Town of Otsego
New York


Traffic Court

Procedure for Handling Traffic Tickets

  • Review your ticket(s) to determine if you have been issued a ticket for a "misdemeanor" or "traffic infraction". You can locate this information by looking approximately 2/3 down on the ticket on the right side of the ticket.
  • If the "misdemeanor" box is checked, you must appear in the Otsego Town Court to be arraigned before a Town of Otsego Court Judge on the return date written on the ticket. You can not use the instructions mentioned below for using the mail.
  • If the "traffic infraction" box is checked, you may either appear in person or use the 'mail-in plea' option and you have the following options:

Pleading Guilty
If you are charged with a traffic infraction you can plead guilty by mail, using the reverse side of the ticket, marked "Part A". Follow the instructions and send the completed form to Otsego Town Court, P.O. Box 57, Fly Creek, NY 13337. Note that the form contains space for you to include an explanation about the violation, should you wish to do so. Be sure to show your current address so we can contact you.

Upon receipt of your guilty plea a Judge will determine the fine and the court will notify you of the amount of the fine and the mandatory surcharge, by mail. You will be expected to pay the total due to the court within 30 days by certified check or postal money order payable to Otsego Town Court. If you need time to pay, contact the court clerk, and "reasonable" arrangements will be made.

Pleading Not Guilty
You can also plead not guilty by mail, using the reverse side of the ticket, marked "Part B". Follow the instructions and send the completed form to Otsego Town Court, P.O. Box 57, Fly Creek, NY 13337. You have the option of requesting a supporting deposition which is a sworn statement from the ticketing officer that contains a more detailed explanation of the basis for the charge than is provided on the ticket. If you mail a not guilty plea you do not need to appear in court on the date stated on the ticket. Be sure to show your current address so that we can contact you.

Upon receipt of your not guilty plea the court will schedule a trial and you will receive notice of the trail date by mail. A trial is the proceeding at which a judge will make a determination whether you are guilty or not guilty. At the trial the officer who issued the ticket will testify and you will have the opportunity to cross-examine him/her. Thereafter, you and your witnesses, if any, will have the opportunity to testify. The police officer can cross-examine your witnesses and you, if you testify. When the testimony is completed the Judge will make a decision and will usually announce it in court after the trial. If you are found not guilty, the matter is completed. If you are found guilty, the Judge will determine the fine and arrangements for payment of the fine and the mandatory surcharge will be made.

Court Appearance Instead of A Plea by Mail
You have the option to appear in court on the date designated on the face of the ticket (bring photo ID). At that time you may enter a plea and/or ask for a trial. If you plead guilty, you will have the opportunity to provide an explanation to the judge. Your explanation will be taken into consideration upon sentencing.

You Can Contact the Assistant District Attorney
You may wish to review the circumstances of your ticket either in person in Court or by mail with an Assistant District Attorney. You may speak with an Assistant District Attorney on next scheduled ADA Day after your initial court date (the date and time written at the bottom of your ticket). You must first respond to the ticket before contacting the ADA (click here to see a calendar of ADA dates for this Court).

The prosecutor may choose to offer you a plea to a lesser infraction. If an offer is made, you can choose to accept it and plead guilty to the offer; or reject it, plead not guilty, and be scheduled for a non-jury trial. Any offer made by the Prosecutor is only a recommended offer. The Court does not have to accept the recommendation of the Prosecutor. If you wish, you may request consideration from the prosecutor by mailing a letter explaining the circumstances of the ticket to the District Attorneys Office at 197 Main Street, Cooperstown, New York 13326. You MUST enclose a copy of your ticket, your full name and current address, and a phone number where you may be reached. If you have misplaced your copy of the ticket, you should obtain a copy from the Court Clerk.

Note: Before pleading guilty to a ticket issued as a result of an accident, you may wish to consult with an attorney and/or your insurance company about possible civil liability for personal injuries arising from the accident.

After you have received a written offer from the District Attorney's Office, you MUST contact the Court. If you are accepting the offer of the District Attorney, you must file your written acceptance of the offer with the Court by mailing or bringing to Court the 'Application For Reduction of Charges Form", signed by both the Assistant District Attorney and by YOU. Once the offer is accepted by the Court, you will be assessed a fine and mandatory surcharge. If you do NOT accept the offer of the District Attorney and continue your plea of Not Guilty or if the Court does NOT accept the recommendation of the District Attorney, a non-jury trial will be scheduled.

If you are assessed a fine and mandatory surcharge:
You must make payment to the court as directed by the Court. If you submit a written plea of guilty, you will be mailed a fine letter indicating the amount of the fine and the date that the fine must be paid. Be sure that your current mailing address is on file with the Court.
If you appear in Court, the court will verbally advise you of the amount of the fine and the date that payment is due. If you forget the date that payment is due, you may contact the Town Court.

The Court does not accept personal or business checks. Payment MUST be made in cash (do NOT send cash through the mail), money order or bank certified check made payable to the Otsego Town Court

If you are paying in person, you should appear at the Clerk's office. If you are paying by mail, you should include a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of your receipt.

Point System
If you are convicted of a violation that occurred while your car was moving (e.g. speeding, failing to stop for stop sign or a red light, etc.), points will be assigned to you by DMV based on a schedule adopted by the New York State legislature. If you accumulate three speeding violations or 11 points within an 18 month period, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license. The number of points attributed to various common infractions are as follows.


POINTS........ VIOLATION
3 - Points ..... Speeding (mph over posted limit): 1 to 10
4 - Points ..... Speeding (mph over posted limit): 11 to 20
6 - Points ..... Speeding (mph over posted limit): 21 to 30
8 - Points ..... Speeding (mph over posted limit):31 to 40
11 - Points ..... Speeding (mph over posted limit): More than 40
5 - Points ..... Reckless Driving
5 - Points ..... Failing to stop for school bus
4 - Points ..... Following too closely (tailgating)
4 - Points ..... Inadequate brakes (While driving employer's vehicle)
2 - Points ..... Failing to yield right-of-way
3 - Points ..... Violation of traffic signal, stop sign, or yield sign
3 - Points ..... Railroad crossing violation
3 - Points ..... Improper passing or lane use
3 - Points ..... Leaving scene of an incident involving property damage or injury to an animal
3 - Points ..... Child safety restraint violation
2 - Points ..... Failure to obey a traffic control device, turning, and most other moving violations.

Legal Advice
Remember, you are always entitled to be represented in Court by an attorney. Whether or not you need an attorney to handle your traffic infraction is a personal decision that only you can make. If your license is in jeopardy based on the point system or if a traffic charge resulted from an accident, you are well advised to consult an attorney.

REMEMBER: If you fail to respond to a traffic ticket OR if you fail to pay fines and surcharges,
your privileges to drive in New York State will be suspended.

WANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION? Click here to jump to NYS DMV's FAQ page.

Last Updated:
June 30, 2004
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