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How to Get a Warning Instead of a Ticket

Every day police throughout New York and New Jersey pull drivers over for speeding but don’t always issue a ticket. Officers have the ability to issue a warning to drivers rather than cite them for a violation. Under what circumstances can the officer do this? And how can you maximize your chances of getting off with just a warning?

Let’s start with the opposite: when an officer is allowed to issue a ticket? A cop must have an objective, clearly articulable violation of an ordinance or statute which prompts the traffic stop.  This is referred to as “probable cause.” There are some exceptions to this, such as an investigative stop based on reasonable suspicion of a crime. If neither of the above are the case, the stop would be considered unlawful.

That said, if you have been pulled over it is usually reasonable to assume that the officer clearly witnessed a violation. When a driver isn’t cited, it is usually because the officer exercised discretion and decided not to. Law enforcement officials have surprisingly wide latitude in discretion — they can warn or ticket for a lot of reasons, including patently superficial ones. They can also choose to issue tickets for relatively trivial offenses, or issue a warning for serious ones.

The bottom line is that there isn’t necessarily a rhyme or reason behind the decision to ticket or not ticket. Does that mean that getting off with a warning is a matter of luck? Perhaps, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances, such as:

  • Be polite. Remember that the officer is only doing his/her own job.
  • Be calm. Don’t get frustrated or angry. At the same time, don’t gush or turn on the water works (this may work sometimes for women, but only in moderation).
  • Be quiet. In other words, don’t offer any more information than you have to. Don’t admit to the infraction. If you do and the officer does issue a ticket, that admission can be used against you should you challenge to ticket in court.
  • Be cooperative. Provide the legally required information and documents in a timely manner. Also, keep the music down and your hands on the wheel. In the daytime, take off your sunglasses. At night, turn on the interior car lights.

Realize that even if you do all of the above you may still get a ticket. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for speeding or any other traffic violation in New York or New Jersey, you need expert legal counsel right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

The Fastest Speeding Ticket Ever

Police cruiser setting speed trap
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (//www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
New Yorkers speed far more often than they probably should, with 60 percent admitting that they exceed the legal limit regularly. Some speeding is worse than others, though. This leads to the obvious question: What’s the fastest speeding ticket ever written? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), while New Yorkers rank high in a lot of traffic-related categories, Texas is said to be the home of the fastest speeder ever caught. The driver’s name is not known, but as the legend goes, he was doing 242 mph in a Koenigsegg CC. The act took place in 2003 as part of the Gumball 3000, an annual international motor rally on public roads. Rumor has it that the ticket would have cost him $650,000 had he not managed to talk his way out of it.

There is one caveat to all this – no public record of the incident exists. The story became widespread when it was mentioned on an episode of Top Gear (Season 8, Episode 1). No witnesses or evidence have ever turned up.

Given the possible fiction-status of this entry, we submit to you a follow up: a 205-mph ticket for a motorcycle rider in Minnesota. Here at least there is an article documenting the incident. It happened in 2004 on U.S. Highway 61 in Wabasha. The rider, then-20-year-old Samuel Armstrong Tilley, was arrested and charged with reckless driving and driving without a motorcycle license.

If you are caught going over 200 mph in New York you are likely to get hit with a speeding ticket of about $600, plus a mandatory NYS surcharge of up to $93. A conviction would result in 11 points on your license, which means an automatic suspension even if you have no other convictions on your driving record. Not to mention, at such a speed, it’s also possible to be charged with reckless driving, as happened to Tilley. That’s not even getting into the impact on your auto insurance.

If you or a loved one has been caught speeding – even if it doesn’t break any records – it is advisable that you consult an attorney right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys with experience handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

 

Difference Between Yellow vs White Speed Limit Signs

What’s the Difference Between Yellow and White Speed Limit Signs?

Speed limit signs seem like the simplest thing in the world. You may have noticed, however, that some speed limit signs are yellow, while most are white. Seems like a minor thing, but there’s a difference between them that you should be aware of.

Yellow speed limit signs are also known as advisory speed limit signs. You’ll see these most often when roads curve. You might also see them on a stretch of road that is hilly or which suddenly narrows. Either way, it is a warning to drivers to reduce speed.

