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Hello there --
Unfortunately, there is no way to plead such a ticket down in NYC or anywhere else -- typically when there is a request to plead something down, the original offense has something it can be plead down to -- for example, a murder can be plead down to manslaughter -- or a high speeding ticket can have 10 or 20 miles shaved off of it to lessen the fine and insurance charges. There are also no opportunities to take a traffic class in NY in order to have the fine reduced or thrown out. In this case, if you are a first time offender, you may be able to gain some sympathy from the court if you tell the judge that the call was an important family call for one reason or another and you show the judge a receipt that you have now purchased and are using a hands free cell phone while in the car. NY was the first state to enact a cellphone while driving ban in 2001 and traditionally if you have no priors and can show a good reason and a hands free cellphone purchase, many judges will use their discretion and either reduce the fine or throw the ticket out altogether. Again, however, it is completely up to the discretion of the judge and it varies from judge to judge regarding how they want to handle each situation (they have a lot of discretion in these cases).
I truly wish I could tell you something different but I practiced in NYC up until a few years ago and they are pretty strict on giving out these tickets -- your only hope here is if the judge will accept your reasoning and perhaps toss out the ticket. Please keep in mind that I can only tell you the legal truth of the matter that you asked me about and if I could have given you better news on this I most certainly would have done so. Please keep that in mind when you are selecting a rating below and I ask that you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face underneath this answer box so I will be paid for my time today.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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Thank you very much. I had a feeling that was the case. I am not as worried about the fine as about the points. Gov. Cuomo changed the law so effective June 1, 2013, this offense puts 5 points on your license, more than leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. Not only is this my first offense, I've never had any points on my license and I've been driving for 38 years. Would the judge have the ability to reduce the points as well as the fine?
Hello again Karen --
If you are successful in getting the judge to toss the ticket, there will be no points. But even if he reduces it to something else, the points will stand. I truly wish I could tell you something different but I do think it is worth a try with such a good driving record -- your situation is usually the ones that the court will grant a break to if the judge is feeling in the mood to do so.
Last question, I promise. I have two choices, guilty or not guilty. There is no box, guilty with an explanation. Do I make my own box, or plead not guilty, even though I am guilty, so that I can get a hearing? I've never gotten a ticket before, for anything, except parking, so I'm a little freaked out.
I will be pressing the 5th face, you should be paid for your service, where else would my
Sorry for the delay -- I was answering another customer. You should simply check off "not guilty" in order to get the hearing -- it is done all the time so you do not have to worry about that. And then when you have the hearing tell them that you had to take a family emergency call and you have purchased a head set -- and about your good driving record -- and the judge may throw it out. I wish I could guarantee it, but I can't.