Frequently Asked Questions:
Traffic Tickets: (this does not include Misdemeanor or Felony charges)
Q. What is a surcharge or court fee?
A. New York State Surcharges are mandated for every moving violation. This is what many people refer to as a “court fee”. However, the court has no discretion over the amount or application of the fee.
Q. What if I can’t make it to Court on the date the officer wrote on my ticket?
A. Call the court office Mon. – Thu. 8am to 4pm to speak with the Court Clerk about appearing on a new date.
Q. If I want to plead guilty to my traffic ticket what can I do? What are my choices?
A. 1)You can come to court on the date shown on your ticket and plead guilty before the judge at which time you will be told what your fine and surcharge are. 2) or you can mail your plea in to the court BEFORE you are due in court. All you do is fill out Section A on the right side of the ticket by signing your name and dating it, (you only need to write your address if it is different than shown on your ticket). The Judge will read your ticket information and review your driving record to determine the fine and surcharge. The court clerk will then mail you a “fine letter” with further instructions.
Q. What if I give my ticket to a lawyer to handle it, do I still have to come to court?
A. Your attorney will need to contact the court by phone or by letter to confirm they represent you BEFORE you are scheduled to appear. After you retain an attorney, you must direct any questions, or requests for new court dates through your attorney.
Q. My ticket is for a headlight/tail light that was out. The officer told me to get it fixed and the judge will dismiss it. Is that right?
A. Not exactly. When you receive a ticket for a non working light, you should also receive a “correction” form. If you have the problem corrected before sundown the following day, AND have the correction sheet is signed and dated by a mechanic verifying they fixed it, or by having a police officer sign your correction sheet, you then mail or bring it to the court office or to court with you. THEN the judge may dismiss the charge. The most important thing is that you have it fixed and signed PRIOR to SUNDOWN the next day.
Q. If I get a ticket for an past due inspection, and I take the car and get it inspected that same day, will the ticket automatically be dismissed?
A. No. Bring proof of inspection with you to court, or mail it with your plea but the judge cannot dismiss the ticket entirely. The Judge may take the fact that you were diligent about having your car inspected into consideration while assessing your fine, however, the judge has NO discretion about the surcharge. The surcharge is a mandatory fee assessed by the State of New York.