What Interactions Will I Have With Court Clerks And Other Staff Throughout The Duration Of My Criminal Case?
Throughout the duration of your criminal case, you will have minimal to no interaction with the court clerks and other staff. The courts generally do not engage in any conversations of substance with the individual charged with a crime who is represented by a lawyer. When a defendant has counsel, the court office will communicate exclusively with the attorney who is acting on behalf of the defendant or principal of the case. Court clerks are very busy and should not have to answer questions on procedure, dates, or times—this should be discussed between the client and their lawyer on a case. My clients may email or call my office with any questions they may have and should be kept abreast of their case.
How Do You Advise Clients To Behave And Conduct Himself Or Herself When Interacting With Court Personnel?
Clients should be at their best in the event they do interact with court personnel for any reason. Simple courtesy and smiles go a long way and are much appreciated. Most local courts have a lot of cases and two judges who alternate monthly calendars. The court clerks are responsible for scheduling all matters before those judges, making sure all appropriate documentation is in the file and timely provided to each defendant. Court clerks are also present during conferences between the defense lawyer, prosecutor and the judge in chambers taking notes for the file as to what is due to and from whom. In this way, they can pass on the way a party’s conduct has been perceived, intentionally or not. If there is a case where somebody gave the clerks a hard time, the clerk may rightfully bring that to the attention of the judge and counsels. I believe anything that is not helpful to a case is probably harmful. Therefore, be considerate, never give the court personnel a hard time, and always be on your best behavior.
What Is The Driver Violation Point System In New York? How Does It Work?
In New York, all moving violations, with few exceptions, carry some corresponding points. The more serious the offense is considered by the DMV, the higher the points which correspond to that offense. The DMV is a state-level government agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing to drive in the state of New York. They have designated a certain number of points for vehicle and traffic infractions, as well as a system for their accumulation and consequence when a certain level is reached. Once that threshold is reached, the DMV will then take action against the motorist. Whether a motorist is licensed here in New York or elsewhere, they can only amass up to ten points within an 18-month period without a suspension of their license of privilege. However, once the threshold of eleven points or more is reached within an eighteen-month period, the driver faces at least a suspension; in addition to monetary penalties which accrue at six points and increase every point thereafter (known as the Driver’s Responsibility Assessment).
A suspension typically runs about 30 to 60 days and has a restoration fee afterward of approximately $75.00. After the expiration of that period, motorists can simply go to their local DMV office and have their license or privilege to drive reinstated immediately. It’s important to note that once a suspension or revocation period expires, the privilege to drive is not automatically reinstated. A revocation, for example, takes a minimum of six months. That minimum period of time is determined by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Motorists must take affirmative steps to apply to the DMV for termination of their suspension or revocation. Unlike a suspension where motorists may simply go to the DMV office to reapply on the spot for their ability to drive be reinstated, a revocation means that their driving privilege is terminated altogether. It means that after that time has elapsed, a motorist must essentially reapply for a license. Since this is not usually done at the local level, the motorist has to file an application by mail directly to Albany with a fee of approximately $100.00. They must also attach any documentation that the DMV has instructed for their particular case. For example, in a DWI case, they will require an alcohol evaluation from an OASAS certified evaluator that has been written within one year of the conviction.
As a practical note, an application for reinstatement after revocation should be made early—at about the fourth or fifth month—since it takes the DMV about a month or two to get to the applications due to the large volume of cases they receive. All in all, the process should generally coincide with a six-month time frame. Therefore, when you mail your application in early it goes into their pile, and as that pile rises your position enhances. If done this way, when it’s time for the DMV to input your information into their system that six-month period should be right on schedule, and if you qualify, you’ll be reinstated immediately. In the case that a motorist waits until the sixth month to file their application, unfortunately they may be looking at an eight-month revocation.
A motorist’s driving history potentially carries far-reaching consequences for a variety of reasons. These consequences directly impact their ability to drive if they accumulate 11 points within 18 months. It also has an impact on their insurance premiums. Insurance companies prefer to charge higher premiums for motorists with poor driving records. They believe a bad driving history translates into a higher risk of accidents and corresponding insurance payouts, as well as more potential future offenses in relation to vehicle and traffic infractions.
The accumulation of active points has a specific parameter of time. It is an ongoing 18-month block of time relevance for immediate DMV action. By way of illustration, suspensions occur when a motorist receives one or more traffic ticket violations that would in total or surpass 11 points. That number can be reached rather quickly. It can be triggered in a single stop with a high speed or several lower level tickets. For instance, if you speed over 40 miles an hour that is an 11-point offense. My office handles many speeding tickets of that degree. Single speeding offenses that result in a conviction of speeding over 40 miles an hour would, in turn, result in an automatic suspension—not by the court, but by DMV. Note, that is the potential from the original charge and generally not final when properly defended.
As set forth in the DMV point chart: 1 to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit (which is the lowest speeding category) carries three points. 11 to 20 miles over the speed limit carries four points. 21 to 30 miles over the speed limit (which is a common speeding ticket) bumps it from a four-point offense to a six-point offense. 31 to 40 miles per hour over the speed limit is an eight-point offense. Obviously, the higher the speed a driver is charged with, the more seriously it is taken by the courts. And, once you get into the six to eight-point range and higher, the courts become more concerned. It’s best to have an attorney fully familiar with the Vehicle and Traffic Law process to help you navigate this challenge successfully. An attorney can go to court alone and speak for the motorist, rather than having a motorist trying to handle this sort of ticket by themselves. Moreover, everything a motorist says is an admission and can be used against them by the prosecution, the police officer, and the court. Furthermore, on any given stop a driver can be issued two or three tickets. Those tickets escalate the count and could immediately bring a motorist to eleven or more points.
To offer a few examples, a cell phone ticket and failure to stop for a school bus discharging passengers are each five-point offenses. A motorist alleged to have crossed train tracks while the lights on the crossing guard are flashing is a five-point offense as well. Not only do those offenses individually carry a high number of points, they are often combined with another ticket or two, such as a lane or signal violation, or worse—a speeding ticket. When combined, these scenarios could result in someone facing a suspension even with a clean record.
A conviction as charged would also carry other consequences. Five-point offenses in and of themselves are categorized as serious driving offenses and carry their own enhanced penalties from the DMV. If a motorist is convicted of three speeding offenses at any speed, (even three 3-point speeds, which adds up to nine and not eleven points) they would still be revoked for having three speeding convictions within 18 months. While such a motorist may be eligible for a restricted license while suspended or revoked, that also depends on their driving history.
It’s important to understand that the 18-month calculation for the DMV runs from the issuance date of the traffic ticket, not the conviction. For instance, if a motorist is convicted in court of speeding, the DMV is then notified and they will analyze that motorist’s driving history or record. If they find that there are any convictions for other tickets within the 18 months of receiving the ticket under review, it may result in a suspension or revocation for the motorist. This means adjourning a case into the future thinking it will push the conclusion of a case beyond 18 months from the other tickets is ineffectual, since it’s the ticket issuance date that counts. Ultimately, all of those past tickets could lead to a conviction now and consequently, a present suspension or revocation.
For more information on Traffic Tickets, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 301-7500 today.