It is very important to use a lawyer to beat any traffic ticket you receive from police in NYC. This article considers a very harsh and quite costly summons in terms of 5 persistent violator points and a minimum $ 250 fine plus $ 80 surcharge; to wit, a NYC passing a school bus violation.
Before we get into how to beat a NYC passing a school bus violation, let’s examine the differences between NYC traffic court and traffic court in other parts of NYS. Let’s take Westchester as representative of the rest of NYS and Manhattan as representative of the 5 boroughs.
If you get a passing a school bus summons in Westchester, the court prosecutor or at the very least the judge or the police man or woman who wrote the ticket can plea bargain with you. However, in Manhattan, there is no plea bargaining allowed. That means that in Westchester you can often plea bargain a passing a school bus ticket to a lesser offense if you’re driving record is good. Whereas, in NYC, even if your driving record is perfect, you must go to a hearing and if you lose, you get the full penalty under the law. On top of the basic penalties and fines, three passing a school bus tickets result in a mandatory 6 month license revocation which means that even if he judge can’t help you if he or she wanted to on your third such ticket.
The result will be a fine and 5 points on your driver’s license if you lose your NYC traffic court hearing whereas in Westchester you would have plea bargained your way out of points (or to fewer points) if your driving record was good. Further, your insurance premium will almost certainly go higher from a passing a school bus violation. Remember, in Westchester, none of this would have happened or a far less harsh result would occur in Westchester then if you lose in NYC traffic court.
Moreover, the procedure and evidence rules in NYC are far more generous to the police then to the motorist when compared to other parts of NYS. In NYC, special DMV administrative procedures are applied to traffic court proceedings, the judge is an employee of the DMV and the evidence rules are much more relaxed, which benefits the police. The police burden of proof in New York City is also clear and convincing evidence which is 51% (or just a little more believable that you passed a school bus then didn’t). In the rest of the state, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, which greatly favors the motorist.
What can a lawyer do for you? Quite simply, a competent and experienced NYC traffic court lawyer is your best defense in beating a NYC passing a school bus ticket.
A lawyer knows the elements involved in the People’s case. Meaning, those things that the PO must say in order to get a motorist found guilty. If the PO makes a mistake, then the lawyer can vigorously move to dismiss the charge. Some of the elements that the officer must prove involving a NYC passing a school bus ticket are 1. There was a duly registered school bus (with proper school bus paint) having its stop sign deployed actively engaging in the pick up or discharge of children; 2. The motorist passed the school bus with its stop sign without coming to a complete stop and waiting for the bus to conclude its business; 3. An accurate description of the roadways involved; 4. A description of the weather; 5. Proper ID of the motorist through a state issued motorist id card, i.e., driver’s license, 6. No emergency vehicles or other police or enforcement officers instructing the motorist to go past the bus for safety reasons, etc.
It is very important to hire a good lawyer to dismiss your NYC passing a school bus ticket. The lawyer will move to dismiss your summons and will succeed if the officer makes a mistake as to any one of the elements of the offense. Most passing a school bus tickets are generally dismissed by a competent NYC traffic ticket attorney.
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