Handwritten New York Traffic Ticket
If you received a narrow, yellow or white sheet of paper with handwritten information like the one below, this guide will help you better understand each section. → What If My Ticket Does Not Look Like This? → I Just Want To Hire A Lawyer.
What It Looks Like
The image below is a copy of a real handwritten traffic ticket from Albany County (ticket number and personal information altered or erased). Click on the image to view a full-size version in a new window, or if you would like to print a copy, and read the paragraphs below for an explanation of each section.
1. Ticket Number
A combination of letters and numbers makes up your ticket number or "UTT" number, which stands for "Uniform Traffic Ticket". A unique UTT number is printed on every ticket and courts and attorneys may use this as a reference for your case. If you can no longer read your UTT number, try contacting the court with your name and date of birth. Remember to check the bottom of the ticket, though, as it also appears there.
2. Personal, Vehicle & License Information
This section contains information regarding you, your vehicle, and your license. It includes: your first and last name; middle initial (M.I.); date of birth; sex; address (as it appears on your driver's license); license type (including what state); license I.D. number (or driver's license number); vehicle type, year, make, and color; vehicle plate number; where your automobile is registered (state) and when that registration expires. There is also a section on the first line for Local Police Code.
* A very common issue that we see with this section is in regards to your address. Typically, a court will use the address in this section to communicate with you regarding Not Guilty and Guity pleas, unanswered summons, and fines. This is usually the address DMV also has on file and they will use it to notify you of any pending suspensions or if you have to pay a Driver Assessment Fee. Consequently, if you no longer receive mail at this address you may be missing important communication that can lead to serious legal trouble. To avoid any problems, make sure DMV has your correct address on file and get a copy of your Driving History or Abstract of Operator's Record to verify that you have no pending suspensions, unpaid fines, unanswered tickets, or other unresolved license issues.
3. Description Of Your Charges
If you are trying to find out what possible fines, points, and other penalties you may be facing, this is the place to start. The section "IN VIOLATION OF: (Section and Subdivision)" will detail what section of state Vehicle & Traffic law that you are accused of disobeying. You should see the letters "VTL" (which stands for Vehicle & Traffic Law) followed by numbers and sometimes, more letters. Once you find this, you can view our list of traffic tickets to better understand your case and prepare your defense. → See our traffic ticket list
For example, if you see "VTL 1180B" (SPEED OVER 55), this means you are being charged with speeding in a 55mph zone. This is a 3 to 11 point ticket, depending on the speed, and penalties for pleading guilty to this charge can include a fine from $45 - $600 (plus state surcharge) and/or up to 30 days in jail. You may also be required to pay a $300 minimum Driver Assessment Fee.
→ Learn more about VTL 1180B → What is the Driver Assessment Fee?
This section details the name and address of the court that will be handling your case. This is where you must send an answer to your ticket. If you have questions about your case or need a new copy of your ticket, try contacting the court clerk. Always be kind and courteous with the staff and they can be a big help.
5. Answering Your Ticket
In New York state, a traffic citation is an accusation of disobeying some particular section of the law. No fine or penalty is issued until and unless you are convicted. When you receive a ticket, you are required by law to answer the charges or, in other words, you must mail your ticket to the appropriate court with a plea of Guilty or Not Guilty. Some courts, like those in the Village of Ravena and Town of Coeymans require you, or your attorney, to personally appear in court to answer your charges.
This section indicates the deadline for entering your plea. Failure to do so by this date can result in the suspension of your driving privileges, applicable Lift Suspension fees, and additional criminal charges like A.U.O. (Aggravated Unlicensed Operator). In fact, the majority of our clients charged with this misdemeanor have old, open tickets that they have failed to properly answer.
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