Do PBA Cards Work In New York?

What Is A PBA Card?

PBA is short for the Police Benevolent Association, and almost every police officer in America is a member. A PBA card is often given as a courtesy to family members or friends of a police officer.

The intent of the card is to potentially avoid a traffic ticket. The PBA card will normally have “The bearer of this card is a supporter of the PBA and you should try to extend every courtesy possible” printed on it.

Drivers will often try to use the card for a more minor violation. Speeding, or running a red light. A PBA card does not give people a license to be lawless. In some cases, officers will let drivers off with a warning when they see the PBA card, but that isn’t always the case.

Alleged Benefits Of A PBA Card

A PBA card can act as a form of “get out of jail free” card. This doesn’t mean that the card is a surefire guarantee. There is still a strong chance of getting a ticket if pulled over by an officer.

The chances of the card working depend on a few things. The violation that the person has committed. The type of card the person is carrying, and whether or not the officer has heard of the one printed on the card. The person’s demeanor also plays a huge part. If there are rudeness and negativity directed towards the officer, a ticket is almost guaranteed.

The benefits are complicated. Showing your PBA card to an officer may relax them if they see you have family and friends who are trusted officers. This may lower their suspicion in terms of searching the vehicle.

Using the card can be a slippery slope. While some officers may see it as a reason to issue only a warning, others may see it differently. Some officers may see the card as more of a reason to be suspicious. Or they may even suspect corruption.

Do PBA Cards Work?

PBA cards work on occasion, but they’re not a guarantee. Contrary to popular belief It isn’t the date that’s on the card that carries significance, it has more to do with the officer that the driver is related too or friends with.

If the driver is respectful, and the officer has heard of or is close with the officer on the PBA card, the driver has a stronger chance of getting off with a warning.

However, all cards are not equal in that regard. Some PBA cards that are issued are simply plastic. This means that there isn’t a specific police officer name printed on the card. If the driver is issued one of these PBA cards, their chances of getting off with a warning aren’t as strong.

There are three tiers of PBA cards. Gold cards are only issued to police officers and their families. Silver cards are the highest honor for citizens, then there’s the plastic card that people can purchase for resale online.

Gold and silver are almost universally accepted. While the plastic cards, of course, are the lowest tier and therefore may not be respected quite as much.

What If My PBA Card Doesn’t Work?

As mentioned, the chances of getting out of a traffic ticket with a PBA card is not guaranteed. There’s no law against presenting a PBA card though you have to be careful how you do so. If you don’t want to fight it, and just want to move along, you can do so.

There are, however, attorneys who work in this area. You can contact an attorney who works in traffic ticket law if you feel like you have a case.