What to do if your minor child received a speeding ticket and pleaded guilty without your knowledge

What to do if your minor child received a speeding ticket and pleaded guilty without your knowledge | Syracuse, NY MCV Law

Question: My teenage daughter just got her license two months ago, received a speeding ticket and did not want her parents to know so she went to court and plead guilty to the ticket. I subsequently found out about it. Is there anything I can do at this time to help her and myself, since she is covered under my auto insurance?

Answer: There are a number of issues involved in this but the short answer is yes, there is something you can do. Your daughter receiving and pleading guilty to a speeding ticket is a conviction. If she has only had her driver’s license for a few months in all likelihood the conviction is during the probationary period as set forth by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. This could result in a suspension or revocation of her driver’s license depending on the severity of the speeding ticket.

If you have not already added her to your auto policy as an extra driver within your household then you should do so. Doing so will increase your insurance rates as it is an increased risk to the insurance company. In all likelihood if the insurance company becomes aware of the conviction for the speeding ticket your rates may even go up higher.

While we all want to teach our children a lesson and let them suffer fair and reasonable punishment for their mistakes, in cases such as this it is not in your or your daughters best interests to allow a speeding conviction to stay on her driver’s license. Therefore, a motion should be made as soon as is possible to vacate her conviction. This type of motion is commonly known as a Coram Nobis Motion.

The Coram Nobis Motion is made through the court where the guilty plea and conviction was entered. In sum and substance, the Coram Nobis asks the Judge to vacate the conviction based upon your daughter, the defendant, being unrepresented by an attorney and being ignorant and not knowing the ramifications of her guilty plea to the charge. This motion should be made as soon as is possible as the more time that passes the more difficult it is to have the Judge grant the motion and the impact of the conviction with regard to fines, penalties, surcharges, increased auto insurance rates, etc. to take effect.

If the motion to vacate the conviction is successful then this does not conclude the final disposition of the case. The conviction being vacated simply places the defendant in the same position as she was prior to her entry of the guilty plea. However, this gives the opportunity to negotiate a plea disposition for a dismissal or a lesser charge, which would not have the same penalties and ramifications with regard to her driver’s license. For example: if the speeding ticket was reduced to a charge which was a no-point non-moving violation then it would not have the same penalties and ramifications with regard to your daughters driver’s license, court fines, points on her license, and potential increase in insurance rates.

The best advice is that if anyone you know receives a ticket for a moving or point violation that it is recommended that they retain the assistance of an attorney to obtain a reduction of the charge. The end result is that the cost for the attorney will probably be less than the overall cost and expenses, which may result from a conviction of the original charge, when taken into consideration all fines, penalties, surcharges, and increase in insurance rates over the course of time.

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