Saturday, October 29, 2005

Court Security

Saw this post on court security. This has been a hot topic since 9/11, and it's a load of baloney. Courthouses have no greater need for security than any other significant building. When inmates come to Court, they come with guards. Certain courts (especially courts dealing with family problems) had security issues before 9/11, and they were addressed already.

9/11 triggered a massive overreaction. Now every courthouse has guards at every door. One small county I practice in has six officers assigned to guard one door. The courthouse where I used to work, in Fulton County, New York, has extra security measures since 9/11. I've got friends from Albany who can't find the Fulton County courthouse. Osama isn't looking for semi-rural courthouses, and even if he was, he'd have trouble finding them.

Of course, experienced trial lawyers like me have a special sense enabling us to find courthouses. It's almost like a smell. Can't explain it, but I'm going so far off topic now I better stop this post.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Traffic Court -- Random chance

It's amazing how random results can be in traffic court. Yesterday I went to one court in the morning. This is a busy court in a large town in the area. My client had a ticket from a NYS Trooper. High speed, with another minor violation. The Trooper was somewhat difficult and I could not get as good a reduction as I hoped for.

Then, last night I went to another court. This was the least busy court I've ever seen. I was there for about 45 minutes (got there early and chatted with the judges, a deputy, and others). It's in a very small town in an outlying county. I got one of the best deals ever for this client. He had four different charges. Two were dismissed, and one of the remaining two was reduced. Went from about 7 points to 2, and the judge set the fines pretty low also.

That's life as a speeding ticket lawyer

Sunday, October 16, 2005

New blog -- Albany restaurant reviews

I just decided to create a new blog. It's Albany NY Restaurant Reviews, and it's here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Speeding tickets and out-of-state drivers - update

Following up on recent posts about out-of-state drivers and speeding tickets, I just got a new client with a NJ license. The driving record does indeed show a NY ticket. Below is how it appears:

********** Driving History **********

The record shows other violations in NJ. Interesting to note that, while it shows up as only 2 points, the description of 25+ over the limit also shows on the NJ driving record. I'm not sure if insurance companies can consider the nature of the out-of-state offense, or only the points, when they decide on your premiums.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

1110a - Traffic Violations

Note - If you're thinking about getting help, check out our New York Traffic Lawyer page.
Update (4/22/2009): A lot of people come to this post on a search for 1110a or something related to that. Section 1110(a) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law in NY says:
Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.
As of 4/22/09, it's 2 points in NY, and the max fine (including surcharge) is $235. It counts for 2 points in NJ, and may count for points in some other states.
Update (6/23/2007): We have seen an 1110(a) show up on a NJ driving record and it counted for two points. We now think that the best NY 2-point deal for a NJ driver and a NY ticket is V&T Law §1175 - obstructing an intersection. We have seen such a violation on NJ records and there were no points.
We get a lot of cases with speeding or other traffic tickets involving out-of-state drivers. A big concern is how the result here will affect their license in their home state.

This can be confusing, and there is no solid source of info for the various questions that come up. We're doing a research project now to get firmer answers, but I thought I'd mention some initial things.

We get most of our out-of-state clients from New Jersey and Massachusetts, and also from Quebec and Ontario, as well as other US states.

Interstate handling of traffic convictions is covered by "compacts". For a discussion of the compacts, see this link from the AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators).

New York participates in both the Drivers License Compact (DLC) and the NonResident Violator Compact (NRVC). New Jersey also participates in both. Massachusetts does not participate in the DLC. New York also has direct reciprocity with Ontario and Quebec, but not with any US states.

Under the DLC, NY is supposed to report traffic convictions to the DLC, and member states are notified of their drivers' convictions. Since Massachusetts is not a member of the DLC, it would seem that moving violations in New York will not affect a Massachusetts license - this is our initial conclusion but we're still looking into it.

Massachusetts is a member of the NRVC. That seems to be about suspending your home state license if you fail to comply with the process in the state where you got a ticket (i.e. if you ignore the ticket or fail to pay the fine, etc.). But that doesn't sound like they get "surcharged". But their drivers manual claims they get notified by other states. And if you do get surcharged, your rates sky. You can lose 6 good driver credits and get whacked with 2 surcharge points. Total of 8 points, which raises your rates by about 50%. Ouch! And it's not clear what you would plead down to that would be safe. It looks like you can get surcharged even for non-moving violations.

New Jersey is a member of both compacts, and assigns 2 points for any out-of-state moving violation. This has its own problems. As a lawyer I usually try to negotiate a reduction for my clients. A common reduction might be from a 6-point speed (21-30 mph over the limit) to an "1110(a)" - "failure to obey a traffic control device", which is 2 points. But if NJ assigns 2 points for all out-of-state moving violations, then I should never take the 1110a because I'm not getting anything for my client. I should push for a non-moving violation or else try the case.

Except, it's not clear if 1110a would be recognized as a moving violation under NJ Law. Another, better provision might be 375(3), which is failure to dim headlamps (not lowering your highbeams when facing oncoming traffic). There does not seem to be a provision of NJ law that assigns points to anything like this. It's a 2-point violation in NY, but maybe NJ would not assign points for it. We're researching that as well.

Ontario, by the way, does have a specific provision for failure to dim headlights. Curiously, they do not seem to assign points for speeding 1-15 kph over the limit (approximately 1-10 mph over the limit). So maybe it's better to plead down to low speed ticket (3 points in NY) than the headlights or 1110(a). Except that Ontario doesn't seem to have a close fit to 1110a either.

We're working on getting these answers, and will post a further update when we get there, and we'll probably add a page on our main traffic ticket site too.

Coincidentally, I don't think New York assigns any points for traffic convictions in other states. I've seen 100+ NY driving records and never seen an out-of-state conviction listed. I haven't even seen Ontario or Quebec convictions, and I think those are supposed to affect your license.

Another question that would need to be answered is whether an insurance company in State X can raise your rates for a traffic ticket in another state. I don't think NY Law would allow that, but maybe other states would allow it.