I Received a Traffic Ticket in Suffolk County/Nassau County, Long Island -What Do I Do?

What to do when you Receive a Traffic Ticket

Receiving a traffic ticket is never a pleasant experience.  In this article we outline the steps you must take and the options you have when you are charged with a traffic violation on Long Island, New York.

1st - Check your Ticket for Errors

  • Driver Name
  • Driver Motorist ID Number
  • Date and Time
  • Location
  • Vehicle Make, Model and Description
  • License Plate Number

2nd - Take Note of the Court you Must Appear In

Each Court follows different procedures.  As such, you must make yourself familiar with the procedure your Court follows:

  • Long Island Tickets, Westchester Tickets and Upstate New York Tickets can generally be plea bargained (negotiated)
  • Tickets received in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island cannot be plea bargained.  To fight a New York City ticket, you can only fight your traffic ticket at trial

3rd - Note the “Return” or “Appearance” Date

This is the date by which you must answer (plead guilty or not guilty).  Some tickets must be answered in as short as 48 hours. Please read all the information on your ticket so that you are not late answering your ticket.  In some courts, you need only “answer” (enter a guilty plea or not guilty plea) by the date listed on the summons.  In other courts, you must appear in Court on the “return date” listed on the summons.

What if I am late answering my ticket?  What if I miss my court date?

If you miss the return date, you are at risk guilty of the charge by default, the moving violation will be recorded on your driver’s abstract, you will receive all of the points and likely be assessed the maximum fine. Your license may also be suspended for your failure to answer timely.

If you are late answering a ticket, you should call a traffic lawyer immediately as we can often help you avoid or vacate the default judgment, restore your case to the court’s calendar and continue to fight your charges.

4th - Decide how to Plead to your Charges

  1. Plead Guilty (by mail or in person)
  2. Plead Not Guilty and Plea Bargain with the Prosecutor
  3. Plead Not Guilty and fight your case at Trial


- Each Option is Explained in Detail Below - 

Pleading Guilty / Paying the Fine

NEVER plead guilty or pay the fine for a moving violation without discussing it with an experienced attorney first.  Paying the fine before fighting your charge is the same as pleading guilty or being found guilty of the charge.

Before you decide to plead guilty to any traffic violation, you should seek the advice of an experienced traffic attorney who will advise you of the ramifications of a guilty plea and the chances of having the violation reduced or dismissed.   Some tickets do not require the services of a traffic lawyer (non-moving violations, equipment violtions, etc) and may be more cost effective to handle on your own. Feel free to call me 24/7 and I can tell you if it is more cost effective for you to handle your ticket on your own or if you will benefit from our services.

  • If you plead guilty/pay the fine you will likely receive the maximum fine amount instead of a reduced fine
  • The NY DMV assesses points for each Moving violation you receive:
    • If you accumulate 6 or more points in an 18-month period you will be assessed a Driver Responsibility Assessment by the New York DMV (which is in addition to the fine that you pay)
    • If you accumulate 11 points in an 18-month period your license will be suspended
    • Please feel free to refer to the points chart on our website.
  • Moving violations appear on your Driver’s Abstract for 3+ years (they stay on your record for the rest of the year in which you were convicted and 3 more years). When your insurance company sees this information it is likely they will increase your insurance rate

Although you can take a defensive driving course every 18 months to remove 4 points from your license, this does not remove the moving violation from your driving record which is what insurance companies use to determine your insurance premium.

Plead Not Guilty & Plea Bargain with the Prosecutor in Court

In all Long Island traffic courts and Upstate New York courts, after you have entered a not guilty plea you will be provided with a date to appear in Court for an Arraignment/Pre-Trial Conference.   It is at this conference that you will set forth your arguments for why your charges should be reduced or dismissed.

Although all courts allow motorists to appear at these conferences, it is best to have an experienced traffic lawyer appear on your behalf.

Having a traffic attorney represent you from the beginning of your case offers several advantages:

  1. We will enter your not guilty plea on your behalf
  2. We will request a conference be scheduled so that we can discuss your case with the prosecutor on your behalf
  3. You will not have to appear in court – we will appear on your behalf
  4. We know the best arguments/defenses to raise to convince the prosecutor that the charges should be reduced
  5. We can review the ticket for inadequacies which may result in the ticket being dismissed entirely

If you do Choose to Represent Yourself

Entering your Plea by Mail:

    • Make sure that the address they have entered for you on the top of the ticket is correct or you will not receive any further notices from the court
    • Fill out the appropriate section on the ticket (guilty or not guilty)
    • Make a copy of the ticket filled out before you mail it
    • Be sure to mail it at least one week prior to the return date to ensure it is received by the court timely
    • Mail the ticket to the address on the ticket via certified mai-return receipt requested so that you can prove to the court the date that it was mailed timely in the event the court does not receive it.

Note:  If you intend to hire an attorney to defend you, it is best that you let your attorney enter your not guilty plea so that they can schedule your case on a date that fits into their schedule and so that they can keep track of the case and follow up accordingly.

Entering your Plea in Person:

If the ticket requires that you appear in person on the return date:

    • Be sure to arrive at court on time and dressed appropriately.
    • You should bring to court any information that you feel is necessary to fight your ticket and always bring:
      • Your driver license
      • A copy of the ticket

Plead Not Guilty and Fight your Case at Trial

If an acceptable offer is not made by the prosecutor at the pre-trial conference, you can consider fighting your charges at trial to convince a judge that the police officer was wrong and that you did not break the law.

A trial proceeds as follows:

  1. The prosecutor puts forward their case by questioning the police officer with respect to the issuance of the ticket(s)
  2. Thereafter you have the opportunity to cross-examine the police officer. Cross-examination involves asking the police officer questions that will call into question his/her credibility, accuracy and judgment.
  3. You will then present your case.  You may introduce evidence to support your claims
  4. The prosecutor then has an opportunity to cross-examine you
  5. You may be asked pointed questions by the Judge
  6. You have the opportunity to make legal motions throughout the trial

As you can see, this process is quite complex and is very difficult for most motorists to complete on their own. It is always best to have an experienced traffic attorney appear for you at trial.

Call a Traffic Ticket Lawyer with 30 years of Experience and a Money-Back Guarantee

If you have been issued a traffic ticket, it is always best that you consult an experienced attorney before taking any action on your own.  We at Veltry Law, PC are happy to provide you with a free consultation 24/7 to give you the information you need to make an informed decision as to how to proceed with your traffic ticket.


With 30 years of experience fighting New York traffic violations, we are able to tell you in one free phone call, how many points your ticket is and how much we expect to be able to reduce it.  We pride ourselves in being open and honest.  If it is not in your best interest to hire an attorney, we are happy to provide you with the information you need to resolve your matter on your own.  Please feel free to visit our website to see the hundreds of reviews from the clients we have helped over the years.


Call us 24/7 for your free telephone consultation or visit our website for more information about traffic tickets.


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