VTL 1110(A) - Disobeying a Traffic Control Device
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
After speeding tickets, the most common traffic ticket issued in New York State is for Disobeying a Traffic Control Device. This is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law 1110(a). If convicted, it will give you two points on your New York driving record. In New York City, the fine is $138 ($40 fine + $88 mandatory surcharge). Outside of New York City, the fine is up to the judge. The maximum for a first-time offender is $243 ($150 plus a $93 mandatory surcharge).
The exact text of the statute is:
(a) Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.
This statute is “popular” with law enforcement because it is a catch-all and includes any type of moving violation. This charge can come about in various circumstances:
A motorist in fact fails to follow a sign. A classic example is a sign that says, “no right turn” and the motorist in fact turns right, thereby disobeying a traffic control device.
Officers sometimes use this violation as a "roadside reduction.” For example, an officer stops you for speeding. But instead of issuing a citation for speeding, the officer issues a citation for disobeying a traffic control device. An 1110(a) is always preferred over a speeding violation. It will carry less points, have a lower fine, and most importantly impact insurance rates less than a speeding violation. Technically, Disobeying a Traffic Control Device is a proper charge for speeding because the allegation is that the motorist disobeyed the speed sign, which is a traffic control device.
Along the same lines, an 1110(a) is often used by prosecutors as a plea bargain offer. For example, someone gets a speeding ticket and wants to get their charge reduced in court. When they appear in court, they may be offered to plead guilty to 1110(a) instead of the speeding charge. This is a charge that is most preferred by courts and prosecutors because it does not require a “legal fiction”. It does not require a motorist to plead guilty to something they did not do. The fact is any violation you received can in all likelihood be considered “disobeying a traffic control device.” So if you were speeding and you plead guilty to disobeying a traffic control device, you are pleading guilty to something that you in fact did.
In unfortunate circumstances, you will get this ticket as part of a double charge. For example, if you fail to stop at a stop sign and are issued two tickets. First you get a ticket for failing to stop at a stop sign. Then you get another ticket for disobeying a traffic control device. Both charges are technically correct, but this is an example of improper redundant charging. This should be fought.
The Benjamin Goldman Law Office is a New York State Traffic Ticket defense firm. We operate across the entire New York State. Our firm has helped many motorists get dismissals or reductions of their 1110(a) ticket. It does not matter if the citation was issued as part of a roadside reduction or if you were given a plea offer from a prosecutor. Feel free to get in touch with information about your case and we will let you know what we can do for you. At the Benjamin Goldman Law Office, consultations are free.