NYS lawmakers looking to make traffic court more flexible

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Getting a traffic ticket can be stressful enough and many New Yorkers are struggling to pay the fines on time. Not paying tickets on time can lead to a suspended license. Some New York state lawmakers are looking to make the process easier and help people avoid the consequences.

The bill says the courts have to offer at least three possible dates and times- instead of only one.

“I think down the road if you had a ticket and then your license was subsequently suspended that could cause even more financial pain for those people, so ultimately having a chance to pay it or a way to sort it out before you’re hit with the additional fees of trying to reinstate your license or lost work because you can’t get to work,” said driver Danielle Arnold.

Aliyah Phillips got a parking ticket a couple of years ago. She said she paid it right away because she didn’t want something worse to happen- like losing her license.

“It would’ve prohibited me a lot, actually, going to work, going to school, going to do things with my friends. I need my car, I need my license,” said Phillips.

According to the New York State DMV, there were 14.4 million traffic tickets handed out between 2014 and 2018. 40 percent of Americans in 2017 said they didn’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense. A new study showed parts of the Rochester area had more than 6,000 license suspensions in 2016.

For some, having flexible times to make these traffic court dates could make a difference. Matt Ryen has another idea to bring those numbers down.

“It seems reasonable that not everybody has the money to pay right away and if the person sticks to a payment plan the court system should allow people to pay over time,” said Ryen.

Currently, not paying a traffic ticket and appearing in court results in a conviction and possibly having your license suspended. Driving with a suspended license is a crime and a felony conviction could result in fines up to $5,000 or jail time.

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