The limit on an advisory speed limit sign is always at least 5 mph lower than the rest of the roadway. The yellow color is intended to draw your attention so that you adjust your speed accordingly. In most cases, the advisory limit is temporary; once you have passed the stretch of road with the advisory-inducing conditions, a white sign will typically be posted indicating you can return to the old speed. However, it is possible for multiple advisory limits to appear back to back.

Can I Get a Ticket for Exceeding an Advisory Limit?

Advisory speed limits are not a legal speed limit; only the standard white speed limit signs carry the force of the law. Therefore, you cannot get a speeding ticket for disobeying an advisory speed limit sign. Yellow signs are simply a warning to drivers of a change in road conditions that may make their current speed dangerous. The number is usually based on the physics of the road, taking into account things like centrifugal force (around a bend) and angular momentum (at the top of a hill).

If an officer issues a speeding ticket, it is most likely for exceeding the official (white) speed limit. This will cost at least $150 plus a mandatory surcharge of $88-$93 and will lead to no less three points but as many as 11 points on your New York license, depending on how far above the standard limit you were going. Alternatively, there’s a chance you could get hit with a ticket for failure to reduce speed. This rarely-issued ticket penalizes drivers who do not slow down for special hazards, such as when approaching train tracks or the crest of a hill. It carries a maximum fine of $150 plus a mandatory surcharge of $88-$93 and three points on your license.

While exceeding an advisory speed is not illegal per se, it can be considered negligent. That means if you are involved in an accident while exceeding the advisory limit, you can be liable.

In addition to the fines and points, a conviction for any kind of speeding ticket can cause your auto insurance rates to skyrocket. If you or a loved one has been caught speeding, it is advisable that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the costs and points associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

When a Speeding Ticket Becomes a Civil Lawsuit

Accidents can happen, although we always hope they don’t. Plenty of traffic accidents are relatively minor with few or no injuries, but in our litigious society, even seemingly minor mishaps can lead to multi-million dollar lawsuits. As such, if you have been issued a speeding ticket in connection with an accident it is very important that you do not plead guilty.

Once a guilty plea has been entered into the court system, that admission can be used against you in a civil lawsuit. That’s why other states such as California and Connecticut have the option of pleading nolo contendere, i.e. no contest. In essence, a plea of nolo contendere means you know you can’t prove your innocence, so you accept the consequences of the charges but do not admit guilt. As a result, the plea and the charges cannot be used as evidence in a civil suit since you never found guilty or admitted to committing the crime.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow defendants to plead no contest; you can either accept the charges or fight them in traffic court. It should be noted that being found guilty does not carry quite the same weight in civil court as pleading guilty. However, either one indicates a level of civil liability. If the odds of getting found not-guilty of one or more charges seem slim, the next best bet would be to hire an attorney to help negotiate the charges down to a non-moving violation. In addition to having less of an impact your auto insurance, a non-moving conviction can’t be used in an accident-related civil suit.

Drivers should also be cautious about verbally admitting to traffic violations, especially at the scene of an accident. Off-the-cuff statements such as “I was only going 5mph over the limit” or “I didn’t see her in my mirror” can be used against you in civil court (as well as in traffic court).

It is essential that you contact an attorney if you or someone you love has been given a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation in connection with an accident. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys with extensive experience fighting moving violations and negotiating with prosecutors. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

 

 

How to Avoid a Speeding Double Whammy

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

While the vast majority of New York roads have posted speed limits, the state also has an official maximum limit of 55 mph. Violating the 55-mph limit on a highway (or anywhere else) is actually classified as its own violation. Technically, this means that drivers who exceed 55 mph in New York have committed two violations – speeding and speeding above 55 mph. In that case, could a driver get two tickets?

It’s not common, but it can and does happen. On very rare occasions an officer will issue someone a ticket under VTL 1180-d (your default speeding ticket) and 1180-b (exceeding state limit). The good news is that if you do get two tickets for the same offense, there is a high chance you’ll be able to fight the charges.

Any time you receive two tickets for what is essentially a single violation, that is considered double jeopardy. Federal law makes it illegal for a person to be charged twice for the same crime or violation, and an attorney can help you submit a motion to dismiss the charges. The judge then has the discretion to dismiss either one or both of the tickets.

