Law Firm of Sean Imran

Do Defendants Need to Appear in Person For Traffic Cases in NY?

By Law Firm of Sean Imran

When facing a traffic violation, many individuals find themselves wondering whether they need to appear in person in court or if they can have an attorney represent them. Navigating the legal system can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the rules surrounding attorney representation in traffic violation cases. Let's explore the legality of attorney representation in these cases and whether defendants need to appear in person.

The Role of Attorneys in Traffic Violation Cases

Attorneys play a crucial role in helping individuals navigate the complexities of traffic violation cases. They are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding traffic violations and can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the legal process. Whether it's negotiating a plea deal, challenging the evidence against you, or representing you in court, having an experienced attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Do Defendants Need to Appear in Person?

One of the common questions that arise in traffic violation cases is whether defendants need to appear in person in court. In many cases, having an attorney represent you can eliminate the need for you to appear in person. Your attorney can appear on your behalf, saving you time and the hassle of having to go to court.

At Law Firm of Sean Imran, once we accept representation of a client, we prepare all the necessary documents and send it to our clients for their signature who are eligible to not appear in court.

In New York, a client can expressly "waive" the right to be present for an arraignment or sentence, including for traffic violation offenses and misdemeanor traffic offenses. The defendant's right to be present at arraignment and sentencing does not fall within the class of those fundamental rights that may not be waived. See People v. Reyes, 72 Misc. 3d 1133. The defendant must be informed not only of the right to be present at the proceedings, but also of the consequences for failing to appear. See People v. Lakatosz, 59 A.D.3d 813. The defendant's waiver must be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. See People v Rossborough, 27 N.Y.3d 485, People v. Cotton, 163 Misc. 2d 943, People v. LaValley, 73 Misc. 3d 1127. The defendant must sign a written waiver of his in-person appearance. See People v. Lawhorn, 206 A.D.3d 1630. However, there is no statutory law or a case that specifies whether the written consent needs to be notarized. 

In New York, a defendant facing traffic violation offenses may enter a plea in several ways, including in person, by a duly authorized agent, or by mail.  
See People v. Scherbner, 21 Misc. 3d 251. However, a defendant charged with three or more speeding offenses within 18 months must appear personally at his arraignment, unless exempted by statute. See People v. Doe, 91 Misc. 2d 461. For misdemeanor traffic offenses, there is no requirement for the defendant to be brought immediately before a judge or held in custody until arraignment. Once an attorney has appeared on a defendant's behalf, the police may not question an accused in the absence of counsel without an affirmative waiver, in the attorney's presence, of the right to counsel. See People v. Leonard, 113 A.D.2d 258.

attorney traffic violation

Understanding the Legal Requirements

It's important to understand the legal requirements in your jurisdiction regarding attorney representation in traffic violation cases. While many jurisdictions may allow attorneys to represent defendants without their presence in court, others may require defendants to appear in person, especially in more serious cases.

Factors Considered by the Court

When deciding whether a defendant's personal appearance is necessary, the court will consider several factors. These factors may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but they often include:

ā—‹ The seriousness of the charges
ā—‹ The defendant's criminal history
ā—‹ The defendant's willingness to comply with court orders
ā—‹ The potential impact of the defendant's absence on the administration of   justice

Benefits of Having an Attorney

Hiring an attorney to represent you in a traffic violation case can offer numerous benefits. Some of the advantages of having legal representation include:

  • Expertise in traffic laws and regulations
  • Negotiation skills to potentially reduce fines or penalties
  • Ability to challenge evidence presented against you
  • Representation in court proceedings

Having an attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case.

Consulting with an Attorney

If you're unsure about whether you need to appear in person for your traffic violation case, it's best to consult with an experienced attorney. They can provide you with guidance on the legal requirements in your jurisdiction and advise you on the best course of action to take.

legal consultation

Final Thoughts

While the rules surrounding attorney representation in traffic violation cases can vary depending on the jurisdiction, having legal representation can be invaluable in navigating the legal system. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that your rights are protected and increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your case. Call us for a free conusultation at (631) 533-2233.