- Instructions for Ticket If it Is a Traffic Infraction
- Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty
- Requesting a Supporting Deposition
- Non-jury Trial
- Appealing the Decision in Traffic Court
- Contacting the Onondaga County District Attorney
- Payments of Fine or Surcharge
Court Personnel are prohibited from providing legal advice.
Instructions for Ticket(s)
Review your ticket(s) to determine if you have been issued a ticket for a “misdemeanor” or “traffic infraction”. You can locate this information approximately 1/3 down on the left side of the ticket.
If the “misdemeanor” box is checked on ANY of the tickets, you MUST personally appear in the City Court to be arraigned before a City Court Judge on the return date and time indicated approximately 2/3 down on the left side of the ticket. You cannot use these instructions.
If the “infraction” box is checked, you have the following options:
- You can plead GUILTY.
- You can plead NOT GUILTY.
- You can personally appear before a City Court Judge on the return date and time indicated approximately 2/3 down on the left side of the ticket to enter a plea of GUILTY or NOT GUILTY.
Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty to a Traffic Infraction
You can plead GUILTY by completing the section entitled “Plea of Guilty”, to include your current mailing address, the date, and your signature. You can return your plea of guilty by mail or in person at the City Court Clerk’s Office or at Traffic Court pursuant to the Court’s schedule.
If you return your plea of guilty by mail, the Court will notify you by mail of the fine(s) and mandatory surcharge(s) assessed, if any. If you return your plea of guilty in person to the City Court Clerk’s Office, the Clerk’s Office may be able to assess your fine immediately.
If you have any questions regarding this procedure, you may contact the City Court Clerk’s Office - Traffic Division at (315) 671-2770.
NOTE: YOUR FAILURE TO RESPOND TO YOUR TICKET(S) MAY RESULT IN A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST OR SUSPENSION OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE OR A DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST YOU.
You can plead NOT GUILTY by completing the section entitled “Plea of Not Guilty,” to include your current mailing address and your signature and mail the ticket(s) via registered, certified, or first class mail within (48) forty-eight hours of receiving the ticket(s). The Court will notify you of your appearance date and will provide you with instructions to contact the Onondaga County District attorney if you so choose.
You can also plead not guilty by appearing in person in Court on the return date and time indicated on your ticket(s) and the Court will provide you with your options at that time, to include contacting the Onondaga County District Attorney for a possible reduction of your traffic charge(s) and scheduling a future appearance or trial date.
Requesting a Supporting Deposition
You can request a Supporting Deposition by entering a “Plea of Not Guilty” and checking “Yes” you request a Supporting Deposition (a Supporting Deposition will provide you with additional information regarding the basis for the ticket). Some tickets are issued by the police officer with a Supporting Deposition (and is clearly identified on page 2 as a Supporting Deposition) and no request is necessary.
A Supporting Deposition request must be timely (within 30 days following your return date before the Court). The Court will then order the Supporting Deposition from the police officer who issued the ticket(s) and the police officer will have 30 days from the date of your request to mail you the Supporting Deposition.
You will have an opportunity to meet with the Onondaga County District Attorney before trial. If you come to an agreement at that time, the Onondaga County District Attorney will present the agreement to you in writing and you will see the Judge to advise him/her that you understand and accept the agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached by you and the Onondaga County District Attorney the trial will proceed. At the trial the prosecutor must present evidence to the Court. You will have the right to cross-examine the prosecutor’s witness(es) and, if you choose, to present evidence to the Court, which can include testimony from yourself or from other individuals. If you require a subpoena for witnesses, you can apply for a subpoena at the time you are notified of the trial date. At the conclusion of the trial, the Judge will either render a verdict finding you guilty or not guilty or reserve decision. If the Court reserves decision, a written decision will be issued by the Judge, a copy of which will be sent to you at the address on file with the Court. If the Court finds you not guilty on all of the tickets, this will end the case. If the Court finds you guilty of one or more of the tickets, a fine and mandatory surcharge, if applicable, will be assessed.
Appealing the Decision in Traffic Court
You have the right to appeal a traffic infraction conviction.
If you have any questions regarding this procedure, you may contact the City Court Clerk’s Office
Contacting the Onondaga County District Attorney after Entering a Plea of Not-guilty with the Court.
Information on how to write the District Attorney’s Office may be obtained at the City Court Clerk’s Office, Room 130, or will be mailed to you upon receipt of your plea of not guilty. If your ticket is for an Infraction, you may contact the Onondaga County District Attorney to discuss the circumstances of your ticket. The District Attorney may choose to offer you a plea to a lesser infraction. If an offer is made, you can choose to accept or reject the offer, however, any offer made by the District Attorney is only a recommended offer. The Court does NOT have to accept the recommendation of the District Attorney.
Please be advised that communication with the District Attorney may take up to 90 days. It would be in your best interest to appear in Traffic Court or enter a plea of not guilty by mail. You will be provided with the instructions on how to write to the District Attorney and you will receive another date to appear.
After you have received a written offer from the Onondaga County District Attorney, you MUST contact the Court. If you are accepting the offer of the District Attorney, you must sign the offer and provide your written acceptance of the offer to the Court. Once the offer is accepted by the Court, you will be assessed a fine and mandatory surcharge, if applicable. If you do NOT accept the offer of the District Attorney, you should appear on your court date
Payments of Fine and Mandatory Surcharge
If you are assessed a fine and mandatory surcharge, you must make payment in full by the date directed by the Court.
If you submit a written plea of guilty, you will be mailed a fine letter indicating the amount of the fine and the date that the fine must be paid. Verify that your current mailing address is on file with the Court.
If you appear in Court, the Court will verbally advise you of the amount of the fine and surcharge and the date that payment is due.
Acceptable forms of payment are cash, government money order, certified check or bank draft payable to “Syracuse City Court” and by applying bail monies to a fine. Credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, and Visa only) are accepted as well.
Payment may be made in person at the Syracuse City Court Clerk’s Office, Room 130, located in the Onondaga County/City of Syracuse Criminal Courts Building or by mail to Syracuse City Court, Traffic Division, 505 South State Street, Syracuse, NY 13202. Do NOT send cash through the mail. Please note that credit card payments are not accepted via the telephone or the internet.
If additional time is needed to pay a fine and/or surcharge, you MUST report to the City Court Clerk’s Office, Room 130, on the payment due date at 9:30 a.m.
FAILURE TO PAY THE FINE AND SURCHARGE BY THE PAYMENT DUE DATE MAY RESULT IN A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST OR SUSPENSION OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE OR A DEFAULT JUDGMENT.