By and large, when you hire us (or any lawyer) for a traffic ticket case in the Capital Area, we do not have to physically appear in court. This comes as a big surprise to many clients, but it's how the legal system works in New York state - and with good reason. Just imagine if every client or counselor had to appear before a judge for every traffic violation that was contested. Existing courts could run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there would still not be enough time to hear each case. Fortunately, there are policies in place to allow attorneys to appear by mail, fax, or postal mail (depending on the policies of the court), and only in particular cases do we really have to make a trip to the court. It's all a part of what's called judicial economy and usually works out to everyone's advantage while maintaining the rule of law.
When a physical appearance is required by the court either of the client, their attorney, or both, it will usually be on more serious charges like reckless driving, very high speeds, U.P.M. (Unlawful Possession of Marijuana), Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (A.U.O.), Logbook Violations, and other criminal misdemeanors. Some local courts also require personal appearances on certain offenses that most courts do not. The Bethlehem Town Court (in Delmar), for example, requires an appearance on all speeding charges of 85mph or higher and 1144-a Move Over tickets. In the greater Albany Area, only the Ravena Village Court and Coeymans Justice Court require appearances on all Vehicle & Traffic cases.
I hope that helps to clear up a very common misconception about litigating traffic violations in our area, although the same idea applies statewide.