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New York Traffic Violations Legal Blog

New traffic violations law could lead to vehicle confiscation

In a bustling city like New York, traffic issues are often unavoidable. Law enforcement takes multiple steps in its attempts to catch drivers who violate the law. An issue of specific concern is reckless driving. Drivers can face harsh penalties for these allegations. They have the right to lodge a defense and avoid the worst consequences.

The City Council has passed new legislation called the Reckless Driver Accountability Act that will increase the punishments for drivers with a certain number of traffic violations. Under this law, if a driver accumulates five tickets for running red lights or 15 violations for speeding in school zones within a single year, a safe driving course will be required. Those who do not comply might have their vehicles seized and impounded. Drivers whose vehicles are taken can recover it after taking the course.

Man faces felony DWI charge after fleeing police

A 32-year-old man is facing a raft of charges including a count of felony drunk driving after allegedly fleeing the scene of a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway on the night of Jan. 24. The Syracuse resident is also charged with operating an unlicensed vehicle after a records check revealed that the license plates on his car were stolen. He is being detained at the Onondaga County Justice Center and is scheduled to be arraigned in the Town of Van Buren Justice Court.

The chain of events began when a New York State Police trooper pulled the man's vehicle over near Van Buren at approximately 10:20 p.m. for an undisclosed motor vehicle violation. The man's car allegedly struck the trooper's police vehicle as it left the scene at a high rate of speed. A brief pursuit ensued that ended when the man's vehicle struck a median as he attempted to exit the Thruway at Exit 39. Troopers took the man into custody at the scene and determined that he was impaired by alcohol. The man is said to have refused to provide a breath sample.

Mother of Lindsay Lohan accused of hit-and-run drunk driving

Dina Lohan is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident on the evening of Jan. 11. The crash took place in the parking lot of a New York mall according to media reports. Lohan, who is the mother of actress Lindsay Lohan, allegedly refused to submit to a breath test when confronted by police officers at her Long Island home. She entered not guilty pleas to the charges against her during a Jan. 11 arraignment hearing.

The chain of events that led to Lohan's arrest began at about 7 p.m. in the parking lot of a Merrick shopping center. The driver of a Honda SUV says that a Mercedes struck the rear of his vehicle and then left the scene. The driver then called 911 and followed the Mercedes. The driver and police caught up with the Mercedes outside a nearby residence, and officers say that Lohan was behind the wheel while the engine was running.

What are field sobriety tests?

When assessing a driver for drunk driving, a law enforcement officer may use any number of tools to determine if an arrest is warranted. They may ask a driver to blow into a breathalyzer or they may use observational assessments to determine if the driver is impaired. These assessments are known as field sobriety tests and they generally involve several standardized assessments.

One common field sobriety test is the one-leg stand. This self-explanatory test requires a person to stand on one foot without setting the other foot down. They are required to hold their balance without stepping out of the hold; doing so may indicate some level of impairment.

What is New York's move over law?

When a driver sees flashing lights ahead of them on a highway, they may expect to face slow-downs and delays. They should also expect to have to change lanes, especially if the cause of the flashing lights is an accident or other emergency. In New York, when a driver sees lights ahead of them, they may have to follow the rules of the state's move over law.

The move over law applies to any roadway obstruction involving construction, emergency vehicles, tow trucks and others. When a driver sees lights, reflectors or other indicators that the roadway may be obstructed, they must first reduce their speed and observe what is occurring. Once they have assessed their situation, they should be prepared to move out of the way of the obstruction by changing lanes.

"Innocent until proven guilty" applies to speeding violations

Many of us are familiar with the concept that people who have been accused of crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Maybe we only know this as a phrase police use in television shows, but it is in fact a very important legal principle. It means that once a person has been accused of a crime, they have the right to due process and to defend themselves against the charges. This principle applies to all kinds of crimes.

Some speeding violations don't fall under criminal law, but the basic principle applies to speeding violations as well.

Texting while driving at issue in homicide case

Lawmakers in every state have struggled to come up with ways to address the threat of drivers looking at their phones instead of at the road ahead of them. In New York, using a handheld telephone or portable electronic device while driving is illegal and punishable by steep fines and other penalties. New Jersey has a similar law, and police in that state have handed out more than 10,000 citations for cellphone use and other distracted driving over the past year.

Recently, New Jersey put a woman on trial for vehicular homicide after allegedly a pedestrian was killed in an accident the prosecution argues was the result of texting while driving. News reports said this is the first texting-and-driving homicide case in the state's history.

Study finds widespread problems with Breathalyzer devices

When they have pulled over a driver on suspicion of drunk driving, police have several ways of collecting evidence to show that a driver was intoxicated. They write up a report in which they document their observations, including the words and actions of the driver, whether they smelled alcohol on the driver's breath, and how the driver performed simple tasks, such as walking a straight line. But some of the most effective evidence they gather is the result of a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, test. An adult whose BAC is 0.08% or higher is legally too drunk to drive.

The most common way of administering a BAC test in New York and throughout the nation is through a chemical breath analysis device, commonly known as a Breathalyzer. But these devices are not always reliable.

How many points can I accrue before I lose my license?

New York's Driver Violation Point System is confusing to many drivers. Many people do not realize how close they are to losing their driver's license until someone alerts them to how many points are on their record.

The big number to know is 11. A driver who gets 11 points against their record within an 18-month period faces the very real possibility of having their license suspended.

Can I legally use my phone for navigation while driving?

New York's law against texting while driving is strict. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile device while you drive. This means you can't talk on a phone if you're holding it while driving. You can't use your phone to send or retrieve texts, emails or the Internet. You can't use your phone to take or view photos, and you can't play games with it. The only exceptions are for dialing 911 or otherwise contacting emergency services about an emergency.

So, where does GPS fit in with this? Many people use their smartphones or portable GPS devices to assist with navigation when they are driving to an unfamiliar place. Is this against the law?

Call 212-257-8321 to receive a free, no-obligation ticket evaluation from The Law Office of Craig Bondy or reach us by email.

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