A ticket for either VTL 1180-d or 1180-b costs at least $150 plus an NYS surcharge of up to $93, and carries a minimum of three points on your license. A conviction can also wreak havoc on your auto insurance premiums. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for speeding, exceeding the state limit, imprudent speed, or any other traffic violation in New York, contact a lawyer right away to fight the charges. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for all types of speeding and other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Study: Driving Commutes Are Faster on Streets with Protected Bike Lanes

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

New York City drivers have always been reluctant to share space with bicyclists. For years, they worried that surrendering precious road space would lead to increased congestion and longer commutes. Well, worry no longer: A new study of the traffic patterns over the last seven years found the exact opposite to be true.

The NYC Department of Transportation unveiled a report that showed commute times for the 30 miles of roads that have protected bike lanes. On average, travel time has fallen by as much as 35 percent during rush hour, despite having one or sometimes two lanes taken from cars. For example, on Columbus Ave, it took cars an average of 4.38 minutes to travel from West 96 Street to West 77 Street between 7:00 am and 10:00 am before the new bike lanes were installed. Afterwards, the average travel time shrunk to just three minutes.

According to an analysis by Fast Company,  the designated left-turning lanes are a big part of the reason for the improved speeds. Designed as a safety feature for cyclists, the lanes prevent cars from blocking an entire travel lane as they wait to turn.

Faster travel times is not an excuse for speeding on NYC streets. Tickets for speeding start at $150 and increase depending on how far over the posted limit you were going. Each ticket also an NYS surcharge of  up to $93 and at least three points on your license. A conviction will likely increase your insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars as well. If you or a loved one has been caught speeding, it is imperative that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the consequences associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

5 Possible Signs You Need New Tires

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Tire failure causes around 11,000 car crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of these can be avoided by occasionally checking your tires for signs of wear. In recognition of Vehicle Safety Week (May 22 through May 29), here are some things to look for that could mean it’s time for a tire change.

  1. Bulges. Tires bulge at the sides when they are low on air. The NHTSA estimates that tires lose about one pound-per-square-inch of pressure each month. A bulge or blister can also occur when the sidewall is weakened, which could lead to a sudden blowout.
  2. Cracks in the sidewall. Most tires that have been driven on for any length of time will have small, subtle cracks on the side. These are generally not noticeable unless you are right up on them. However, if the cracks are large and obvious from a distance, it could indicate a slow leak or a potential blowout.
  3. Constant pressure loss. Even if you don’t see cracks or bulges, you may notice that your tires seem to lose pressure frequently. It’s normal to lose about 2 psi per month. If you find your tires are leaking air more often than that, you may have a puncture or crack somewhere you can’t see.
  4. Tread wear. There’s an old-fashioned way of testing for tread wear that still works today: Place a penny into the tread, with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can still see the top of Abe’s head, the tread is too low. Many modern tires also have wear bars — bits of rubber woven into the pattern at a specific depth. If you can see that bar, the tread is worn out.
  5. Vibration. Drivers should be mindful of any kind of vibration or thumping when the car is in motion. This could be a sign that the tires are out of balance, especially if the thumping feels like it’s coming from underneath your seat.

Worn out tires can be a serious safety hazard. In addition to the potential for sudden blowouts, worn tires have less grip on the road, making it harder to stop on time. This is especially dangerous when driving in the rain or snow.

Moreover, driving on worn out tires could lead to a ticket. A ticket for unsafe tires (VTL 375-35-c) applies to any vehicle with tires that are not properly inflated or which have dangerously worn treads. A conviction can cost up $150 plus up an NYS surcharge of $63. However, no points are assigned to this ticket. Even better, the law allows the ticket to be dismissed if the driver can provide proof that it was repaired within the first full business day after the ticket is issued.

It is essential that you contact an attorney if you or someone you love has been ticketed for speeding in New York. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

The Obscure Speeding Ticket You Didn’t Know About

Failing to slow down as you approach a railroad crossing can get you a special kind of speeding ticket above and beyond a citation for going above the limit. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Most drivers realize there are a handful of different kinds of speeding tickets. There’s your basic speeding ticket (1180-d), speeding in a school zone (1180-c), and speeding in a work zone (1180-f). There’s another type of speeding ticket, however, that very few drivers know about — at least until they get a citation for it.

