City of White Plains, NY Speeding and Traffic Court Defense Lawyers
The City of White Plains, New York is a city in central Westchester County and the County Seat. The White Plains City Court is located at 77 South Lexington Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601. The court hears all moving violations and speeding cases, as well as automobile crimes and criminal misdemeanors such as aggravated unlicensed operation, NY VTL § 511.Case Study White Plains City Court
Client was charged with multiple counts arising from the same stop. Client was charged with improper left turn from a one way roadway, driving the wrong way on a 1 way street, and improper U-turn. What the client really did was make a U-turn and in doing so partially entered a 1 way street as part of the arch of the turn. This occurred on a side street at 3:30 p.m. when there was no traffic around.
Arguably, the only violation the client committed was improper U-turn, however even that was speculative at best. Nonetheless, because my client was alleged to have committed these several infractions in the same incident, and the violations charged go to prevent the same “harm or evil,” then charging all 3 charges instead of just one violates New York’s Constitution as well as statutory protections against Double Jeopardy.
Under the New York State Constitution, Art. 1, § 6 a person may not be prosecuted for two or more offenses based upon the same act or criminal transaction unless the offenses as defined have substantially different elements, or each offense contains an element which is not an element of the other, and they are designed to prevent very different kinds of harm or evil. These constitutional protections are also codified word for word in New York’s Criminal Procedure Law, CPL § 40.20. In other words, what this all means is that even though the act to violate the U-turn statute is different from the act to violate driving the wrong way on a 1 way street, when the violations occur in the same transaction and are designed to prevent similar harm, then the state cannot prosecute multiple counts even though arguably several statutes were violated.
Multiple counts on a traffic stop are problematic, because to the court it appears as though the motorist was acting in a reckless manor, and if found guilty across the board the fines can range in the thousands, the insurance increase can be extreme, and the points could trigger a license suspension. And this is what our client was facing here. While the prosecution did offer a reduced offer, it was nowhere near what it had to be to make sense to our client. So we perfected a motion to dismiss on double jeopardy grounds.
Did the case get dismissed? No. However, even better upon receiving the motion the prosecutor changed their positon and offered my client a 0 point parking ticket with a low fine. We accepted this instead of continue with our application for dismissal. We did this for several reasons. First, even though our office has prevailed in other similar motions to dismiss, you never know what a court is going to do. Second, if we prevail the prosecutor could file an appeal, which would require that our client either defend the appeal by themselves or retain my office or another to represent them before the appellate court, which is a very expensive proposition. Lastly, and even more important, is that once I allocate on a reduced offer it is a “final adjudication on the merits.” This means that it is done, dead, over, and cannot be overturned or vacated. For a 0 point resolution you can view the fine as buying finality and a guarantee that your insurance will not increase or your driving privileges be put in jeopardy. No matter how strong of a legal position a motorist has, allocating on a reduced offer that will reach your goal of keeping your license clean and insurance low is always the better way to go.