Ticket For Inadequate Brakes (VTL 375(1)) in Central New York

Every traffic ticket is something to take seriously, but being cited for inadequate brakes in New York is more concerning than going a few miles over the speed limit. Equipment violations such as driving with bad brakes could be classified as a misdemeanor. Under New York Law, misdemeanors may result in a permanent criminal record. 

If you or someone you know has been cited for inadequate brakes, you may be able to successfully contest the ticket. Our experienced central New York traffic ticket lawyers understand the nuances of New York traffic laws. We will fight to make sure your rights and driving record are protected. 

To learn more about how we can help, contact The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers today for a free consultation. 

What are inadequate brakes?

Drivers sometimes forget they are not endangering only themselves by driving vehicles that don’t operate properly. They are also endangering all the drivers and pedestrians around them. Driving with inadequate brakes is dangerous and irresponsible. 

To be considered safe, brakes should meet these minimum requirements:

  • No rusted or defective brake caliper
  • Wear sensors should not be engaged
  • Brake pads should not be damaged or, if disc brakes, be worn to the metal
  • No damaged or leaking hoses
  • No brittle, frayed, or frozen brake cables
  • Parking brake must keep the car in place when in gear and at a slight pace
  • No mechanical damage in the drums or rotors

Brakes that fail to safely stop a vehicle when they are engaged may be deemed inadequate. 

Understanding VTL Section 375(1)

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 375(1) states that every motor vehicle driven on public highways should have adequate brakes. If you receive a citation for bad brakes, it will be written as a violation of this specific law. However, several other existing New York laws influence the punishments involved with VTL 375(1). 

New York Penal Legislation 15.15 says that unless a law states otherwise, criminal intent must be considered to establish a crime. This point of law can be confusing and misleading when it comes to inadequate brakes. 

First, criminal intent does not necessarily mean a driver intended to cause an accident by not stopping safely.

It may refer to a driver’s intent to ignore the law and knowingly drive a vehicle that is not in safe operating conditions. This could happen when an inspection reveals the brakes need repair but the driver ignores the warning and continues using the vehicle as is. 

Neither Vehicle Traffic Law 375(1) nor 375(2) require intent, yet neither law clearly states whether you can be convicted without intent. 

Can you be convicted of a misdemeanor for simply having bad brakes, or must the state prove you had criminal intent? It would seem that New York’s vehicle laws and state laws are at odds. 

Ultimately, because the state requires vehicles to undergo yearly safety inspections, prosecutors must prove that a driver knew about their inadequate or defective brakes and drove the car anyway. 

The New York Legislature amended early laws to make it easier for drivers to have automotive repairs completed without the added financial burden of punitive action. However, those changes did not include bad brakes. This shows how serious New York lawmakers are on the issue of driving with inadequate brakes. 

Should you hire a traffic ticket attorney?

The penalties for driving with bad brakes are serious. In addition to a potential misdemeanor criminal charge, you will have four points attached to your driver’s license. Exceeding 11 points will result in license suspension. There are many good reasons to fight a traffic ticket, including one for inadequate brakes. 

Consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney if:

  • This is your first citation
  • The four additional points will result in a suspended license
  • You were driving safely when pulled over
  • There are errors on the ticket
  • Your most recent inspection did not find faulty brakes

Hiring an attorney is always advisable if you’ve been accused of a crime, which is the case with inadequate brakes. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and may be able to help you avoid having a misdemeanor on your permanent criminal record. 

Discuss Your Inadequate Brake Violation With an Attorney

You could face serious consequences for violating New York Vehicle Traffic Law 375(1) or 375(2). It’s not in your best interests to plead guilty and pay the fine without seeking legal counsel. Challenging the ticket could save time and money and the stress of having a criminal record.Our attorneys know New York traffic laws and are committed to providing every client with the best legal counsel. Contact The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers in central New York today and schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.