VTL 1180-e, also known as failure to reduce speed (special hazards), is a largely obscure but still occasionally issued ticket. In 2014 (the most recent data available) about 900 tickets for 1180-e were issued, representing well under 1 percent of all speeding tickets. Still, the wide variety of instances where this ticket applies makes it worth knowing about.

An 1180-e ticket can be issued during situations when drivers are expected to slow down momentarily, such as when approaching train tracks, on tight and winding roads, or near the crest of a hill. Another instance would be when approaching an intersection with pedestrians in it (regardless of right of way). The statute also contains restrictions that are redundant to other traffic laws. This includes approaching and passing emergency vehicles (similar to the Move Over law), driving within construction zones (similar to 1180-f), or traveling in hazardous weather conditions (similar to 1180-a/imprudent speed).

The statute actually predates many of the traffic laws (such as speeding in a work zone or the Move Over law) that it shares conditions with, which partially explains why the ticket is so infrequently issued. Officers tend to issue the newer, more specific violations, and use 1180-e when no other statute applies.

Unlike many other types of speeding tickets, the fines and points for a VTL 1180-e offense do not increase relative to your speed. A ticket costs $150 plus a mandatory surcharge of up to $93, and also imposes three points on your license. If you or a loved one has been issued a ticket for VTL 1180-e or any other speeding-related violation, it is urgent that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Cross Bronx Named Most Congested Roadway in U.S.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Traffic Courtesy of Robert Moses.

If going slow is your thing, you might want to spend more time on the Cross Bronx Expressway. A national traffic study released in February confirmed what many New Yorkers have always known: the Cross Bronx has the worst bottlenecks in the country. In particular, the interchange of Bronx River Parkway was ranked the most congested in the U.S., with interchanges at Sheridan Expressway and White Plains Road coming in as third and fourth worst. In total, commuters wasted about 86 hours a year on the Cross Bronx.

Also in the top 10 were the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 120th Street and 40th Street as well as the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel on NJ-495, from the I-95 junction to 12th Avenue. Overall, New York City earned the honor of being the second-most congested municipality in the country; only Los Angeles had worse traffic.

So why is the Cross Bronx so bad? According to the study, the highway has an inordinate amount of trucks, and drivers have few alternative routes. Lack of shoulder areas for broken-down cars, hills that create blind spots, and narrow lanes were also major factors.

The Cross-Bronx Expressway was an engineering nightmare. Its six lanes had to weave over, under, and around a ton of existing infrastructure, including

  • railways
  • sewer pipes
  • utility lines
  • 113 roads
  • a subway line
  • seven other highways

The construction of the expressway was so difficult that it was easier to move the Bronx River 500 feet to accommodate it. A one-mile stretch through East Tremont required the relocation of more than 1,500 families. In total, approximately 50 apartment buildings were demolished and 5,000 families displaced to build the highway.

Getting stuck in traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway is bad enough; getting a traffic ticket while driving on it just adds insult to injury. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for a traffic violation on the Cross Bronx or anywhere else in New York, contact an attorney for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

NYC Traffic Cams Dole Out 1.4 Million Tickets for School Zone Speeding

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lead-footed New Yorkers, be warned: the streets have eyes. New York City is home to about 140 speed cameras in school zones, each of which doled out an average of 10,000 tickets in 2016, according to a report by the New York Post. That’s a 36 percent increase from the 1 million total tickets issued in 2015.

Turns out, however, that those cameras are slacking off. In 2014, the city had only 20 speed cameras, each of which issued 22,000 tickets on average, for a total of 445,000.

The robots won’t be beating out the real police any time soon. Living, breathing cops handed out 137,260 speeding tickets last year, NYPD records show. That’s a 65 percent increase over the 83,202 tickets written in 2013. In total, officers wrote 1,042,703 total tickets for various moving violations, including disobeying traffic signs, seat belt violations, and distracted driving.

In keeping with the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities, in 2016 police also doled out 42,385 tickets for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians — a 185 percent increase over 2013 (the year before the program began). The city also saw the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded last year, with 229 total deaths. Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths ticked up from 139 in 2015 to 144 last and cyclist deaths increased from 14 to 18 over the same period.

A ticket for speeding in a school zone during school hours can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200. It also carries at least three points on your license. Even worse, a conviction for speeding in a school zone can wreak havoc with your auto insurance premiums. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for speeding in a school zone, it is urgent that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the costs associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.




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