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The Hidden Cost of a New York State Traffic Conviction – The Driver Responsibility Assessment

Being found guilty of a New York speeding or other moving violation not only triggers a fine from the court, but also triggers administrative fines and penalties separate and apart from from the court fine by the NYS DMV. Specifically, the DMV accrues points to a motorists license or driving history when convicted of a moving violation. The amount of points depends on the specific conviction. For example, a cell phone violation under NY VTL Sec. 1225 accrues 5 points, and a speeding conviction for doing between 11 & 20 MPH over the limit triggers a 4 point accrual.

An additional fine directly from the NYS DMV is triggered when a motorist accrues 6 or more points from one or more convictions in an 18 month period from the dates the tickets were written, not from the conviction dates. This additional fine is called a “driver responsibility assessment.” Although New York State will be notified of a moving violation committed outside of New York State by a NY licensee, and that conviction will accrue to the NY licensee’s lifetime driving history,  such convictions do not result in a point accrual against the New York license.  Rather, the point accruing violations of which the motorist was convicted must have been committed in New York, Quebec, or Ontario.

The assessment is $300.00 for the first six points and $75.00 for every point thereafter accrued within the aforementioned 18 month period. In most cases it will take more than 1 conviction for the driver responsibility assessment to trigger. However, the following stand alone convictions will trigger the driver responsibility assessment:

Speeding 21 – 30 MPH over the limit = 6 Points  / $300.00 Assessment                                                             Speeding 31 – 40 MPH over the limit = 8 Points / $450.00 Assessment                                                       Speeding 41 + MPH over the limit = 11 Points / $675.00 Assessment & License Suspension

The assessment applies to NY licensees, out of state licensees, and even if you have no license. On the ticket there is a fine print warning about the possibility of an assessment. Even when the violation is 6 or more points, few courts warn motorists when they enter pleas in court or by mail. The assessment is not paid to the court but paid directly to the NYS DMV via mail or online.  It can be paid in full or 1/3 installments.

How Noticed

The notice of assessment comes directly from the NYS DMV via mail upon the accrual of 6 or more points.  By law, notice to your address of record with the NYS DMV is deemed constructive notice of receipt of assessment penalty. This is because under NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law and DMV regulations a motorist is under an affirmative duty to notify the DMV of an address change within 10 days of the change. Often motorists neglect to change their address and do not get the assessment notice. A default in paying the assessment triggers a license or NYS driving privilege suspension, which causes even more fees to lift the suspension. Further, driving on a suspended license is a crime.

Other Assessments

Other convictions and findings also result in a NYS DMV assessment. Being convicted of a drug or alcohol related driving offense triggers a $750.00 assessment. A finding of refusal to submit to a chemical test likewise triggers an assessment of $750.00. A conviction of operating without insurance under NY VTL § 319, in addition to a 1 year license revocation the total assessment is $750.00.

If you want to know more about assessments and NY speeding and traffic ticket defense, check out our web site or give us a call anytime toll free at 1-877-99-No-Tix (1-877-996-6849).