The Traffic Violations Bureau, or TVB, is an administrative agency in New York that is part of the DMV. The TVB handles traffic tickets issued in all 5 boroughs of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester as well as parts of Suffolk County.
How is the TVB different from other NY traffic courts?
The biggest difference is the fact that there is no plea bargaining process. If you wish to contest a traffic violation charge at the TVB you must enter a plea of not guilty and attend a hearing. If you win the hearing, it is as if the ticket was never issued. If you lose, you will get the points and pay the fine that comes with the violation in question.
What can I do if I lose my traffic hearing at the TVB?
If you are found guilty after a trial at the TVB, you have 30 days to file an appeal.
The following are some things to consider when deciding whether to appeal a TVB decision:
1. Has it been less than 30 days since the TVB decision? If more than 30 days have elapsed, you can forget it.
2. Have you paid your fine yet? You must pay your TVB fine before anyone will consider your appeal. If you are successful your money will be returned.
3. It will cost $10 per ticket to file the appeal.
4. You can file the appeal by mailing a form to the Appeals Board or by completing a similar form online. The form to mail can be found at http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/forms/aa33.pdf and an appeal can be filed online at http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/webAppeals/default.html
5. If you have been or will be suspended or revoked as a result of the TVB decision, you can request a stay. This will keep your license valid while the appeal is pending.
6. Once your initial appeal form has been submitted, you wait for a letter from the private transcription company that reviews the recording of the hearing and creates a transcript. This company will request a $50 deposit for the transcript fee and you have 30 days to pay it.
7. When your transcript arrives via mail, you have 30 days to review it and submit your arguments to the Appeals Board. Your written arguments should refer to specific pages and lines on the transcript.
8. The Appeals Board is only looking for legal (not factual) errors by the judge at the hearing. The hearing judge is the one who decides which facts to accept. You say you stopped at the stop sign, officer says otherwise, judge believes the officer. That is a factual determination. On the other hand, if the officer fails to tell the judge the exact location of this stop sign and the judge still finds you guilty, this is a potentially reversible mistake of law. The location of the sign is a basic element of the charge and without this testimony the judge should dismiss regardless of anything else in the case. Failure to dismiss is arguably a legal error on the part of the judge.
9. The appeal is all done via internet/mail. Filing, transcript ordering, argument submission and delivery of a decision are all done without any hearings or court appearances.
10. The TVB handles the entire case to this point. You had your hearing at a TVB office and you appealed to the TVB Appeals Board. If you lost your appeal, you do have the opportunity to start an Article 78 Proceeding. This is an appeal of a decision by an administrative agency (the TVB) to the real NY court system. This is a completely different kind of appeal and is recommended in only a very select and small percentage of traffic violation convictions.
Scott Feifer is a partner at Feifer and Greenberg, LLP, a New York law firm with a focus on traffic tickets and driving related legal issues throughout NY State. Feifer and Greenberg assists thousands of motorists each year and offers hundreds of free consultations every week. You can read more at NYTicketHELP.com