Speeding tickets in New York are unique in the fact that no fine amount is listed on the ticket. Most other states or provinces list a fine amount that would be payable if the driver wishes to plead guilty to the speeding or traffic ticket. The ticket will instead list a court where the ticket is returnable along with an option of pleading “guilty” or “not guilty.”
It defies logic to plead guilty to a ticket with an unknown fine amount. I get several calls from people asking me that same question and who therefore want to know the fine if they plead guilty. With that being said, I also get quite a few calls from people who already pled guilty and were surprised at how high the fine was set by the court. Below I will outline the potential fines for speeding tickets in New York along with the other costs directly related to the speeding ticket.
Judges have some discretion when setting the fine amount for speeding tickets in New York and the amount varies for the alleged speed. Note that a conviction for a speeding ticket in New York also carries a mandatory state surcharge and I will include that in the analysis below. As of 2013 the surcharge on speeding tickets was $93 per ticket ($88 in City Courts).
For a speeding ticket of 1-10 MPH over the speed limit the minimum fine and surcharge is $138 and the maximum fine and surcharge is $243.
For a speeding ticket of 11-30 MPH over the speed limit the minimum fine and surcharge is $183 and the maximum is $393.
For a ticket of more than 31 mph over the limit the minimum fine and surcharge is $273 and the maximum fine and surcharge is $693
Again note the exact fine amount is in the discretion of the Acting Judge of the Court where the ticket was issued. Also note that the fine payable to the court is increased if you have prior convictions within 18 months and the fine structure is much higher for both work and school zone speeding tickets.
In 2004 New York enacted the “Driver Responsibility Assessment Program” that enacted a mandatory penalty to drivers in NY with six or more points within 18 months. On the tickets that are generally issued by New York State Troopers there is language on the ticket stating “Conviction may subject you to a mandatory surcharge and/or Driver Responsibility Assessment as prescribed by law.” This language is usually in very fine print near the bottom of the ticket so it is understandable that most drivers are not aware of the penalty.
This driver assessment program applies to drivers who are convicted of six or more points (21 or more over the speed limit on any ticket) and also applies to drivers who have active points on their license and are convicted of a speeding ticket or other moving violation. This penalty is mandatory and there is no way around this penalty thus a driver will have to pay the penalty even if he or she completed a defensive driving program. This bill starting at $300 would usually come to the driver’s mailing address approximately three or four weeks after he or she was found guilty by the court.
The penalty starts at a mandatory $300 for the first six points and then goes up by $75 for each point within 18 months. Thus a driver convicted of 86 in a 65 zone (21 over the limit) would have to pay a $300 penalty in addition to the ticket. A driver convicted of 80 in a 65 with a past cell phone conviction within 18 months would also have to pay the penalty. If the driver does not pay the penalty NY would normally suspend his or her privilege to drive in NY and driver could thus be charged with a misdemeanor if pulled over while driving before this matter was cleared up.
Surprisingly, perhaps the biggest cost related to the ticket is the potential increase of car insurance premiums over the next three years for the driver. Most Insurers would run the policy of the driver every time the insurance is renewed which is usually ever six months. A conviction for a moving violation can lead to an insurance increase for three years. Each insurer has its own policies but even a 20% insurance rate increase (that is a fairly conservative estimate) on a policy of $2,000 per year would lead to an additional $1,200 out of pocket for the driver in increased insurance premiums alone. This is obviously in addition to the court fines and DMV fine.
Also note the NY would normally suspend a driver’s privilege to drive in NY if he had 11 or more points within 18 months or three or more speeding ticket convictions. Drivers who are convicted of speeding tickets during a restricted use license would also normally face a mandatory revocations period and that is usually 60 days.
If you received a speeding or traffic ticket, feel free to contact John for a free consultation. In most instances he will be able to work out a reduction on your ticket without you having to appear in Court with the idea to protect your driving record and insurance rates and save you on the fine amount.