The difference between these two courts is simple but important. Suffolk County First District Court handles criminal traffic violations and Suffolk County Traffic Court handles non-criminal violations.
The only time the Suffolk County First District Court hears traffic cases is when those cases have the potential to send somebody to jail. That includes offenses like drunk driving, drugged driving, and reckless driving. Each of these offenses have the potential for jail time as well as steep fines and fees.
The rest of the cases go to Suffolk County Traffic Court. Suffolk County Traffic Court handles cases ranging from simple bicycle violations to street racing violations. As long as the specific violation doesn’t have the potential to impose jail time, it will go to the Suffolk County Traffic Court.
The official name of the Suffolk County Traffic Court is the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency (TPVA). The Suffolk County TPVA handles every parking ticket that the police write while within the jurisdiction of Suffolk County. The jurisdiction is the area where a specific court has power. A court’s jurisdiction is typically the area surrounding it.
Suffolk County parking tickets aren’t nearly as bad as New York City parking tickets, but they’re still pretty bad. Almost all of the same laws in New York City also apply to Suffolk County. That’s because many of those laws are part of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (NYS VTL). The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law lists hundreds of ticketable violations.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency also has its own laws pertaining to parking. That’s because each local and county court is allowed to make its own specific laws. These laws are in addition the laws set forth by the state and by the federal government.
In Suffolk County Traffic Court, that just means having a few different areas where you can receive a parking ticket. The fines can also vary slightly, depending on the specifics of your Suffolk County parking ticket.
Suffolk County traffic tickets are among the worst in the state. Each year, Suffolk County issues tens of thousands of traffic tickets. Between 2014 and 2017, courts issued more than 655,000 Suffolk County traffic tickets. There are only about 1.4 million people who live in Suffolk County. That averages out to almost one ticket for every other person.
As mentioned above, Suffolk County traffic tickets work in two different ways. The first way is through criminal court. Suffolk County First District Court’s Criminal and Traffic Division handles those cases. The second way is through non-criminal traffic court. The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency handles those cases.
Whether you receive a criminal or a non-criminal Suffolk County traffic ticket, you’ll have financial costs to pay as well. Those typically take the form of fines and surcharges but can also include applicable fees whenever the court sees fit.
Keep in mind that Suffolk County traffic tickets are not the same as speed camera tickets. The thousands of speed cameras in NYC are treated differently in court in order to make for a more fair and equitable justice system. Either way, you’ll want to fight your ticket in court.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency assesses a number of fines, surcharges, fees, and penalties to all traffic violations. The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law is the basis for most of these costs, but the city of Suffolk County also has a few laws of its own.
Suffolk County traffic ticket fines can range anywhere from $150 to several thousand dollars. For the most part, how much you pay is based on what law you broke. However, the court can add on additional costs depending on your driving record and/or the nature of the specific violation. Let’s look at the following two examples:
Example 1: Bob gets a ticket for driving without insurance. This is the first time he has ever done anything like this. Other than this ticket, his driving record is squeaky clean. So the judge lets him off easy. He gets the minimum fine ($150) and no jail time.
Example 2: Brian gets a ticket for driving without insurance. This is the third traffic ticket conviction he has received in the past 6 months. The judge decides to give him the full penalty of the law. He gets a $1,500 fine and is ordered to spend 15 days in jail.
Traffic ticket surcharges are costs that you have to pay after Suffolk County Traffic Court convicts you of a moving violation. These surcharges apply to every court in the state of New York, as described in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
For the most part, Suffolk County traffic ticket surcharges fall into a couple of categories: $0, $55, and $88. The only difference between surcharges in Suffolk County Traffic Court and surcharges in other courts around the state is that town and village court surcharges can be $93.
In addition to fines and surcharges, the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency might also make you pay fees. These fees can cover just about anything from credit card convenience fees to complicated legal consequences. A few common fines are listed in the table below: Title Cost Description Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee — 6 Points $300 This fee applies when a driver receives six points on their license within an 18-month period. Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee — Each Point Above 6 $75 This fee applies for each point above six that a driver receives on their license within an 18-month period. Suspension Lift Fee $50 This fee is to lift suspensions related to traffic violations other than drugged or drunk driving. Suspension Lift Fee $75 This fee is to lift suspensions related to violations related to courtroom procedures, such as failure to appear. Driver License Reapplication Fee — Revoked License $100 This fee applies when a driver applies for a new driver license after having their previous driver license revoked.
*This price represents the total over a three-year period. Each of these fines lasts for three years and is billed annually. For example, the DRA fee of $300 manifests as three installments of $100.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency has countless other fees at its disposal. For the most part, those fees are around $50 to $100. Although, Suffolk County TPVA fees can go well into the hundreds of dollars. On the bright side, these fees can also be as little as fifty cents paid every six months. It all depends on the court and the nature of the traffic ticket.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency can issue fines, surcharges, and fees. It can also dole out a number of awful penalties. There are also a number of penalties that aren’t directly part of the ticket. For example, your car insurance premiums can skyrocket as a result of a single traffic conviction.
