Recently in the local news, I watched the body camera footage of the Monroe County NY District Attorney getting a traffic ticket. During the video she exclaims to go ahead and write the ticket because she is the one that prosecutes it (I presumed she was implying she would make it go away).

Can DA's handle their own traffic violations?

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    It could be that someone else in the office will dismiss it or do something to make it go away. It isn't as if the DA is the only one who can do that.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:46
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    Maybe, but she clearly says at the end "I will be prosecuting myself".
    – rtaft
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:49
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    Just because she said that to the officer writing her the ticket doesn't mean that she would actually be the person doing the prosecuting. There are lots of rules around conflict of interest when it comes to who can lead a prosecution and if the person being prosecuted is the same as the one who is leading it that is a clear conflict of interest. In cases like this the case will always go to someone else.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:52
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    Aren't they getting a bit above themself? A tin god? Even the president's supposed immunity is subject to debate. Commented Apr 29 at 20:06
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    Yes, @WeatherVane, they are. Even if the claim were flatly true, it's a bad look. Which I guess is why the video is getting attention. Commented Apr 30 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


No, in the case of a conflict of interest, a special prosecutor would be appointed to handle the matter. Most likely, this would be the DA of an adjoining county.

In New York, this special district attorney is appointed by the superior criminal court (NY Cty L § 701).

This frequently happens in a more mundane situation: when a new DA is elected. As they have almost always practiced law beforehand, they run into cases and clients they have defended in the past.

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    It is, however, not surprising that the DAs from adjoining counties often know each other professionally. The willingness of each DA to prosecute their colleagues would be pertinent to this question.
    – user121330
    Commented Apr 30 at 7:17
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    This answers whether it would be lawful for the DA to handle the matter themselves, but it would be useful to add to this what kind of oversight or procedural safeguards would compel them to declare the conflict of interest and initiate this process. After all, the inherent problem with sustaining conflicts of interest is the motivation it creates to make improper decisions, and the first form this impropriety could take is allowing the conflict to persist undisclosed.
    – Will
    Commented Apr 30 at 9:37
  • Are DA's even involved with traffic tickets in the first place? The only time I ever fought a ticket (it was for speeding), I went to a magistrate's office. Just me, him, and the cop. Not in court, no lawyers involved.
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 30 at 14:23
  • @Barmar The DA is responsible (city attorney when you get a ticket under ordinance). A police officer's authority to prosecute minor infractions themselves is delegated from the DA. In NY, see People v. Soddano 86 N.Y.2d 727 (1995).
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 30 at 16:01
  • So while this is normally delegated to the officer, a DA could prosecute it himself if they wanted (but not in the case where the offender is themselves, due to COI)?
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 30 at 16:05

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