Is there a statute of limitations on traffic violations?

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Is there a statute of limitations on traffic violations?

In 2006 I received a summons for an expired inspections sticker (Airmont, NY). I reported to the town court and was told I would receive a notice in the mail to report to court. I did not receive a notice until April of 2009. Does the town have the right to bring this claim against me after this much time has lapsed?

Asked on May 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A statute of limitations only has to do with when the charges are filed, not with when they are tried.  So that isn't the question that matters here.

The U.S. Constitution give you the right to a speedy trial, but in most states, you have to make a written demand for a speedy trial, after a certain amount of time, to make use of that.

I'm not sure why you want to fight this ticket in the first place, since the sticker was expired, after all -- I'm assuming, here, that the police officer who wrote the summons wasn't just making this up.  I'm sure that the police officer doesn't remember you or your car, after at least two and a half years, but you probably can't prove that.

You can write to the town prosecutor, or try to talk to him when you go to court if you get there early.  There's a chance that he might decide to simply drop the matter, rather than have the court clerk's office be embarrassed by having you complain about the delay in front of everyone.


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