Traffic Enforcement & Prosecution
The New York State Thruway runs the whole length of the Town of New Paltz. Enforcement on the Thruway is exclusively handled by officers from “Troop T” of the NYS Police (a special unit than only patrols the Thruway). The speed limit along the Thruway is mostly 65 mph, howver there are extended sections in the south and west that are 55 mph. Almost all speeding tickets are written for speeds more than 10 mph over the limit. Stationary radar and laser speed detection are widely used. The wide and often wooded median creates numerous opportunities for radar or laser speed traps that cannot be detected in advance. Traffic law enforcement along all of the other roads in the Town of New Paltz is almost exclusively done by local town police officers.
Both town justices have “traffic calendars” which are devoted to adjudicating traffic tickets. The NYS Police are prohibited from negotiating plea bargains on traffic violations. As a result, a special town prosecutor has been appointed to deal with tickets written by the NYS police. 95% of state police tickets are adjudicated through plea bargains with the special prosecutor. The Town Prosecutor and both judges are reasonable about plea bargains as long as the speed was not more than 25 mph over the limit or over 85 mph.
Local police officers generally prosecute their own tickets, though the special prosecutor may substitute for them. Again, most tickets are resolved through plea bargains.
Traffic court sessions can last several hours. Attorneys are permitted to appear without their clients being present for traffic court..
For more information about speeding and other traffic offenses, click here.
To read some Frequently Asked Traffic Law questions, click here.
Criminal Law Enforcement & Prosecution
All criminal prosecutions are handled by the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office. Following a tragic 8 fatality accident on the Taconic in 2009 the Ulster DA’s office has taken a very hard line on DWI prosecutions. In 2009 there were more than 1500 alcohol related driving arrests impaired or intoxicated cdriving (DWI, DWAI, DWAI-D) in Ulster County. Both the NYS Police and the New Paltz Town Police made numerous arrests. Most arrests occurred after dark with many taking place after midnight. Police officers assume that many driver’s who are out after midnight have consumed alcohol and or drugs. As a result they are looking for any lawful reason to pull drivers over in order to investigate possible DWI incidents. Alcohol checkpoints were established several times by the a combined task force of NYS Police.
All of these offenses, except DWAI, are “criminal” violtions of the law and, as a result are prosecutred by the Ulster County District Attorney’s office.
For more information about DWI, click here.
To read some Frequently Asked Questions about DWI, click here.