I’m Avoiding Traffic Court by a Mail Plea Deal and It’s a Nightmare
COVID-19 brought many new things to the world, like plea deals by the mail.
I got a speeding ticket in January 2020. For quick reference, that is over a year ago. When I dropped off the not-guilty plea in February, I was told then it would be several months before I heard back from the court. Wow, that's a long time for a speeding ticket in the Town of East Fishkill. Well, so I thought.
In comes, March 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic hits, slowing the courts up even more. But finally, it was September 2020 and I find out I'll have court on December 1, 2020. WAIT! November 2020 brings me the news that because COVID cases were rising, they would plea me out through the mail if I choose. This sounded amazing and made it so I didn't have to go to court, who wouldn't want that? Well, after dealing with this mail process, I wish I went to court.
Once I started the mail plea deal process, I realized what a nightmare it is. The letters from the prosecutor say they must be returned within 20 days, but give no date to go off of. The letters have no date, and I only have the postmarked date for reference. And sometimes the date I received the letters is a week after the postmarked date. I finally got my plea deal in the mail, and instead of them describing what the charges will be dropped to, they simply give a code for what I will be charged with instead of speeding. I'm not a prosecutor or a court employee, I have no idea what this combination of 10 numbers means.
The lack of direction from the court during this process is frustrating. You can't talk to someone in person about this for answers. You're lucky if you get through to someone on the phone. It is a true nightmare.