The list of penalties below only includes penalties that the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency can issue.
In Suffolk County Traffic Court, you can have your license suspended for many different reasons. Those reasons include serious violations like driving under the influence, failing to appear in court, and driving without car insurance.
There are two different kinds of license suspensions in NY: definite and indefinite. Definite suspensions last for a scheduled period of time. An indefinite suspension is essentially the court saying, “You can have your license back when you do what we say.” Indefinite suspensions last until you’ve done whatever the court asked you to do.
Note that Suffolk County Traffic Court can suspend your license if you get three speeding tickets within an 18-month period. That is particularly troublesome when combined with the fact that you can get a Suffolk County speeding ticket for going as little as one mile per hour over the posted limit.
A license revocation is a much worse version of a license suspension. When Suffolk County Traffic Court revokes your license, your license is completely taken away. There is no way to ever get back the same driver license. If you ever want to drive again, you’ll have to go through the entire process of getting a brand new driver license. You’ll also have to pay increased fees.
Only the most severe violations can result in the Suffolk County TPVA revoking your driver license. A few of the most common example violations are occurring more than 11 points within an 18-month period, committing a violent crime behind the wheel, and being diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition.
“Debilitating medical condition” is not the same as “disability.” The Suffolk County Traffic Court allows for disabled people to drive. The only time a disability will result in the revocation of a driver license is when the disability causes a person to become a danger to themself or others while driving.
If you’re familiar with NYC traffic law, you might be worried about having your vehicle confiscated. TVB courts and DMV offices in NYC can confiscate your vehicle if you receive more than five speed or redlight camera tickets within a 12-month period. Suffolk County Traffic Court cannot.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency cannot confiscate your vehicle. However, the Suffolk County First District Court may if you use your vehicle to commit a heinous criminal act.
Suffolk County Traffic Court is not for people who are facing jail time. When you are facing jail time for a traffic violation, you will have to face the judges of the Suffolk County First District Court’s Criminal and Traffic Court.
Traffic violations that can result in jail time are any drunk or drugged driving conviction, vehicular manslaughter, and fleeing the scene of an accident that resulted in bodily injury. That last one is also called “hit and run.”
If you don’t pay a Suffolk County traffic ticket, the government can send that ticket to a collections agency. Then it becomes a form of debt and the collections agency can report it to credit card companies. This is what is known as a delinquent account.
There have been stories of a single unpaid parking ticket reducing people’s credit scores by over 100 points. The same can happen with traffic tickets. This problem is in addition to any of the above penalties. It can also result in significant increases to your car insurance premiums, mortgage, loan rates, and other borrowing.
A reduced credit score can even prevent you from renting an apartment in certain areas.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency is the premier traffic court in Suffolk County when it comes to non-criminal violations. It is the only traffic court in Suffolk County that handles parking tickets. It also handles all of the non-criminal moving violations in the county.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency used to be a part of New York City’s Traffic Violations Bureau despite not being a part of New York City proper. This weird relationship ended in 2013. Today, the Suffolk County TPVA is it’s own court with jurisdiction over all non-criminal traffic and parking matters in Suffolk County.
The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency is located just off of Veterans Memorial Highway. There are two large parking lots on either side of the building. It’s easy to spot, since the building is taller than all of the houses in the surrounding suburbs.
Below is the official address of the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency:
H. Lee Dennison Building, Ground Floor North Entrance 100 Veterans Memorial Highway Hauppauge, NY 11788
Where you go when you get to the courthouse depends on where your case is being held. The best way to find that out is by speaking to your lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can try speaking with somebody at or near the security checkpoint by the entrance.
Remember, Suffolk County Traffic Court and Suffolk County District Court are not the same thing! If your traffic ticket has a different address on it than the address listed above, contact the court to find out where you’re supposed to go.
Even for expert traffic lawyers, it’s important to know who to contact for information. At the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, that means contacting the court either by mail or by phone. You can also go there in person, if that’s more convenient for you. But be warned, the court will likely close during pandemics, disasters, and other emergencies.
The Suffolk County Traffic Court phone number is (631) 853-3800. The court staff who operate this phone line can provide helpful information about many different things. For example, if you need help finding the right courtroom, they can help you.
You can also contact the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency by email. The court’s email address is SuffolkTPVA@suffolkcountyny.gov. Court staff only operate the phone line and email address between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. That can make it incredibly difficult to get in touch with somebody, which is why you should always hire an attorney.
