Thursday, September 8, 2011

Supporting Depositions: Should I Demand One?

Pros and Cons of Requesting a Supporting Deposition on Traffic Matters

In general, if a supporting deposition is timely requested and it is not timely served on the demanding partying, in the appropriate moving violation, the case must be dismissed.  This blog will not discuss the technical aspect of the law regarding supporting depositions but the practical aspect of whether or not requesting a supporting deposition is warranted.

Here is a typical scenario: a motorist receives a speeding ticket issued by a local police officer while driving through a suburban town in New York.  The ticket is for violating VTL 1180D (driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone).  After receiving the ticket, you will look at the back of the ticket and see a box that says you have the option of demanding a supporting deposition.  Well what are your options?

Let’s jump right in.  There are two main schools of thoughts from attorneys handling traffic matters on whether or not a supporting deposition should be requested.  Some attorneys request a supporting deposition on every applicable case.  Meanwhile other attorneys will not request the deposition under any circumstances.

Why would attorneys handling a relatively similar matter have two different approaches to defending a client?

Requesting a Supporting Deposition: 

This can be viewed as an aggressive approach by some police officers.  While it is true that a case may be dismissed for an officer not serving a supporting deposition, if the officer has served a supporting deposition, their stance at preliminary conference may be equally aggressive.  As such, the offer tendered may be nominal. 

Not Requesting a Supporting Deposition: 

There is an old saying, “sometimes you get more with sugar than you do with salt.”  Some officers and prosecutors will be more lenient on a motorist if a supporting deposition is not requested.  In the end the officer or prosecutor may tender a more amendable offer simple because the opposition is rationale and can skillfully negotiate.

So what should you do?  Neither strategy is better than the other.  It is a matter of personal preference.  Attorneys and motorists should be knowledgeable about the prosecutors, court, and officers they are dealing with.  Each jurisdiction will yield vastly different results.

If you need a lawyer to right your ticket matter, give us a call at 914-723-7900.  We handle cases in Yonkers, Rye, South Nyack, and the rest of New York State.