Most traffic tickets which fall under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law carry a mandatory NYS surcharge (usually $88 or $93). However, certain tickets which people commonly pled guilty to as a “plea bargain” reduction do not. Earlier this year the Governor of New York proposed to add a surcharge to those traffic tickets in New York. The Governor also called for reducing the ability of prosecutors to bargain down the charges for any speeding ticket that is 20 mph over the limit. The Governor argued that plea deals that result in a reduction to a traffic violation that do not have a surcharge cost the New York State budget close to $58 million dollars a year in lost revenue. Many argued against the proposal including the National Motorists Association stating that it is yet another way for the government to squeeze money out of the pockets of New York drivers. Recently lawmakers were asked to vote on the Governor’s budget proposal.
Governor’s Budget Proposal to Limit Plea Bargains Defeated
The New York State Legislature approved a mandatory $25 surcharge for drivers that are charged with speeding and end up taking a plea bargain to VTL 1201-a “parking on the pavement”. The mandatory surcharge for those charged with speeding and accept a plea of 1110-a Failure to Obey Traffic Device has increased to $88. This revenue generated from this increase in fines will go to the state general fund. It is expected that the increase in fines will generate close to $25 million every year.
These increased fines are a result of Governor Cuomo’s push to require those charged with driving 20mph above the speed limit not be able to “plead down” their ticket to a 0 point offense.
However lawmakers in Albany only went as far as adding additional fees to the fines motorists already pay as a result of these traffic violations. The budget spokesman for Cuomo, Morris Peters stated that New York State would ensure that judges in traffic courts would be made aware of accused’s driving history and ensure that repeat offenders would not simply get off easy but would be given a greater punishment.
Why Are There Increases On Already Heavy Fines And Penalties For Traffic Tickets?
These newly created fines are among the numerous new fees and taxes that are part of the new $143 million budget created for the coming fiscal year. Unfortunately these plans aren’t among things that the State’s republicans are in favor of.
Party chairman Michael Long stated his disapproval of minimum-wage increase, increased utility fine and the newly created income tax-rate for top earners; all things included in the budget being voted on. Long stated that his party’s ballot line could be the potential breaking point of some at risk Republican state senators. These senators form the backbone of the Republican power in the state government.
The GOP’s 30 senators share control of the Senate of 63 with a group of six democrats. Nassau Country Conservative Chair Dan Donovan has stated that he is willing to give Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos time to amend the budget. Donovan has stated that Skelos must amend the budget to ensure the continual support of Nassau Conservatives towards the Republicans who will need it to ensure that they receive their ballot line in the coming year.