Starting in September, New York state troopers will no longer be allowed to negotiate lower traffic infractions for drivers who contest their tickets, a move prosecutors say will clog up local courts around the state., reports the Associated Press. Currently, drivers pulled over for speeding or other moving violations often plead not guilty. They show up at court weeks later and have the charge reduced by the trooper – not a judge – before the first court appearance to avoid a trial. The practice allows a quick resolution to many cases and still brings in money for the state and towns where the offense occurred.
For a driver, the plea also can mean fewer “points” or infractions against his or her license that could result in higher insurance premiums and eventual loss of driving privileges. Now state police officials have directed troopers to stop making deals with those they ticket and leave that responsibility to local prosecutors. They say allowing troopers to carry out the duty is unethical because it forces motorists to bargain with the officer who has charged them and poses a threat to public safety by keeping officers from road patrol.