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Plea Bargaining and Fines for Common Reductions

by Seth Azria on 6/15/2018

Plea Bargaining for a Reduction

The overwhelming majority of traffic tickets, that drivers do not plead guilty to, are resolved through plea bargaining. Plea bargaining occurs with the prosecutor whereby the prosecutor makes an offer to the driver to plead guilty to a reduced charge.  The reason the prosecutor makes these offers is to resolve the case. Otherwise the prosecutors would have to have a trial for every ticket. The prosecutor also seeks to serve the interests of justice. The amount of the reduction is a matter for argument. 

For example, a driver is charged with speeding 84 mph in a 65 zone. The prosecutor may offer a plea to a parking violation in satisfaction of the original ticket.

Prosecutors are Empowered to Change one Charge to Another 

Some clients have mentioned that it is odd to plead to parking violation when they were charged with speeding. However, this is commonplace, as prosecutors have the authority to change any traffic ticket issued by the police to any other or dismiss it entirely.

But Judges Have to Approve the Deal

The prosecutor’s power to alter charges is subject to the judge’s approval. While the judge is prohibited from engaging in plea bargaining, he or she may refuse to accept a deal offered by the prosecutor. This happens more often than we wish it would.

Bargaining and presenting a case to the prosecutor in a way calculated to ensure the largest reduction and then convincing a reluctant judge to accept it, is what we, as your lawyers, are obligated to do for you.  

Common Sections Used for Traffic Reductions

a. Reductions to Zero Points

§1200 (d) - Failed to obey a parking sign

§1201(a) - Stopping or standing on pavement

  • for the first conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $150
  • for the second conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $300
  • for the third conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $450
  • Mandatory Surcharge $25

Some prosecutors offer two parking violations in satisfaction of one speeding ticket. Other times, we may ask for two parking violations instead of one point ticket. This allows the judge to impose a larger total fine because both the first and second offense are occurring at the same time. 

Many clients are concerned primarily with avoiding points and would rather pay more than take points. We agree.

1202(b)2 - Stopping or standing on pavement

  • for the first conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $400
  • for the second conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $600
  • for the third conviction in 18 Months $0 - $750
  • Mandatory Surcharge - $25

b. Reductions to Two Points

§1110a - Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device

  • for the first conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $150
  • for the second conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $300
  • for the third conviction in 18 Months - $0 - $450
  • Mandatory Surcharge - $93 for town and village courts, $88 for other courts, e.g. city courts

Failure to obey a traffic control device is by far the most popular section that prosecutors use when they insists on the driver pleading to a charge with points. Section 1102, failed to comply with a lawful order of police/flag person is also used frequently and has the same fine structure as §1110a.

If you have any questions about the fine or reductions we invite your call.  And please, do not plead guilty, always seek a reduction.

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