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Client accused of running past stopped school bus – how we got the case dismissed

kids crossing street

Most potential traffic ticket, DUI, and criminal defense clients inquire about our legal acumen and skill. These are legitimate questions, but it is hard to “show” a potential client our work. This is because criminal defense, unlike civil litigation, is on your feet argument and advocacy. You are utilizing your oral abilities and examination techniques to defend your client. For misdemeanor crimes and speeding tickets, you are toiling away at your craft in one of the thousands of town or village courts throughout the state of New York. Many of these courts are located in the basement of town halls orĀ  behind the post office. Often times the proceedings are very informal with no stenographers record being made.

However, this is a case that I can “show” you my work product and the resulting dismissal of the charge of passing a stopped school bus, VTL 1174. Like most courts throughout the State of New York, the municipality of which the violation occurred in maintains a “no plea bargaining” policy when it comes to the infraction of passing a stopped school bus. That means your driving history and / or the surrounding circumstances do not matter at all. It does not matter who you are or what your driving history is. The prosecutor will not offer you a plea bargain. You have 2 choices – (1) plea guilty and pay a huge fine, accrue 5 points, and see your insurance skyrocket, or (2) exercise your constitutional right to have the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In this case I was retained early on. In a traffic ticket / criminal matter the defendant is entitled to certain things such as a “supporting deposition.” If you get a NY ticket the procedure for demanding a supporting deposition is on the ticket so you don’t necessarily need to be an attorney to figure that out. However, there is a lot more disclosure that a defendant is entitled to which is contained in NY Criminal Procedure Law. This includes video and audio of the incident, disclosure of any statements the driver made that the state wants to introduce at trial, and any written reports or statements that the arresting officer made. This material is fairly disclosed to the defendant so that they can prepare for trial.

All of these things are “discoverable.” However, they must be timely demanded and a record of that demand must be preserved through the utilization of affidavits of mailings. I timely made the appropriate demands and perfected the timeliness of the demands with affidavits of service. I then properly followed up under the law with a courtesy letter. When the time passed for the prosecution to have provided the demanded material I made a motion to dismiss.

The motion was “returnable” to the court on June 23, 2010. In other words, that was the day the court was going to either grant or deny our motion to dismiss. The motion was granted, and the charges were dismissed. But that is not the best part. Although the prosecutor put in “opposition” they did not really oppose my motion. All they could say was ‘he’s right, so we’re not going to oppose dismissal.’

I have attached a redacted copy of my Motion to dismiss and the prosecutors papers Consent to dismissal. I redacted it for my client’s privacy and because I am not looking to bring any negative light upon the court or the prosecutor. I am merely trying to utilize this case to illustrate what you get when you retain our services.

Furthermore, while I take issue with a town’s “no plea bargaining” policy, I take no issue with a town prosecutor zealously advocating for the people of the state of New York. Moreover, while some may interpret the prosecution in this case as “weak,” I do not. If a prosecutor cannot in good faith oppose a criminal motion to dismiss it is their ethical duty to join the defendant in dismissal. Many times they do not, so I give this prosecutor a lot of credit for doing the right thing.

If you or someone you know gets arrested or is issued a ticket have them call toll free 1-877-99-NO-TIX (1-877-996-6849) or contact us via the web at