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Recently in Vehicle and Traffic Law FAQs Category

#11: You Wouldn't Go To A Veterinarian For A Physical ... Would You?

November 2, 2011

11 Post 2011-11-02 Depositphotos_1006077_XS.jpg
I didn't think so. Well, if that's the case, why the heck would you go to a police officer for legal advice? And whereas a veterinarian probably has an interest in referring you to a reputable physician, thinking you may remember him when it comes time for your dog's next check up, a police officer very often has a vested interest in NOT referring you to an attorney. Why? Because a docile, fearful motorist who is ignorant of his or her rights is much more likely to make the police officer's job that much easier - all to your distinct disadvantage. Besides, attorneys only complicate matters by protecting the rights of their clients by advising them so that they may be able to make timely and informed decisions at crucial junctures in their lives. And we couldn't have that now. Could we?

I bring this matter up in reference to my initial blog post concerning requesting supporting depositions of the police officer issuing the traffic ticket for a speeding violation. I've actually had several police officers - and some attorneys, if you can believe it - inform me that I am quite wrong about this. Um ... no. I am not wrong about this. And like a veterinarian commenting on your liver enzymes, such information should be taken with an extremely liberal dose of salt - and a large pair of boots.

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#1: I Just Got A Speeding Ticket In Upstate New York! NOW What Do I Do!?

September 28, 2011

Depositphotos_3109668_XS.jpgWell, if you're anything like me, you shout obscenities - preferably not while the police officer is present. But, once you've calmed down and the reality slowly sinks in about how a single speeding ticket can potentially affect your whole life (points, fines, surcharges, insurance rates, license, mobility, job, marriage), the first thing you SHOULD do ... is think like an attorney. Namely: how can I fight this?

If the police officer is one of the inquisitive types (and most are), he/she will ask you the most obvious of questions: "Do you know how fast you were going?" The impulse of the normal person is to answer the police officer's question candidly. And why not? Well, that would be a HUGE mistake. Why? Because if you admit to traveling over the speed limit - speeding - then I can guarantee you that your verbal admission will almost certainly appear in the Supporting Deposition. The best answer, in circumstances such as this is perhaps the least obvious: "I respectfully decline to answer any of your questions, officer." Ba-da-BING! However, most of us cower in front of people with badges and guns and we will say almost anything just to get out of that uncomfortable situation. Only much later will we wish we had the courage to give such a bold answer.

So, chances are good that you fell for the police officer's well-rehearsed maneuver, tricking you into making an admission, thereby sealing your fate. All appears lost. Just great. What do you do now?

We both know that the chances are good that you were probably speeding (c'mon, admit it!), given that Upstate New York is a very big piece of real estate and that the Greater Capital District Region is crisscrossed with such major arteries as the New York State Thruway, the Northway, the Taconic State Parkway, I-88, and Federal Routes 4, 9, and 20 (The Longest Road in the United States!), among many others. But the thought of having to pay all of that hard-earned money in a fine and a surcharge (which is often MORE than the fine itself, if you can believe it!) gets you angry. And it keeps you angry. And you begin to wonder what you can actually do about it, short of hiring an attorney.

Hmmmmm.

Well, lucky for you, the most effective way to fight a speeding ticket is also the easiest! You don't even need an attorney! All you have to do is follow ten (10) simple steps, outlined below.

In New York State, when a motorist is pulled over by a police officer for any kind of traffic offense, the police officer normally issues what is called a Uniform Traffic Ticket (UTT), most often simply called a "traffic ticket". This is a highly specific form, created by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV), to allow for uniformity in the administration of traffic offenses, most (but not all) of which are found within the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL).

While you were sitting nervously in your car, watching rubbernecking drivers slow down, realizing that you were now going to be MUCH later for your appointment than you already were, and wondering what was taking so long, the police officer was busy "running your information" on the computer in his police vehicle. This entailed entering information into the police vehicle computer from three (3) sources of information (which you had better have available!): your driver's license, your registration, and your insurance card. If you are lucky, all three (3) of these documents will be both up-to-date and, most importantly of all, valid. Otherwise, bad things will happen.

The police officer will then enter the appropriate information into the police vehicle computer for the traffic ticket to be printed out and handed over to you, the patient, embarrassed, and now much later motorist.

The traffic ticket should set forth all of your pertinent information, together with the traffic offense with which you have been charged, and the municipality where the traffic ticket is returnable (the court where you will have to appear). Often times, the police officer may NOT provide you with what is known as a Supporting Deposition.

And this is where things start to get interesting.

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