How Traffic Tickets Could Suspend Driving Privileges
New York has been issuing paper driver’s licenses since 1910. The state now has more than 12 million drivers, fourth among all the states. If you are one of those drivers, your record affects whether you’ll be able to keep your driving privileges. If you accumulate too many violations, your license could be suspended or revoked.
Like many other states, New York has a point system that assigns a certain number of demerits for each violation conviction in New York state or the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. A driver who accumulates six points or commits an alcohol or drug-related driving offense within an 18-month period must pay a driver responsibility assessment in addition to any fines for the violations.
A driver who accumulates 11 points within an 18-month period may have their license suspended. You can also have your license suspended for an alcohol or drug-related driving charge, failing to have auto liability insurance, or failing to follow instructions for junior drivers. You can lose your license indefinitely for some of these offenses, as well as if you were a driver in a crash that included a fatality.
How Drivers Get Points Against Them
Demerits range from 2 points for minor offenses, such as failure to give a signal before turning, to 11 points for being convicted of speeding more than 40 mph over the speed limit. Most violations earn 3 demerit points. These 3-point offenses include speeding 1-10 miles over the limit; disobeying a red light, stop sign, or yield sign; leaving the scene of an accident with property damage; and violating child restraint laws.
Speeding 11 to 20 miles over the limit will earn you four demerits. Several more serious offenses carry a 5-demerit penalty. Some of those include texting or improperly using a cell phone while driving, violating railroad crossing rules, failing to stop for a school bus, and reckless driving.
Speeding 21 to 30 miles over the speed limit will earn 6 demerits, and speeding 31 to 40 miles over the speed limit will receive 8 demerits.
How Long Do Points Remain on Your Record
The points remain on your record as long as the conviction is on your record; however, they are no longer calculated in your total after 18 months have passed since the violation.
What Happens When You Get Too Many Points
If you accumulate six points or more during the 18-month period, you’ll have to pay the driver responsibility assessment. The assessment is for three years and varies from $100 per year to $250 per year, depending on your offenses. If you fail to pay the assessment, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license.
At 11 demerit points, your license may be suspended. If, however, you have 11 points and take a DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program course, the DMV will subtract four points for purposes of calculating your suspension. The points stay on your record, but you are allowed to continue driving.
Where to Pay Your Traffic Fines
You can plead guilty and pay tickets for most traffic offenses that were issued in any of the five boroughs of New York City in person, online, by phone, or by mail at DMV’s Traffic Violations Bureau. You may also request a hearing if you believe you are not guilty of the offense. You must answer DWI tickets and others that would result in your license being suspended in a local court.
You must pay or plead not guilty tickets for most traffic offenses issued in locations other than New York City through the local courts. Many allow online and mail payment.
If you ignore or fail to pay your traffic ticket, the state may suspend your license, and you’ll incur additional fees to have the license reinstated. The fines also may increase if you fail to pay them by the deadline.
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