Coram Nobis

Free Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Do you have “Buyer’s Remorse” from sending in your NY traffic ticket with a plea of “guilty”Has your license been suspended or insurance increased because of a guilty plea to a NY speeding or traffic ticket? We can vacate the plea to prevent the suspension or insurance increase

Our NY Traffic Court Lawyers at Palumbo & Associates, PC, have extensive experience representing NY drivers to vacate pleas of guilty to speeding and other moving violations. Have you mailed a speeding ticket to a court with a guilty plea only to find that because of that plea of guilty you are receiving either all or a combination of (1) an expensive DMV assessment, (2) a license suspension or revocation, or (3) an insurance increase. If you find yourself in this situation, we can help! call our NY vacating your speeding conviction lawyers now for a free consultation.

The Coram Nobis proceeding, i.e., a “Do Over”

I know what happened. You got a ticket. You didn’t want to deal with it. you figured ‘I did it anyhow’ so you mailed it in with a guilty plea thinking you’d pay the fine and be done with it. Then you got a nasty gram from the DMV – a bill for a “driver responsibility assessment” that no one told you about, a pending suspension notice, a specialized hearing at the DMV, a huge insurance increase, all of these things, or only some of these things. You didn’t know about any of this – you had no idea all of the collateral consequences of pleading guilty to a NY speeding ticket or tickets. It wasn’t written on the ticket, you didn’t have a lawyer, and all you wanted to do was pay a fine and move on with your life.

Luckily, there is a remedy in the law for just this problem. It is called a Coram Nobis proceeding, where you vacate a speeding ticket or moving violation traffic conviction in New York State. I liken it to the closest thing to a knight in shining armor you are ever going to find in traffic ticket defense, and I like to refer to it simply as a “Do Over.”

Coram Nobis is a legal writ issued by a court to correct an error to achieve justice when no other remedy is available. The right to make a Coram Nobis proceeding is found in NY Criminal Procedure Law §440.10. The law simply codifies the inherent right in equity found in common law to correct a mistake. While the statute lays out specific situations for making a Coram Nobis motion, and “buyer’s remorse” is not one of them, nonetheless the courts have held that the Coram Nobis proceeding is still available for traffic court defendants in situations not covered under the statute. See, People v. Bachert, 69 N.Y. 2d 593, 599 (1987).

In what situations the Coram Nobis proceeding is effective

The Coram Nobis is made to the trial court where you were convicted, and is not brought to an appellate court. See, People v. Cooks, 67 N.Y.2d 100 (1986). Our office has utilized the Coram Nobis Proceeding in numerous situations, such as:

  • When the conviction by a plea or pleas of guilty lead to a license suspension
  • When a person plead guilty to driving without insurance and her license was going to be revoked
  • When the person plead guilty “as charged,” was represented by counsel, but had ineffective assistance of counsel
  • To remove a DWAI from a driving record to reinstate driving privileges
  • To remove old convictions from a driver’s history which are preventing a license reinstatement after a DWI revocation
  • To vacate pleas of guilty when an officer gave a motorist two speeding tickets on one stop for one occurrence which would have caused a license revocation
  • When the conviction causes an expensive driver responsibility assessment from the NYS DMV
  • When the conviction caused the employer of a commercial driver to terminate the employment due to the insurance implications
  • When the motorist received a large insurance increase due to the conviction
  • When a person represented themselves and did not understand the ramification of what they were doing, was given misinformation by court staff or prosecutor, or miscalculated the points given the totality of their history

When making a Coram Nobis motion in some cases we also combine it with a request for relief under NY Criminal Procedure Law § 170.30 & § 170.40, vacating the plea of guilty in the interests of justice. Dismissing in the interest of justice can be granted independent of the Coram Nobis relief in the discretion of the trial court. See, People v. Bryce, 88 N.Y.2d 124 (1996); see also, People v. Clayton, 41 AD2d 204 (2nd Dept. 1973).

The nuts and bolts of the Coram Nobis proceeding

Coram Nobis proceeding is a formal matter whereby an official motion must be made before the court on notice to the prosecuting authority. After our office “moves” then the prosecutor can oppose then we have a final opportunity to reply. This is all done in writing. When all papers are completed the motion is “fully briefed” and a date is set for “submission” for a decision from the court. On the submission date the court will hear oral arguments, however many courts refuse to hear oral arguments.

A court can decide one of two things – to grant the motion and restore it to the trial calendar or deny the motion. It is rare for a court to deny the motion, however it is not that great when the original charges get restored to the calendar either, because then you have to litigate the underlying charges. That is why our office always goes for a third option.

What we do is make the motion and before it is fully briefed call the prosecutor. We explain our client’s situation to the prosecutor and explain that rather then make them do a written reply out office would be amenable to converting the conviction on their consent to a different conviction on the return date. In essence, what we do is utilize the motion as leverage to do what we would have done for you in the first place – negotiate a plea to something that is not going to cause our client to suffer what he or she is trying to avoid by retaining us to bring the motion. The vast majority of the Coram Nobis motions we bring are resolved like this.