Traffic Court Update

Many of our clients have been inquiring about how traffic summonses are being handled in Suffolk County, in particular speeding tickets, during the spread of the latest Covid-19 variant. The answer to these inquiries depends on where in the County the ticket was received. Tickets being prosecuted in the village and town courts may not be handled in the same way as those received elsewhere.

For example, if you receive a ticket for speeding in the five western towns (Huntington, Smithtown, Babylon, Islip and Brookhaven), and not in an incorporated village (such as Head of the Harbor, Port Jefferson, Nissequogue, Islandia and others), your case will be prosecuted in the main Traffic Court on Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge. At this time, all cases in the Traffic Court are being heard remotely by the Microsoft Teams application. Only defendants who do not have a lawyer, and don’t have access to Microsoft Teams, are permitted to appear in person. Some Traffic Court judges are hearing cases in the courthouse, while others are working remotely.

If you receive a speeding ticket in an incorporated village or one of the towns on the east end of Suffolk County (such as Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton or Southold), your case will be prosecuted in the local court in that village or town. Each of these courts have their own rules concerning personal appearances. However, since the District Attorney’s office in Suffolk County prosecutes speeding tickets and other moving violations, the same rules governing what dispositions of your ticket are possible in the Traffic Court in Hauppauge might not prevail. The prosecutors in the Traffic Court are bound by certain “plea bargaining” guidelines, while the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office has its own more flexible guidelines.

Your attorney must be fully aware of the different prosecutorial guidelines which are in place in the particular court where your speeding ticket is pending and possibly an increase in auto insurance rates. Many law abiding peoples want to instinctively plead guilty to their speeding ticket, especially if its their first one. However, pleading guilty can result in a heavy fine and as many as six to eleven points on their license. The attorneys at Glynn, Mercep, Purcell & Morrison are very experienced at defending speeding and other moving violations and can almost always work out a disposition for you that will save you points on your license and possible increases in your car insurance premiums.