WinIt offers many helpful resources for fighting Suffolk County traffic tickets. The first one is a traffic ticket lookup tool. If you need help finding a lost traffic ticket, this tool can help you do that. All you need is your name, contact information, and SSN.
Another helpful resource is WinIt’s traffic ticket blog. We are always writing about new ways to fight speeding tickets, dispute parking tickets, and save money on car insurance. All of these tips can help you better prepare for your day in court.
The first thing you need to know is that the Suffolk County Traffic Court process is not the same for parking tickets as it is for traffic tickets. But they are incredibly similar. You can also fight camera tickets in court, but those go through a different process. The WinIt app can help you fight both traffic and parking tickets in Suffolk County.
This link contains information on how to fight parking tickets.
Suffolk County Traffic Court begins when the clerk of court calls your case. They can call you either by name, case title, index number, or a number of other ways. When the clerk of court calls your case, you take your position in the courtroom and prepare to argue. Note that the position is not always the same in every courtroom. Depending on the judge’s preference, you might be anywhere in the room.
Then comes the time for motions. Motions are legal requests that you can ask of the judge. For example, a motion for continuance could give you more time before the beginning of your trial.
After the basic motions comes the start of arguments. The court will first tell the officer who wrote the ticket to explain any evidence they may have. Once they have finished laying out their evidence, you will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer. That means asking him questions to try to build your argument for the judge.
After the arguments, the judge will decide in favor of either you or the officer. The overwhelming majority of the time, people who do not hire lawyers lose their case.
Before facing down with the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, you’ll need to know how to read a traffic ticket. There are five parts of any Suffolk County traffic ticket.
The top left of the ticket is your information. It includes the name of the police agency, the local police code, and a bunch of information about you and your vehicle. In the top of that section, you should see something like “SUFFOLK CO POLICE DEPT.”
The middle left of the ticket is labeled “THE PERSON DESCRIBED ABOVE IS CHARGED AS FOLLOWS.” As you might expect, this section details your charges. Most likely it will say that you are in violation of “NYS V AND T LAW.” That’s the NYS VTL that we mentioned before. The most important part is where it says “section” and “Description of Violation.”
The bottom left is the court’s information. That’s where the name and address of the court is. If you don’t risk going to jail, it will say “SUFFOLK COUNTY TRAFFIC AND PARKING VIOLATIONS AGENCY.” If it doesn’t say that, then Google the name of the court and give them a call.
The right side of the page contains two sections. You can plead guilty and instantly lose your case, or you can also plead not guilty and fight your case in court.
The two kinds of plea options for traffic tickets in New York are guilty and not guilty. These are opposites of each other and have opposite meanings. What you need to know first is that you have to plead not guilty to fight a traffic ticket.
A plea of guilty is an admission of guilty. If you admit guilt, you cannot contest the ticket. Many people think that they can plead guilty “with a good reason” and the judge will let them off. That is a myth! If you plead guilty, you might never even see the judge.
Pleading guilty means that you are accepting all of the fines, fees, penalties, and other consequences of the ticket. For many Suffolk County traffic tickets, that means hundreds of dollars in up-front costs, thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, and potentially worse.
To plead guilty, sign Section A on the right side of the traffic ticket. You can make a statement if you’d like, but it won’t do much. You can then either manually take your ticket to court or mail it in.
A plea of guilty says that you do not want to face the consequences of the ticket. If you broke the law but had a great reason to do so, you can still plead not guilty. For example, if you were speeding to get your pregnant wife to the hospital, plead not guilty. That will allow you to explain your case to the judge, who just might let you off.
Pleading guilty doesn’t get you out of hot water by itself. It just enables you to fight the ticket in court. If you don’t have legal expertise, you will most likely lose your case. That’s why it is incredibly important to hire an expert traffic lawyer. The WinIt app can help you find one from the comfort of your own home.
To plead not guilty, sign Section B on the right side of the traffic ticket. Always check “yes” to request a “supporting deposition.” That way, you can see all of the evidence that the officer has against you before the court date. You can then either manually take your ticket to court or mail it in.
Like we said before, the Suffolk County TPVA handles three different types of tickets. Those types are traffic tickets, parking tickets, and red light camera tickets. You only have to pay your tickets if you win your case, but keep in mind that you might have to pay late fees if you lose.
The best way to prevent yourself from having to pay late fees over a contested Suffolk County TPVA ticket is to get a court date scheduled for before the deadline to pay your ticket. That way, you will know the verdict before it comes time to pay.
Suffolk County Traffic Court offers multiple ways to pay your tickets. One way is to mail a check to the court. Do not mail cash. It can easily be stolen, might not be recorded, and the court just plain hates it.
If you want to pay in cash, the best way to do so is by going to the court in person. The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency has cashiers and clerks work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
You can also pay Suffolk County Traffic tickets online.
