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Consider a scenario in which you received a traffic ticket in New York that you believe was unfair. You may have read this post we published earlier this month, and you avoided inadvertently pleading guilty by paying the ticket. Then you fought the good fight in court.

But the judge did not see things your way. And you were convicted. The question then becomes, “Now what?” Are you stuck having to pay the penalties? Or is there any recourse left to you?

If you still want to fight that ticket, you can appeal a traffic ticket conviction. We will cover here some considerations for how to go about it.

Something to remember when appealing a traffic ticket is that you have to do it according to the rules set by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. One rule is that you need to act quickly: You can lose your right to appeal if you wait more than 30 days after conviction on the charges.

Assuming that you meet the deadline, another factor is the format of your appeal. You can do so by mail, or you can appeal online. Online appeals offer the allure of convenience, but there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of. For example:

  • Your ticket must be a Traffic Violations Bureau, or “TVB” ticket; and
  • You need to make sure that your appeal argument is carefully crafted.

The second point above is crucial for a number of reasons. For example, if you received a license revocation or suspension, you can request that it be postponed (“stayed”) by making a stay argument. But you need to remember to include it in the appeal.

Also, you will need to think carefully about your online appeal arguments, because in a sense they are like an arrow: Once you send them, you cannot recall or edit them. There are also rules about what physical exhibits you can send in connection with an online appeal, and whether you can make additional appeal arguments after you send your original appeal.

Just like you need to avoid the trap of pleading guilty by paying your ticket, you also should be aware of potential traps that can sabotage your appeal. If you do not have the time or inclination to learn all the particulars of how to successfully submit an appeal, you may want to consult an attorney.

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