Have you ever hear the phrase or terminology “roadside reduction” perhaps from an attorney or a police officer and wondered what it means? What is a roadside reduction? A roadside reduction is when a police officer stops a driver and issues him or her a ticket for something other than the original reason why the driver was stopped. That sounds confusing, but here is an illustration: Michael is late to work, and to minimize his tardiness, he is speeding. Officer Q. Meruit catches Michael driving 80mph in a 55mph speed zone. This means that Michael was driving 25mph over the posted speed limit. This is a six point speeding violation according to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (NYS VTL). Officer Q. Meruit is feeling generous and tells Michael that she could write him a six point speeding ticket, but instead she is going to issue him a ticket for running a stop sign – a 3-point violation. What Officer Q. Meruit did was give Michael a roadside reduction by reducing the points Michael was charged with during the initial stop. Make sense?
Ultimately, the reduced violation “roadside reduction” is up to the officer to decide what he or she will issue the driver. Roadside reductions can vary and can range from a reduction in speed (e.g. a six point speed to a three point speed) to VTL § 1172a stop sign ticket (e.g. four point speed to a three point violation). However, the most common roadside reduction is VTL § 1110a – disobeyed a traffic control device. This is a two point violation. A traffic control device is anything that is intended to direct traffic, such as a marking on the road, a traffic light or a traffic sign.
While a roadside reduction is convenient for a driver, it has drawbacks too. A roadside reduction is usually noted on the supporting disposition that accompanies the ticket, thereby notifying the prosecutor, officer and the Court of the reduction. Thus, courts will generally not reduce the ticket further. This means that if Michael pleads not guilty to the stop sign violation and goes to court on the day of his pre-trial conference, the officer and court would not agree to plea-bargain his ticket. Michael will have to plead guilty to the stop sign ticket. So, when consulting with a traffic attorney about your case, make sure to mention to him or her in your initial consultation that the officer gave you a roadside reduction.