Un-Pleading Guilty to a Traffic Ticket

Legal Knowledge, by Marty Carbone, Traffic Lawyer in Lake George, NY
You can actually Un-Plead Guilty for a speeding ticket.

When one gets a traffic ticket, it would appear that the easiest way to deal with it would be to simply plead guilty and mail it back to the court. More often than not, however, this type of lackadaisical attitude proves to be detrimental down the road.

People often don’t realize that by blindly pleading guilty to a traffic ticket, it opens them up to obtaining a high amount of points on their drivers license. Along with these points come higher fines and increased insurance rates. Also, drivers with a commercial license run the risk of having their privileges revoked much easier than the average driver.

When one pleads guilty to a traffic ticket and then suffers heavy repercussions as a result, they may attempt to have their prior pleading vacated by filing a Coram Nobis. A Coram Nobis is basically a legal “mulligan” or a “do over.” It is a motion made to the court requesting that the prior guilty plea be vacated in order to potentially negotiate a plea to a reduced charge.

It is not guaranteed that by filing a Coram Nobis the prior guilty plea will be vacated. It is simply a motion, or request. It is at the judge’s discretion to grant the motion. If they deny the motion, one is pretty much out of luck. However, most courts grant said motions, so long as the individual has a decent reason for the request.

Usually one would hire an attorney to draft a Coram Nobis. Once granted, the attorney would then enter into negotiations with the DA or town attorney to a reduced charge.

From a personal stand point, I completely empathize with anyone who gets a traffic ticket. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there and when it happens, it feels like the end of the world to some of us. Truth is its not that big a deal and can easily be dealt with if one puts in the time and effort. I recommend resisting the natural impulse to simply take the path of least resistance and check off “guilty” on the ticket and hope for the best. Instead, confront the issue and take the appropriate steps in avoiding a potential disaster to your driving record.

Bottom line here is to think before pleading guilty to a traffic ticket. If you do hastily plead guilty and wish to “un-plead,” make sure you present the court with a good reason for your request. Typical good reasons are based on unfamiliarity of the current traffic laws, or perhaps you are an out of state driver, again, not familiar with the traffic laws of NY.

So in closing, the best way to deal with the negative impact of a regretted guilty plea is to file a Coram Nobis. For additional information on hiring a traffic attorney, please feel free to read one of my prior blogs, “Top 5 Things to Look for in Hiring a Traffic Lawyer.”

(PHOTO CREDT: www.istock.com)