WNYT.com

Speeding ticket plan draws controversy

Posted at: 01/23/2013 7:53 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - One day after Governor Cuomo delivered his budget plan at the State Capitol, there's growing controversy over his plan to raise money on speeding tickets.

That means you could end up paying bigger fines when you take a speeding ticket to court.

Drivers and attorneys we talked to don't like the plan.

By making it harder to plea bargain a ticket to a lesser charge, they say it could put an undue burden on the courts and driver's pocket books.

Carl Gottstein is all revved up about the Governor's speeding ticket plan,  making it harder to plea bargain speeding tickets, and to add an 80 dollar surcharge for non moving violations.

“I think they should have some kind of feeling for us…Those of us that don't make a lot of money. I don't make Governor money. Give us a break Governor,” says Gottstein.

Gottstein says he's a prime example of why the plan isn't fair. In 2010, he got a ticket for driving 90 in a 45 mile per hour zone. He plea bargained it down to a parking infraction, with no points on his license, paying near 400 dollars in fines that went to East Greenbush Town Court, not the state.

Attorney Randall Kehoe says if the Governor restricts plea bargains, more people will take their case to trial, creating a bottleneck, for the courts. A prospect that Colonie Town Justice Peter Crummey says would be a challenge to handle and for some, hard to afford.

“If we continue to impose taxes and fees on top of the penalties already prescribed by state government, it becomes an onerous task for many, and what happens is, and my file cabinets prove it, that what we have here is that people can't pay,” says Crummey.

Gottstein says he learned his lesson with a big fine, and feels future drivers can't take on more penalties and higher insurance.

“That 400 bucks for the fine was like a week's pay for me. A lot of money. I don't want to pay 600 dollars 200 more for the state and somewhere else and my insurance gets hiked and everything else,” says Gottstein.

Governor Cuomo says the state could be taking in 58 million dollars a year with his speeding ticket plan.

The plan will be debated by Legislators in the week's ahead.