By Joe Latwin
If you are issued a non-criminal traffic ticket, technically called a “simplified traffic information” (STI) for violating the Vehicle and Traffic Law by any police agency for a violation occurring within the City of Rye, you will be dealing with the Rye City Court. The STIs are usually issued by the Rye police, State Troopers, MTA police Westchester County police, or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
If you are stopped on the road, the police officer may issue a STI. Sometimes it will be accompanied by a Criminal Procedure Law section 710.30 notice (Statements made to a public servant), and a Supporting Deposition.
The STI will contain information about the registration of the vehicle, identification of the driver, a description of the charged violation, and a description of the date, time, and place when the violation is alleged to have occurred. It also contains some legal notices. It provides for a place in which the driver may plead guilty or not guilty and a place for the driver to sign. It also has the date by which the driver must enter a plea and the address of the Court.
The driver may enter a plea by mail by signing the copy of the STI and mailing it to the Court before the stated return date or the driver may visit the Clerk’s Office and hand in the STI in person. When the Clerk receives the STI with guilty plea, she will send a letter to the driver advising him or her that the STI was received and letting the driver know what the fine and surcharge will be and the date by which payment is to be made.
If the plea is not guilty, the Clerk will set a conference date and notify the driver of that date. On the conference date, the driver will have the opportunity to discuss the case with Rye’s Corporation Counsel, and, perhaps, receive an offer to resolve the matter, often with fewer or no points or a lesser fine. If the driver accepts that offer, a few papers need to be signed and the case will go before the judge who may accept the deal. If the judge approves, the driver can pay the fine at the Clerk’s Office and the case is over. The vast majority of traffic cases are resolved by a plea deal. On the other hand, if no deal is reached, the case will be adjourned for trial.