Blowing Through Toll Booths Without Paying Just Got Costlier

ez_passRefusing to pay a toll can result in expensive fines and, possibly, a suspended vehicle registration. Those penalties have now gone up. The New York State Thruway Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has increased the fines for non-payment of tolls to $50 and $100, depending on the location. The new rules were announced in January 2016 and took effect earlier this month.  

The higher penalty will apply at the Tappan Zee, Bronx-Whitestone, Triborough Bridge, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, as well as at the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels. The lower penalty will apply at the Henry Hudson, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial, and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial bridges, as well as at other parts of the Thruway.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York State Bridge Authority are reviewing their policies to see if an increase is pertinent in their jurisdictions.

The change is part of an ongoing plan to move to all-electronic tolling, which will read the license plates of cars without E-ZPasses and send them bills in the mail. The Henry Hudson bridge has been piloting the system since 2012 and the Tappan Zee bridge began using it in April 2016. Governor Cuomo hopes to see the system implemented statewide by the end of next year.

New York drivers who fail to pay five tolls or more in 18 months could see their vehicle registration suspended. Driving an unregistered vehicle is less dangerous than driving without a valid license, but still carries significant consequences. If you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle, you could face up to $400 in fines plus 15 days in jail. This could negatively affect your driving record and impact your insurance rates.

If your registration or driver’s license has been suspended for any reason, please do not get behind the wheel and hire a skilled attorney right away. The attorneys of the Rosenblum Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to get you the results you want and mitigate the most serious consequences. Call us at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation.

Cop Who Killed MIT Student Has License Suspended – Again

A former police officer indicted for driving drunk and running over four college students in Brooklyn has had his license suspended for the second time since the incident. New York Supreme Court Justice William Miller ordered Nicolas Batka to surrender his driver’s license shortly after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea to all charges on Wednesday, September 21.

Batka’s license was first suspended after the crash, but the DMV reinstated it when the arresting officer didn’t show up to a July 26 hearing. “There’s an indictment. It’s just common sense to suspend the license,” said Justice Miller.

“I wasn’t driving. I’m not sure who was driving,” Batka allegedly told police at the scene of crash.

Batka is accused of driving his gray Dodge Durango onto the sidewalk after a night of drinking with two fellow officers. Prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol content of .23, nearly three times the legal limit, two hours after the crash.

The accident took the life of Andrew Equivel, 21, an MIT student living in New York City for the summer. Three other victims—Sophia Tabchhouri, 20, Divya Menezes, 20, and James Balchunas, 24—were severely injured in the crash, suffering multiple fractures and severe trauma to their limbs.

If convicted, Batka faces up to 25 years in prison. He is due back in court on Dec. 15.

In New York, driving with a suspended or revoked license is called “Aggravated Unlicensed Operation” (AUO) and can result in a jail sentence between 30 days and six months and up to $1,000 in fines. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a suspended license is a felony that can lead to fines of up to $5,000 and an indefinite jail sentence depending on the circumstances.

If you have been arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license, it is absolutely vital to hire an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help you get the results you want. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Facial Recognition Software Upgrade Leads to Over 100 Arrests in NY

Photo courtesy Sean-Franc Strang via Flickr.

Photo courtesy Sean-Franc Strang via Flickr.

More than 100 people have been arrested thanks to New York State Department of Motor Vehicles’ upgraded facial recognition program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on August 24. An additional 900 cases have been opened since the launch in January.

Every driver license or non-driver photo ID issued through the DMV must first be cleared through the facial recognition system. The upgrade doubled the number of measurement points mapped to each digitized photograph, increasing the likelihood of a photo matching to one that already exists in the DMV’s database. The improved system can also overlay images, invert colors, and convert images to black and white to better see scars and other identifying features. In addition, it can account for features that change over time, such as hairstyles, glasses, and changes due to aging.

