you thousands in insurance costs and assessment fees.
To put this in perspective, suppose you received a speeding ticket on New York State’s Thruway for 86 mph in a 65 mph zone. In New York, this is deemed a six point speed because of the 21 mph over the limit allegation. If you decide to plead guilty, not only will your insurance rates likely rise because of the conviction to a high speed, you will also face a $300 driver assessment fee from New York State. This is in addition to the Court-imposed fine.
New York’s driver responsibility assessment program began in 2004 as a way to penalize high risk drivers. Essentially, this “tax” amounts to a total penalty of $300 for the first six points in an 18 month period and $75 for the additional points. Therefore, if you are convicted of an eight point speed or if you are convicted of two four point speeds within an 18 month period you will have to pay a total assessment penalty of $450 because of the eight points. If you fail to pay the assessment fee, your privilege to drive in New York will be suspended. This is true even for out of state drivers.
Insurance costs, as mentioned, will also rise as well. Exactly how much depends upon the carrier, but many would estimate an increase of 30-50% over three years. For out of state drivers, the answer is a little more complex. New York, along with 45 other states, is involved in the interstate driver’s compact. As per this agreement, convictions are supposed to transfer back to the home state as if they occurred in the home state. Obviously, that makes it much more likely that your insurance carrier will find out about your conviction and raise your rates.
In many Courts if you plead not guilty you will be given the option of appearing in Court and “plea-bargaining” with the prosecuting attorney. Often times, the prosecuting attorney will offer a plea to a non-moving violation with lower points that protects your insurance and negates you from having to pay a driver assessment penalty. Based upon the high ramifications of a conviction to a speeding ticket you may want to consider doing that.
If you do not want to appear in Court or are unable to do so, hiring a traffic attorney may be your best option. Generally, hiring an attorney will alleviate you having to appear in Court as the attorney can usually appear on your behalf. Although prices for a traffic attorney will vary, generally the option of having the attorney appear on your behalf would be much more cost effective than pleading guilty and dealing with the after effects. The attorney should be able to negotiate a reduction that protects your insurance and lowers the points. A knowledgeable traffic attorney is familiar with the different violations and their potential to affect insurance or show up in other states.