Columbia County, NY occupies 646 sq. mi. between the Hudson River and the NY/CT border. It extends from the Dutchess County border in the south for more than 45 miles north to the border with Renssalaer County, NY.
The county is made up of 28 city, towns and village municipalities. The only city in Columbia County is Hudson, NY. The county has a population of just over 60,000 and most of the communiteis would be classified as ruarl or agricultural areas.
The main north/south roads are Rt. 9, Rt. 22 and the Taconic Parkway. I-90 runs east/west near the northern border of the county.
The City of Hudson has a full-time police force, some of the towns and villages also have full or part-time police departments. However, outside of the City of Hudson most law enforcement is done by NYS Police and/or the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Both agencies engage in extensive traffic and law enforcement activities.
Columbia County Traffic Enforcement
Traffic law enforcement along all of I-90 is exclusively handled by officers from "Troop T" of the NYS Police. The speed limit on I-90 is mostly 65 mph, though there are sections with 55 mph limits. Nearly all speeding tickets are written for speeds of more than 10 mph over the limit. Speed enforcement is almost excluviely done through stationary or moving radar with occassional two officer laser speed traps.
Enforcment along the Taconic Parkway is almost exclusively handled by officers from "Troop K" of the NYS Police (there is some occassional traffic enforcement by the Columbia Sheriff's Department). The speed limit along the whole length of the Taconic is 55 mph and almost all speeding tickets are written for speeds more than 10 mph over the limit. Stationary rader and laser speed detection are widely used along the whole length of the parkway. The Taconic's winding, hilly path creates numerous opportunities for radar or laser speed traps that cannot be detected in advance. Enforcement is partuclarly intense in the towns of Ghent, Claverack, Chatham and Gallatin.
Traffic law enforcement along Rt. 9 and Rt. 9D is largely done by local town and village departments. Both the NYS Police and Columbia County Sheriff's patrol Rt. 9 on a regular basis. Stationary radar traps are less frequent and most enforcement is by moving radar or "pacing." Speed limits along Rt. 9 vary between 30 mph and 55 mph and change frequently as the road passes through more congested areas.
Rt. 22 is a north/south artery close to the NY/CT border. Speed limits vary from between 30 mph and 55 mph. Enforcment is done by NYS Police, Columbia County Sheriff's Department and local police agencies. Radar speed enforcement by stationary or moving units is common along all of Rt. 22, though moving partrol car enforcement is most common.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI / DUI) Enforcement
In 2009 there were nearly 1000 arrests for alcohol or drug related impaired or intoxicated cdriving (DWI, DWAI, DWAI-D) in Columbia County. Both the NYS Police, Columbia County Sheriff's Department and all of the local police forces made numerous arrests. Most arrests occurred after dark with many taking place after midnight. Police officers assume that many driver's who are out after midnight have consumed alcohol and or drugs. As a result they are looking for any lawful reason to pull drivers over in order to investigate possible DWI incidents.
All of these offenses are "criminal" violtions of the law and, as a result are prosectured by the Columbia County District Attorney's office. DWI cases are handled by local Asst. District Attorneys assigned to each local court, they make all final decisions about plea bargaining, prosecution, etc. For more information about DWI, click here.
Other Vehicle Related Crimes
Aside from DWI arrests, the very large number of traffic tickets isssued in Columbia County typically leads to several hundred other vehicle related criminal arrests. Most common of these is "Aggravated Unlicsed Operation" and "Driving with Suspended Registration." Both are generally charged as misdemeanor crimes and can result in a permanent criminal record if a driver is convicted as charged. In most cases, these charges can be reduced to non-criminal traffic violations by an attorney familiar with the polices of the Columbia County DA's office. For more information about other vehicle related criminal offenses, click here.
For detailed information about the busiest town courts along the Taconic Parkway select below:
Town of Yorktown-Westchester County - court profile
Town of Kent-Putnam County - court profile
Town of East Fishkill-Dutchess County - court profile
of LaGrange-Dutchess County - court profile
Town of Clinton-Dutchess County - court profile
Town of Stanford-Dutchess County -
Town of Milan-Dutchess County - court profile
Town of Gallatin-Dutchess County - court profile
Town of Claverack-Columbia
County - court profile
Town of Ghent-Columibia County - court profile
For detailed info on Dutchess County click here
For detailed info on Columbia County click here