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Traffic Violations

Most of the time when New York police pull someone over for a traffic violation, what ensues is fairly routine and ends in the issuance of a warning, or a citation. But sometimes, additional facts begin to reveal themselves during the traffic stop, and matters become more complicated.

That is what happened on the day when a police officer stopped a car being driven by a bishop who has connections to the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.

The reason for the initial traffic stop is not clear from the news account, but it soon blossomed into multiple legal issues including a charge of driving while under a license suspension based on lapsed insurance, and being the subject of two outstanding warrants.

The police eventually took the driver to a police station, where -- given the nature of the misdemeanor charges against him -- the standard procedure required that he be kept in custody until he could appear before a judge.

That was when the mayor called.

The bishop was soon released with a ticket requiring him to later appear in court. The New York Police Department has claimed that this was appropriate, although it has not elaborated on its reasoning.

Fortunately for the bishop, the legal system allows people facing charges to present a defense in court and no further inquiries from the mayor’s office were necessary. In this case, it was argued that bishop did not receive notice of the insurance suspension until after the traffic stop, and therefore he technically did now know about the suspended license.

The negotiated result was a plea deal for time already served -- the time spent in the police station -- and a fine of less than $100.

The right to defend against traffic violations is not reserved for those with political connections or a high-profile position. Every person has the right to challenge charges they are facing and work with an attorney to seek a reduction or dismissal of charges.  

Source: New York Daily News, "Mayor de Blasio's Brooklyn bishop pal settles traffic case," Oren Yaniv, June 23, 2014 

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