Suffolk County traffic court gives veterans a break

- Lloyd Semmens didn't expect a second chance. Suffolk County police caught the Vietnam veteran doing 90 mph in 55 mph zone. The ticket carries 8 points and a hefty fine. But a judge at Suffolk County's special traffic court for veterans ended up dismissing the ticket last month.

Officials say the traffic court for veterans is the first of its kind in the country. 

"This is a lifelong commitment that we have as a nation to the men and women who served our country particularly in a time of war," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. 

It is known as Veterans Docket Day. It is designed to give special consideration to former service members. Suffolk has at least 75,000 veterans -- more than any other county in the state. When they return home, some face outstanding fines or license suspensions that in many cases they didn't even know they had.

"If they can't work, they can't make money or get medical attention," veteran John Schultz said. "It spirals out of control."

Officials said there is accountability but it is done with empathy for the service the veterans provided.

Semmens said he is grateful. He said he wasn't expecting this outcome.  

"I was expecting to pay a penalty for it," Semmens said. "To be forgiven for it was a big deal." 

Last month, 26 veteran drivers appeared in court and saved a combined $10,000 in fines. Docket Day will be held on the third Friday of every month.

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