This is the answer to one question frequently asked about New York State law. For several more questions and answers provided by a New York law firm ready to help you, visit http://thegilbertlawoffice.com. To become represented by us, please fill out our intake form.
I've received a traffic ticket in New York. Should I plead guilty? Should I request a supporting deposition?
No, and maybe.
You will almost always receive a better resolution and a lower fine by pleading not guilty and going to traffic court or retaining us to go as your attorney. If you plead guilty, you may receive anywhere within the range of the offense you are charged for, and if the offensive requires the judge will be compelled to put points against your license and/or order you to undergo traffic school, which will very likely impact your auto insurance rates. If you plead not guilty, you will be compelled to go to traffic court or send us as your attorney, but the prosecutor will likely offer a favorable plea bargain to reduce the offense and cause either less (or no) points to be put on your license, avoid traffic school and any impact on your auto insurance, or you or your attorney may discover grounds sufficient to refuse the plea bargain and take the charge to trial.
A supporting deposition is a statement by the patrol officer who issued the ticket. You may demand one as a matter of right any time before thirty days after your arraignment (in traffic court, your first appearance or the time when you mail a not guilty plea to the court.) They often provide valuable information for trial—often the only witnesses are you and any passengers and the officer, and if details are off or inaccurate in the officer's statement, it places the officer's testimony and credibility in jeopardy, and thus increases the chances of your case being dismissed.
In certain situations, however, demanding the supporting deposition may not be worthwhile. If it is a jurisdiction where good plea bargains are readily available and you believe your case is weak or you have made damaging admissions to the patrol officer, requesting the deposition may annoy the prosecutor and officer and lead to a worse plea bargain being offered as a consequence. (Although this may seem unfair punishment for exercising a legal right, keep in mind prosecutors are human beings and legal rights often come with both legal responsibilities and consequences attached.)
We can help you decide whether to request a supporting deposition and represent you in your traffic infraction.
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