Justice Courts: Busti Town Court

If you would like to contact us about a matter in Busti Town Court, please use this link. If you have received a traffic ticket in this Court and would like to retain an attorney to appear in Court on your behalf to obtain a reduction of your charge, click here.

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Address:    121 Chautauqua Avenue, Lakewood, New York 14750

Phone:       716-763-4695

Fax:   716-763-2953

Common Charges:

Vehicle and Traffic §1180(d) Speeding;


Walter H. Dahlgren – Tuesday 7:00 PM

Lyle T. Hajdu  – Thursday 7:00 PM

2012 Revenue: 194,608.50

Website: http://www.townofbusti.com


Busti Town Court is located in Chautauqua County, just west of the City of James Town on the southern shore of Chautauqua Lake.  Traffic Cases are Prosecuted by the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office.

What is a Justice Court?

The term “Justice Court” is used to define a court that has jurisdiction over matters in Town and Villages in New York.  While most Americans will never be charged with a Crime, a greater percentage will receive a traffic ticket at some point during their lives.  For most of us, that means that a Justice Court will be our only interaction with the Criminal Justice or Court System.

 Justice Courts hear trials in Misdemeanors, Violations and Infractions.  They do not have authority, under New York Law, to handle hearings or trials for Felonies, only lower level offenses in which the punishment cannot exceed one year.  The majority of these cases involve “Uniform Traffic Tickets” which charge motorists with an infraction of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State, such as speeding, under VTL §1180.  Every Justice Court follows its own policies and procedures, guided by the Criminal Procedure Law as well as other substantive laws.  Most Towns and Villages have their own Justice Court with at least one presiding judge or justice.  Most Courts have two judges and a support staff of Court Clerks responsible for the day to day operation of the Court.  Some Courts in rural communities are operated part time, with Court held once or twice a month, but Courts with higher caseloads typically hold court 3 to 5 times a week.  The date and time of Court is controlled by the Judge presiding in the Court.

Town or Village Judges or Justices are elected to a four year term by the voters in their municipality.  Currently, there is no requirement that they have any experience in the law, nor do they need be an attorney.  In most Justice Courts, Judges are considered part time and are likely to have another job unrelated to the Court system.

Any time a person is charged with an offense by the police, the charges are filed with the Court for the Town of Village in which the offense occurred.  After they are filed, an Attorney for the Government, called a Prosecutor, will take responsibility for the case.  The District Attorney of the County is responsible for prosecuting crimes in each Justice Court.  An Assistant District Attorney is assigned by the District Attorney to handle matters in a particular justice court. In some counties, the District Attorney will also handle Vehicle and Traffic Infractions.  In other counties, the Town of Village Board will appoint a Prosecutor to handle them.

When a person is charged with an offense, they become a “defendant” in the case.  A defendant is entitled to have an attorney as well.  If a defendant cannot afford an attorney, the Court may appoint one at no cost if the charges filed could result in sentence of jail.

While every defendant charged with an offense, including traffic tickets, is entitled to a trial, the majority of cases are resolved prior to trial through “plea bargaining”.  The Prosecutor and the defendant (or his attorney) will negotiate a plea bargain and present their agreement to the Court.  The Judge may accept or deny any plea bargain proposed by the parties, but  judges do not get involved in the negotiating process.

Prosecutors will review each case prior to making a plea offer to the defendant. That review will include discussions with the officers and witnesses involved in the case as well as a review of a defendant’s history.  In Vehicle and Traffic Infractions, a Prosecutor will generally limit his review to the Ticket, Supporting Deposition, and the defendant’s driving history.  In criminal cases, that review may be more substantial, and the defendant’s criminal history will be reviewed to determine whether the defendant has a history of convictions.  Prosecutors will typically be less lenient to defendants with a history of offenses.