Suffolk County, NY - July 5, 2017 -Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone tomorrow will announce the first of its kind Veterans Traffic Court to help veterans lift or avoid driver license suspensions altogether. Many veterans – including those that have recently returned from overseas – often time face significant monetary fines that have accumulated due to any number of prior traffic violations. As a result, veterans are placed in a difficult position between having to pay costly fines without the necessary resources or risk losing their New York State Driver’s License. Veterans also may unknowingly be driving with a suspended driver’s license or have incurred traffic violations due to post-transition issues stemming from their military service. The vast majority of veterans’ criminal court traffic matters are a result of a suspended license.
In order to address these obstacles, County Executive Bellone directed the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency to establish a specialized Veterans Docket Day in which honorably discharged or current veterans who have traffic, parking or red light camera citations pending before TPVA will have the opportunity to participate in a special conference with a prosecutor. These conferences are held prior to the general public and will be provided a lengthier time to understand in greater detail the circumstances involving each case. Veterans will receive different consideration based upon their military designation, medical status including PTSD, and financial situation.
Veterans Docket Day will also help facilitate a complete avenue of reform, understanding and assistance for veterans. There will be support groups present on VDD to assist veterans in addressing other issues that they may want to resolve. The Agency anticipates a concerted effort with town, local and village Justice Courts in Suffolk and Nassau counties to establish open lines of communication in order to help veterans find a complete and fair resolution.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that found helping to restore driver's licenses and resolve outstanding warrants and fines ranked as one of the highest unmet needs among veterans who were homeless or at risk.