Do Not Plead Guilty by Mail!
by Seth Azria on 3/03/2010
Pleading Guilty by Mail Creates a Conviction and Consequences Add Up Fast
After I explained to a client the way fines, points, and other consequences of traffic tickets accumulate, she thought that I should make: "Don't Just Plead Guilty by Mail" the tagline of this website. Others have reacted with sentiments like, "I wish I had I called you earlier." This is an important topic that affects all drivers so I encourage you to read on- if you would like the information personally, I invite you to call (315) 364-1155.
Here is a quote from a New York Uniform Traffic Ticket, written exactly as it appears:
A PLEA OF GUILTY TO THIS CHARGE IS EQUIVALENT TO A CONVICTION AFTER TRIAL. IF YOU ARE CONVICTED, NOT ONLY WILL YOU BE LIABLE TO A PENALTY, BUT IN ADDITION YOUR LICENSE TO DRIVE A MOTOR VEHICLE OR MOTORCYCLE, AND YOUR CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION, IF ANY, ARE SUBJECT TO SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION AS PRESCRIBED BY LAW.
Under "SECTION A - PLEA OF GUILTY" the Uniform Traffic states: "I plead GUILTY to the offense as charged..." By pleading guilty and sending the in ticket, you have:
- Waived a trial,
- Given up your right to be represented by an attorney, and
- Asked the court to fix the fine and penalty
Lost Opportunity for a Reducution of the Charges
This is significant because it means that you have given up the opportunity to present details of your case that may change how a prosecutor decides to handle it. After a police officer issues a ticket, there are many reasons why a prosecutor may decide to reduce that ticket upon request. Of course, some reasons are more persuasive than others but one thing is certain, no ticket will be reduced without a request. By hiring a lawyer to represent you in court and in negotiations with the prosecutor, you are maximizing your chances of success and minimizing the impact of a ticket on your life.
Checking a box and sending in a ticket may seem convenient and you may think that sending in the ticket is cheaper than hiring a lawyer. However, many are easy to find and calling one is likely to save you money, points, anxiety, and aggravation.
Driving is a privilege that must be protected.
Please do not plead guilty by mail.