traffic ticket

The Myth: My Ticket Is Very Old, Therefore, I Will Probably Win

We already addressed whether the points from your ticket “go away” if the hearing occurs over 18 months after the ticket was issued. (Short answer: They don’t. Long answer: click here.)

Here, we will answer whether the age of your ticket, in itself, affects your chances in a good way.

The short answer: Probably not. The long answer: Read on…

TVB hearings are all or nothing. There are no plea bargains. Every case goes to trial. Which means, you might win. You might lose. (You’re more likely to win if you have an attorney, of course.)

But if you do win, the age of the ticket is not likely to be the reason why.

Most police officers will not remember the specific details of a traffic stop. Remember, in most cases, the trial occurs at least a year, if not two or three years, after the traffic stop. The officer has probably issued other tickets in the meantime, potentially hundreds or thousands of others. The odds that he remembers your particular car stop are not very good. (This is why you’re better off not making yourself memorable.)

The officer is accustomed to testifying to cases he does not remember. If you, or the judge, asks him if he remembers you, he’ll say no. And that’s okay. TVB courts do not require police officers to have superhuman memories.

Most officers will testify with the use of notes from their memo books and the summons itself. Some read from scripts. If they know what they’re doing, and most cops do, they can testify to the required elements of a case without independent recollection. (That’s lawyer-speak. It means “even if they do not remember you.”)

So just saying, “Judge, this ticket is old, the officer doesn’t remember” is not likely to be persuasive.

And that’s what TVB trials are about. If the officer can prove the elements of the case, you will probably be found guilty unless you can convince the judge that something justified your actions. Perhaps you can, perhaps you can’t. But your actions won’t become justified solely because they took place a long time ago.

But won’t the officer retire sooner or later? Of course. Most police officers retire after 20-25 years on the job. Sometimes they leave sooner, sometimes later. So there’s always a chance this could happen as your tickets gets older and older. But it’s not the most likely outcome.

To get defense against your traffic ticket, contact us at (212) 729-0472 to learn more.