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Understanding point reduction and the New York point system

When New York State drivers get moving violations or are involved in a traffic incident that results in points being placed on their driver’s license, they might gather information about the situation and the process from many sources. Unfortunately, some sources of how to deal with points on a driver’s license are only partially accurate or outright wrong. This could lead people to take a situation in which they have a good chance to pleading not guilty and getting a good result and simply accept the penalties under the mistaken belief that taking part in the Point and Insurance Reduction Program is a suitable alternative. Before doing so, it is wise to speak to a qualified attorney.

PIRP will not take the violation off the person’s record nor does it nullify a conviction or remove the points from the driver’s license. In fact, these will appear on the person’s driving record for as much as four years. If the violation was due to alcohol or drugs, it will remain on the record for 10 to 15 years. For drivers who amass 11 points within 18 months, the driver’s license can be suspended. The idea of PIRP is to reduce the points that are used to count how many the driver has accrued in 18 months and reduce it by four to help prevent a suspension.

After taking the course, its sponsor will inform the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 weeks. The points will subsequently be reduced to avoid a suspension. It is vital to remember that the point reduction only applies to those points that happened in the 18 months before the course was completed. If there were points for previous violations, this will not be impacted. Nor can the person use the PIRP to protect them if they are cited for a moving violation after taking the course. If the driver’s license was suspended or revoked, PIRP will not help that. When a violation hearing has been scheduled, the course cannot do anything to alter its outcome. Speeding and driving under the influence violations and revocations or suspensions will not be stopped by PIRP.

When a person has been cited for moving violations or other traffic issues that will result in points on the license if there is a conviction, thinking PIRP is a way out could lead to them believing they should just plead guilty. An experienced traffic violations lawyer can explain that this is a bad idea and assist with formulating a defense against the charges and possibly prevent the points from being put on the driver’s license in the first place.

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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