The Columbia County District Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of all offenses in the county. In addition to crimes, that includes all Vehicle and Traffic infractions, such as speeding, motor vehicle equipment and stop light violations, etc. If you (or your client) has been charged with such a Vehicle and Traffic infraction (not a misdemeanor or felony) and would like to “plea bargain” (that is, receive an offer to plead guilty to a less serious offense or an offense with fewer “points”), follow the instructions below.
VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC TICKET REQUEST FOR REDUCTION / PLEA BARGAIN
Is it possible for me to benefit from a Vehicle and Traffic plea bargain?
If you and the DA agree to such a plea bargain and the Court approves that plea bargain, there may be a reduction of points on your driver’s license and fines.
You may be able to resolve the traffic ticket by internet and mail, in which case you may not need to appear personally in court, although that is within the Court’s discretion.
You may also be able to resolve your ticket more quickly.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A REDUCTION / PLEA BARGAIN?
You have the right to retain an attorney. The New York State Bar Association has a list of Attorneys: https://www.findalawyernys.org/. The District Attorney strongly recommends that you retain an attorney.
Be advised, no one in the District Attorney's Office is permitted to give you advice, legal or otherwise, regarding your request for a plea bargain.
The following charges will not be reduced by means of this website application: VTL 1144 (a) (a): Failure to Yield the Right of Way to Emergency Vehicle (Absent extraordinary circumstances) VTL 1144 (a): Failure to Yield the Right of Way to Emergency Vehicle (Absent extraordinary circumstances) VTL 1229 c 1b: Back Seat Passenger Age 4-6: No Safety Belt VTL 1229 c 1c: Back Seat Passenger Age 7-15: No Safety Restraint VTL 1174: Failure to Stop for Stopped School Bus.
In order for you to be eligible to apply for a plea bargain of your traffic ticket, your Vehicle and Traffic Ticket must be for a non-criminal offense, i.e. an infraction. Alcohol-related, drug-related and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation offenses are not eligible for plea-bargains by this means. (For those more serious offenses, it is even more important for you to retain an attorney.)
Requests for a reduction / plea bargain of a traffic ticket should be submitted online at www.columbiacountyny.com/trafficticket. If you are unable to utilize our website for any reason, you may request an application in writing to: "Columbia County District Attorney's Office, 325 Columbia Street, Suite 260, Hudson, NY 12534 Attention: Traffic Bureau."
You must submit the online form with all the necessary information as soon as possible and well in advance of your next scheduled court date. (Please Note: The District Attorney does not have copies of your traffic ticket(s).) Please understand that staff persons of the Office of District Attorney may require more than SIX WEEKS to process your application for a plea bargain.
You must also contact the Court to request an adjournment of your Court date. Merely requesting a reduction/ plea bargain does not automatically excuse you from your scheduled Court appearances, or from any other Court Order. It is entirely within the Court’s discretion to grant or deny any adjournments you may request.
Once your reduction / plea bargain request is fully submitted to the DA’s Office via www.columbiacountyny.com/trafficticket, the DA may make a plea bargain offer. Allow up to six (6) weeks for your request to be processed. (Please Note: You have no right to a reduction / plea bargain.)
If you wish to accept the plea bargain the DA may offer, then you must promptly sign it and submit it to the court. A delay in doing so may result in additional consequences for you, including suspension of your license.
If you reject the plea bargain offer, you must notify the court and the court will inform you of your trial date.
The Judge is the final arbiter of your case. The Judge will decide whether to accept your plea bargain and will determine the amount of the fine you must pay. If the Judge does not approve the plea bargain, the Judge will schedule your case for trial on a date the Judge will determine.
You will only receive, at most, one (1) plea bargain offer. If either you or the Court rejects that offer, the DA will not make another offer.