It’s no fun to get found guilty in traffic court.
You pay a fine and surcharge. You may get points on your license. You might even get your license suspended.
And a few weeks later, you might get a very unwelcome piece of mail from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles advising that you owe a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) to the state.
Yes, if your traffic ticket conviction was a scoop of sour, freezer-burned ice cream, the DRA is a healthy smattering of pungent whipped cream on top. Or something like that.
What is the Driver Responsibility Assessment?
In short: The DRA is a bill the state charges you for getting too many points on your license.
When does the DRA apply?
The DRA kicks in when you get six points on your license within any 18-month period.
Whoa, 18 month-period? I’m terrible at math. Please explain to me what that means.
I’m bad at math, too. Why else do you think I became a lawyer? But let me try to explain it in simple terms.
The relevant day is the day you got the ticket — not the day you are convicted.
For example, if you receive three two-point tickets in the year 2019, and are convicted of them at separate hearings at any point in the future, you’d have six points on your license for an eighteen-month period, and would owe a DRA.
If you got a three-point ticket in May of 2019, and then another three-point ticket in October of 2020, and are eventually found guilty of both, then you’d owe a DRA, because those two dates of issue are 17 months apart.
Okay, enough legal-talk. How much will I owe?
For six points — the lowest possible threshold — you owe $300.
That goes up $75 per point beyond six.
So, for seven points, it’s $375. For eight points, it’s $450; for nine, $525; for ten, $600; and so on.
This is in addition to the fines, fees, surcharges, and insurance increases that you may be facing due to these points.
Do I have to pay this amount all at once?
You have the option of paying it all at once, or paying it in thirds over a three-year period.
I advise paying it all at once if you can — this will save you from the potential complications of having to pay it again the next year. I’ve had clients who paid their first installment, but forgot to pay the next year, and got suspended.
What happens if I don’t pay my DRA?
You can probably guess: Your New York license will get suspended. The DMV letter you’ll receive about your DRA will tell you how much time you have to make the payment.
How do I pay my DRA?
You can pay via mail, but I advise paying through the DMV’s web site, because this will be processed instantly. Once it’s done, you can print your payment receipt to prove it was taken care of.