Following too closely, known as tailgating, is a common cause of traffic accidents. For this reason, New York’s various traffic authorities vigorously police these violations. However, innocent drivers are sometimes caught up in the zealous efforts at stopping this accident catalyst.
Fortunately, a tailgating charge doesn’t equate to a guilty conviction. With a skilled New York City traffic ticket lawyer handling your case, you’ve got a chance at beating the charge by asserting one of a few different defenses.
What is tailgating?
Under New York law, tailgating occurs when someone is not driving at a reasonable and prudent distance from the car in front of them. There is no exact distance that covers every traffic situation. Sometimes, you may find yourself bumper to bumper with another vehicle and still be within the law.
Penalties for Tailgating
The penalties are stiff and could result in negative consequences for your license. It is frequently in your best interests to have a traffic ticket lawyer take a look at your case.
Mandatory tailgating fines are:
- Up to $150 for a first violation
- Up to $300 for a second offense
- Up to $450 for a third offense
- Four points on your license
Regarding the points on your license, it’s important to know that your license can be suspended if you get more than 11 points in an 18-month period. If you get six or more points during the same time period, then you are required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee.
Defenses Used for Tailgating
If you are ever charged with tailgating, the first step towards beating the case is to never admit guilt. In the heat of the moment, it might be tempting to apologize or utter some other implied admission. However, doing so will likely do damage to your defense.
Instead, your first step after the ticket should be to seek the services of a skilled New York traffic ticket lawyer. They will review the facts and evidence in your case and decide what, if any, defenses might be available. Without one, you are alone against the government and its staff of lawyers.
Here are some of the most common defenses to tailgating charges:
You Weren’t Tailgating
The facts of your case will determine whether you were tailgating or not. Under the circumstances of the incident, were you following at a reasonably prudent distance? If the answer is no, then you were tailgating.
Using this defense will require your traffic ticket attorney to argue that based on the facts that gave rise to your ticket, such as speed, visibility, road conditions, and other factors, your distance from the car in front of you was reasonably prudent.
Evidence to prove your reasonableness can come in the form of weather and traffic conditions as well as from witnesses and cameras.
Another Driver Is at Fault
A traffic ticket attorney may be able to argue that you aren’t to blame for following too closely. There are times when you actually may have been tailgating, but it wasn’t your fault. For instance, imagine you are driving along at a safe distance, and the car in front of you slows down suddenly, dramatically reducing the distance between you. If an officer spots this scene at the right time, you might appear to be a tailgater.
Tailgating Was a Pretext to Investigate You or Your Vehicle
Tailgating may be used as a pretext to pull you over for something else. If this is the case, you truly were not tailgating, which means the officer has no proof of it happening. Cameras and witnesses are all valuable pieces of evidence your attorney can use for your defense.
Fight Traffic Tickets Effectively
At New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers, we fight hard for the most favorable outcomes for our clients. Our team of seasoned traffic ticket attorneys has spent thousands of hours successfully representing clients against traffic charges. We serve clients throughout Central New York, including, Madison County, Sullivan County, Oneida County, Oswego County, Cortland County, and Cayuga County. Contact our team today.