The Standard of Proof in Traffic Court

If you’re familiar with the “standard of proof,” perhaps you already know this is a concept that refers to how convinced a judge or jury must be of a claim to rule in its favor. What you might not know is that there are multiple standards of proof used throughout the legal system, and the most restrictive standards are used for the most serious types of cases.

If you’re the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, for example, the standard of proof your civil claim must meet to prevail is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means you must convince the court that your claim is at least greater than 50% likely to be true. On the other hand, prosecutors are obligated to prove criminal charges “beyond reasonable doubt” to a jury to convict a defendant of a crime, which is the highest standard of proof.

So, what’s the standard of proof used in New York City traffic courts? It’s a good question to ask because a traffic citation is neither a civil dispute nor is it really a criminal matter. It falls somewhere in between, and at least in New York City, so too does the standard of proof used in traffic cases: clear and convincing evidence.

Clear & Convincing Evidence in NYC Traffic Court

Clear and convincing evidence is the standard used in New York City traffic citation disputes. If you get a traffic ticket anywhere in New York City and wish to contest it, your dispute will be heard by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB).

The TVB is more of an administrative tribunal than it is a “court” in the sense you’re probably imagining. When you plead “not guilty” to your traffic ticket, a TVB judge (an administrative law judge) will hear and decide your case.

During your hearing, you can have the opportunity to present witnesses, evidence, and even testify yourself, if necessary. An attorney like ours at Stites Law can also represent you. Likewise, evidence and testimony can be entered in the case against you.

The judge will weigh the evidence each side presents, ruling in favor of the side that presents clear and convincing evidence that their claim has a high probability of being true.

Do You Need a Traffic Law Attorney?

If you are trying to fight a traffic ticket you got in New York City, you are entitled to legal representation. Our attorney at Stites Law can help you make your case before the TVB and increase your chances of successfully beating your traffic ticket or reaching another agreeable outcome.

For more information about how we may be able to help, schedule a consultation with Stites Law by contacting us online.