If you don’t want to pay a traffic ticket, you need to dispute it in Suffolk County Traffic Court. The first step starts the second you get a traffic ticket. Take pictures and videos of everything around your vehicle. The most important things are street sights, street lights, and traffic lights. But everything else is important too. Take pictures of everything you can see. Your lawyer might find something useful in them.
The next step is to mail in your not guilty plea to the court. Within a few days, the court will send you a summons. The summons will outline your court date and tell you a few other pieces of information that you’ll need to know.
After that, hire a traffic lawyer. The sooner you hire a traffic lawyer the better. Traffic lawyers know the ins and outs of the Suffolk County Traffic Court system. Unlike you, they spend most of their day going in and out of court, talking to judges, and negotiating cases. Traffic lawyers bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can help you beat the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.
Then comes the time to fight your Suffolk County traffic ticket in court.
Between the time when you get the ticket and you go to court to fight it, you’ll no doubt have a lot of questions. Hopefully this article answered many of them. If not, we’re always here to help answer more!
Do you have any additional questions? We know how time-sensitive and stressful legal matters can be. Feel free to reach out and our lawyers will provide detailed answers as soon as possible. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
1. How do Suffolk County traffic tickets affect my car insurance?
Suffolk County traffic tickets can wreak havoc on your car insurance. The best way to lower car insurance premiums is to not get a traffic ticket at all. Even minor seat belt infractions can increase your car insurance premiums by 3%. For most New Yorkers, that’s just about $50.64 more per year. A DWI or DUI conviction can increase car insurance premiums by as much as 79%. That’s more than $1,300 extra every year.
2. How long do Suffolk County traffic tickets stay on my driving record?
Four years. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles keeps a record of all traffic convictions, including those from Suffolk County Traffic Court. The DMV allows investigators and insurance providers to view everybody’s driving record “abstract.” The abstract covers the last four years of your driving history.
3. What are Suffolk County traffic ticket points?
Suffolk County Traffic Court can deal out points for traffic ticket convictions. These points vary from violation to violation. Traffic ticket points are cumulative. That means they add together. Each point can increase your car insurance premium and put you at risk of having your license suspended or revoked. In NYC, you might even have your vehicle confiscated.
4. What if I am under 18 years old and get a Suffolk County traffic ticket?
People under the age of 18 are considered junior drivers. Junior drivers who receive a Suffolk County traffic ticket have to fill out an additional section of the ticket. In addition to your plea option, you must list your parent or legal guardian’s contact information in the bottom right corner of the ticket.
5. How do I check my traffic ticket status in NY?
The WinIt app will keep track of all of your traffic and parking tickets in Suffolk County Traffic Court. You can find your Suffolk County traffic ticket status by checking in the app or contacting customer service. Another option is to call the court directly and wait on hold until somebody gets around to speaking with you.
6. What do I do if I can’t find my Suffolk County traffic ticket?
If you lost, misplaced, or just can’t find your Suffolk County traffic ticket, you can use a traffic ticket lookup tool. As long as you know your name and a few other simple pieces of information, you can find your ticket online. You don’t even have to have the citation number.
7. Can I pay my Suffolk County traffic ticket online without a citation number?
Yes. The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency allows you to pay your ticket with either your citation number or your case number. If you can’t find your citation number, you might want to use a traffic ticket lookup tool. If you still have your summons, you can use your case number instead.
8. What is a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles traffic ticket?
All Suffolk County traffic tickets are Department of Motor Vehicle tickets. The only difference between the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency and the Department of Motor Vehicles is the location of the court. All New York traffic courts use the same uniform traffic ticket: The DMV ticket.
9. Can a Suffolk County traffic ticket surcharge be more than the fine?
Yes. Here is an example: If Suffolk County Traffic Court convicts you of a $45 fine, you may still have to pay a surcharge of $88. That means a guilty plea will triple the amount you have to pay. To prevent that, you have to fight your ticket and win.
10. What if I get a Suffolk County traffic ticket and live out of state?
Hire a lawyer. If you do not want to travel back to Suffolk County just to fight a traffic ticket, you will need a lawyer to do that for you. On the bright side, a lawyer tends to cost significantly less than a two-way plane ticket and a hotel. 11. Is there a way to find traffic tickets that you don’t know you have?
Yes. WinIt’s traffic ticket lookup tool constantly searches New York’s database of traffic tickets. Even if you don't know if you have a traffic ticket, we might. Enter your information into that traffic ticket lookup tool and you should be able to find any outstanding tickets that you may have.
12. How do I fill out uniform traffic tickets with a guilty plea?
Look at Section B in the middle right of your uniform traffic ticket. (It is the same section on any Suffolk County traffic tickets). Check “Yes” under where it asks “Do you request a supporting deposition?” Next, check one of the three bubbles above your signature. Sign the ticket, write your address, and mail it back to the court as soon as possible.