The upgrade increases the state’s ability to remove high-risk drivers from the road and helps combat identity theft and fraud. DMV investigators have been working with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to apprehend those caught by facial recognition technology.  Such individuals  typically face one or more felony charges and nearly half of those arrested by DMV investigators are accused of using a stolen identity to obtain a license even though their driving privileges had been suspended or revoked.

Since the facial recognition technology was implemented in 2010, more than 3,800 individuals have been arrested for possessing multiple licenses. Additionally, more than 10,800 facial recognition cases have been solved administratively, without the need for an arrest. If the transactions are too old to pursue criminal prosecution, DMV is still able to hold subjects accountable by revoking licenses and moving all tickets, convictions, and crashes to the individual’s true record.

“Facial recognition plays a critical role in keeping our communities safer by cracking down on individuals who break the law,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is leading the nation with this technology, and the results from our use of this enhanced technology are proof positive that its use is vital in making our roads safer and holding fraudsters accountable.”

Recent cases in which enhanced facial recognition technology has helped investigators catch perpetrators include:

  • A man who is accused of filing for a license under a stolen identity. He allegedly stated that his information had not changed and that he never had a suspended or revoked license. However, at the time of his application, his New Jersey commercial driver license under his true name was suspended for four alcohol-related offenses.
  • Nearly two dozen individuals who allegedly modified their names and dates of birth to obtain secondary social security numbers, which were used to get new licenses that allowed them to bypass suspensions, revocations, or higher insurance costs.
  • Five individuals who attempted to take over someone else’s existing New York State DMV record.

Individuals who are arrested based on facial recognition matches are typically charged with filing a false instrument, tampering with public records, and forgery. The DMV also coordinates with several other states and uses facial recognition technology to identify drivers who attempt to exploit the individual state licensing process in an effort to evade traffic tickets, commit insurance fraud, and/or avoid driver responsibility assessments.

If you have been arrested for attempting to illegally obtain a driver’s license, for driving with a forged license, or for any other reason, it is essential that you to hire an attorney has the knowledge and experience to help you get the results you want. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Actress Loses NY Driving Privileges Two Years After NYPD Let Her Go

New Jersey-based actress Caitlin Venedam has been banned from driving in New York more than two years after killing a cyclist in Brooklyn. NYPD originally said bicyclist Matthew Brenner was riding against traffic when he was struck and killed on July 6, 2014. Venedam, then 25, was let off without so much as a ticket.

A civil suit filed by Brenner’s family turned up video evidence that contradicted the police report. It turned out Venedam was distracted by her cell phone as she turned from eastbound Sands Street onto the ramp for the northbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Brenner, the video revealed, was not on the roadway.

The DMV initially refused to hold a hearing to review Venedam’s driving privileges, despite its official policy of doing so after every fatal crash, but a hearing was finally held some two years later. In a deposition, Venedam, who does stand-up comedy and had a bit part on the TV show “Gossip Girl,” admitted to being harried right before the accident. She claimed to have gotten lost, and had been using Google Maps audio prompts in an attempt to get to LaGuardia Airport. She crossed a safety triangle trying to reach the entrance to the expressway, and struck Brenner.

Despite being distracted by her cellphone, Venedam did not technically violate New York’s distracted driving laws as she was listening to Google Maps and was not handling the device while driving. However, State Administrative Law Judge Regina A. Rinaldi concluded that “a contributing factor in Matthew Brenner’s death was the driver’s failure to exercise due care to avoid striking [the cyclist].”

“But for our civil suit, certain things would never have been brought to light, including that she was using Google Maps to guide her,” said Daniel Flanzig, the lawyer for Brenner’s estate. “That should have been used by [NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad]. The Administrative Law Judge would never have had the evidence necessary to revoke her license. The CIS work alone was completely insufficient.”

The video shows Venedam driving close behind a car that veered suddenly to avoid Brenner. Her car then smashed into the cyclist as he tried to make his way to a bike path on the side of the entrance ramp.

She told police at the time she was unaware of what she’d hit. She also admitted that she never went over to see if the cyclist was okay because other motorists had stopped and were already trying to help him.

