Traffic Violation Sign

Can I get a payment plan for my traffic ticket in NYC?

In short: Yes.

Payment plans are available for tickets in the TVB courts of New York City.

This is a relatively new concept, and it stems from a major state law enacted in 2021.

Before the passage of the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act, approximately 8 million New Yorkers had their driver’s licenses suspended each year for failure to pay fines and fees associates with traffic violations.

In TVB, convicted drivers were given a maximum of 28 days to pay their fine and surcharge in full. Town courts often gave less time than that to do the same.

But now, payment plans are always available. You can request a payment plan through the DMV’s web site, or by speaking with a clerk at a DMV office.

Even if you don’t pay your fine and surcharge, DMV will not suspend your license for that reason. (Potential exception: if you do not pay a suspension termination fee. But that is not necessary after most convictions.)

So, one might ask: Why pay a fine at all?

It’s a good question, and one that the State Legislature may not have fully considered before passing the above-referenced legislation.

In theory, DMV could send debt collectors after you, and the nonpayment could affect your credit score. (I’m not sure if this has happened yet in real life, though.)

In reality, it’s hard to say why you would, unless you just want to be a good citizen.

Perhaps this loophole will be closed or clarified at some point.