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Many New Yorkers have learned that it is unwise to simply pay a traffic ticket, which amounts to pleading guilty and could add points to a driving record.

With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, it is often possible to reduce traffic tickets to a lesser charge, such as turning a speeding ticket into a parking violation.

But a policy change could soon make it more difficult for New Yorkers to plead down driving charges in traffic court.

It was announced last week that New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles will begin supplying prosecutors with additional information on a ticketed driver’s past traffic citations.

The information can then be used by the prosecutor to determine whether a driver should be allowed to plead down. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the change as a way to help keep dangerous drivers off of the roads.

Essentially, when a driving charge involve drugs or alcohol, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle or could result in license points, the DMV will provide additional data on a driver’s ticket history for the past 10 years.

Until now, prosecutors have only had access to information about convictions.

The change could make it more difficult for drivers to plead down traffic offenses, especially without the help of an experienced lawyer on their side.

There are hundreds of traffic violations in New York, many of which can add points to a driver’s record. When a driver tallies up 11 or more points within an 18-month period, the driver could lose his or her license for an extended period of time.

That’s why it’s important to take all traffic tickets seriously, including speeding tickets, stop sign violations, red light violations and reckless driving violations.

Source: Associated Press, “New York prosecutors to know about old traffic tickets,” March 4, 2014

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