Brenner’s mother, Franci Brenner, said that she forgives Venedam, but is upset with the NYPD for not conducting a thorough investigation.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving in a state where your driving privileges have been revoked, it is absolutely vital to hire a traffic ticket attorney has the knowledge and experience to help you get the results you want. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of their attorneys.

Retired NBA Star John Wallace Charged with AUO

suspended-drivers-licenseBasketball forward John Wallace was arrested in Brooklyn last month for driving with a suspended license (VTL § 511). Wallace was a Syracuse University NCAA champion and a 1996 draft pick for the New York Knicks. He played seven seasons in the NBA on five different teams.

Wallace was pulled over for not using his blinker. When NYPD officers discovered he was driving with a suspended license, they placed the 6’8” NBA star under arrest for aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO). The original offense that resulted in the suspension was not made public. Wallace was released from custody but faces up to 30 days in jail if convicted of the AUO charge.

A driver may be convicted of AUO in the third degree for driving while knowing or having reason to know that their license is suspended. It is a misdemeanor offense and may result in a permanent criminal record, a fine of $200-$500, and up to 30 days of jail time.

If you have been arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license, it is absolutely vital to hire a traffic ticket attorney has the knowledge and experience to help you get the results you want. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Man Charged with Forgery for Fake License at Traffic Stop

suspended-drivers-licenseSteve Simpson has been charged with second-degree forgery after providing police with a license that was not his own during a traffic stop in Geneseo, New York. Deputy Michael Wade of the Sheriff’s Office stopped Simpson for speeding and passing over the center line on the highway. Simpson gave Deputy Wade a New York State driver’s license, but when the officer checked the status of the license, he found it was suspended.

The deputy arrested Simpson for driving with a suspended license and took him into custody.  However, when taking the driver’s fingerprints, officers received a notification that the person fingerprinted was not the person on the license. Simpson admitted that the license he had provided belonged to his brother and that he had given officers the wrong license because his driving privileges were also suspended. Simpson was charged with second-degree forgery and criminal impersonation for providing someone else’s license. In addition, Deputy Wade reissued traffic tickets to Simpson for speeding, crossing hazardous markings, failure to keep right, unsafe lane change, and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.

In New York, driving with a suspended license constitutes aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO), which is a misdemeanor offense under VTL § 511. You can be convicted of AUO in the third degree if you drive while knowing or having reason to know that your license is suspended. A first time AUO conviction will result in a permanent criminal record, fines ranging from $200-$500, and up to 30 days of jail time. For second and third offenses, the consequences are even more severe.

However, lying to police officers and submitting false documentation are not good ways to avoid an AUO charge as falsifying information could subject you to further criminal charges. If you were charged with driving while suspended, contact an experienced traffic attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that you get the best possible outcome. For information regarding the status of your license or for help with an AUO charge, call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.

Man Caught Speeding Had License Suspended 88 Times

suspended-drivers-licensePennsylvania resident Eric Dunbar was recently arrested after he was stopped for speeding in New York. Though he had a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, Dunbar’s New York license had been suspended 88 times for ignoring traffic tickets. Dunbar was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO) of a motor vehicle. His car was impounded and he was issued citations for speeding and having more than one license.

The state of New York can suspend your in-state driving privileges even if you have an out-of-state license. If you commit a traffic violation or have multiple violations within the state that would be significant enough to suspend a New York driver’s license, you will lose your driving privileges. Your out-of-state license will not be suspended, but you will no longer be allowed to drive in New York.

For instance, if you are an out-of-state driver and are convicted of or plead guilty to traffic tickets equaling 11+ points, you will automatically lose your driving privileges in New York. Similarly, if you are charged with driving 21 mph over the limit twice in one year, you will not be allowed to drive in New York.

If you drive in New York unlawfully, you can be arrested and charged with AUO as Dunbar was. The offense is a misdemeanor which will result in a permanent criminal record and potential jail time.

If you recently received a New York traffic ticket or had your license suspended, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm. Our team of NY traffic ticket lawyers will do all they can to help you get the results you are looking for. Call today at 888-883-5529.

NY DMV to Suspend Licenses of Tax Debtors

suspended-drivers-licenseNew York has been strict about suspending the licenses of those who owe tax debts and the rules are about to become even more rigid.  In 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a program allowing for license suspension if  a New York driver’s past due tax debts met or exceeded $10,000. Now, the state is seeking to lower the minimum debt requirement to $5,000.

The New York State Bar Association expressed concerns that this law would back taxpayers into a corner because a driver’s license is so valuable to everyday life. They also argued the program may be unconstitutional based on a recent California case, Berjikian v. California Franchise Tax Board. In that case, the court found a similar law to be unconstitutional for not giving taxpayers strong enough protections against the loss of their driver’s licenses, which is considered a property interest.

Under the New York program, a driver will receive written notice if their license is about to be suspended, giving them 60 days to make payment. If they do not pay within the 60 day period, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send a second notice, extending the deadline for another 15 days. If the person still does not respond, the DMV is authorized to suspend the license until the debt is paid or a payment plan is arranged.

Last year, over 8,000 state residents had their driver licenses suspended for tax debts. Many more drivers will undoubtedly fall into suspension if the past-due debt requirement gets lowered to $5,000.

If you are worried about having your NY license suspended, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm. Our team of NY suspended license attorneys will do all they can to help you avoid a suspension or get your driving privileges back if you already were suspended. Call for a free consultation at 888-883-5529.

Suspensions for Repeat DUI Offenders Upheld

suspended-drivers-licenseA few months ago, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the 2012 ruling for repeated drunken driving convictions. Courts have now ruled for the second time to confirm the driver’s license suspension rule instituted by the Governor Cuomo’s administration. The regulation imposes a permanent license ban for those who have five or more drug or alcohol-related convictions on their lifetime driving record.

The case in question was Matter of Carney v. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Michael Carney had been convicted for driving while intoxicated and completed the mandatory minimum six month license suspension. However, the DMV refused to reinstate his license as this was Carney’s sixth alcohol-related driving conviction in the last 30 years.

According to DMV statistics, the rule has led to extended suspensions and revocations of over 8,000 drivers’ licenses for DUI-related violations. If you are facing a license suspension and want to maintain your driving privileges, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm today at 888-883-5529 for assistance.

Unlicensed Driver Faces Misdemeanor Charge for Fatally Striking Pedestrian

gavelA 30-year-old Brooklyn resident, Victoria Nicodemus, was fatally hit by an SUV earlier this month while she was out holiday shopping. Nicodemus was walking on the sidewalk when an unlicensed driver jumped the curb and struck her. Witnesses saw 39-year-old Marlon Sewell swerve to avoid hitting a bus just before his car hit Nicodemus, her boyfriend, and three other pedestrians.

This is not the first time Sewell has been caught driving without a valid license. His license was previously suspended in March 2015 for failure to respond to a traffic summons. Drivers who receive a New York traffic ticket are required to respond promptly; failure to respond within 60 days is grounds for a license suspension.

Sewell was charged in Brooklyn Criminal Court with driving without a license as well as aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO) of a vehicle. An AUO charge is a serious offense in New York and the consequences can include heavy fines, penalties, possible jail time, and a permanent criminal record with no expungements allowed.

The prosecutor requested bail be set to $20,000 due to the fact that Sewell had also had his license suspended in 2014 for failure to pay child-support. Under New York State law, if an individual fails to pay child support for more than 4 months, that person’s driving privileges may be suspended. The prosecutor argued that Sewell was a repeat offender and created a safety risk for pedestrians and other motorists on the road. However, Judge Marguerite Dougherty disagreed, saying there was no reason to set bail so high without additional charges.

There are multiple reasons why your driver’s license can be suspended in New York. If you found out that you have a suspended license and want to have your driving privileges reinstated, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm today at 888-883-5529.