Getting a traffic ticket is one of the most unpleasant things you can face on the road.
Most drivers just look down and pay the fine, but if you think it is worth fighting to get the charge dismissed, then it would be best to start looking for a traffic attorney.
But where should you start? Learn here all the steps to take and what to do if you cannot afford a traffic lawyer.
You generally have 2 options: to plead guilty or not guilty. Read your ticket carefully to see what you are being charged with and how to proceed.
It is especially important that you read the period of time you have to respond to your ticket because if you do not do it, you may face more fines or even get arrested.
If you plead not guilty, you will receive a notification with the day and time to go to court for a hearing.
The hearing could be either formal or informal. In most cases, it is up to you to decide between the two. Generally, the informal hearing is the first option; if all goes wrong, you have the chance of asking for a formal hearing.
When the situation is not all that serious, you may be better off representing yourself in the hearing. Nonetheless, there are a few things to bear in mind.
What to do before the hearing:
What to do in the hearing:
What could save you from a ticket:
Some states allow you to have trial by declaration, which means you can send your declaration by mail. State your arguments and the police officer who gave you the ticket will do the same.
If the officer’s declaration wins over yours, you are still allowed to request an in-person hearing. On the other hand, if the officer does not give the declaration by mail, you will be free of charges.
Traffic attorneys are lawyers who specialize in driving legislation and are well versed in everything and anything related to driving infractions. They deal with simple violations, like speeding tickets, and serious ones, like a DUI.
The goal of a traffic attorney is to reduce, negotiate or even dodge any driving tickets or other offenses. These are some of the common reasons why drivers hire traffic attorneys:
Have you received a driving ticket? In most cases, you will be fine with just paying your fine; however, what happens if you get points on your driving license? Then the consequences could be worse: you may lose some driving benefits and your insurance rate may increase substantially, maybe even for a long period of time.
If you cannot afford such an expense, then a traffic attorney may be the way to go.
Some of the scenarios in which the aid of a traffic attorney could come in handy include hit and run accidents, uninsured driving, DUI, or reckless driving.
In these cases, an attorney can help a driver reduce jail time, negotiate with the court and lower fines. Of course, it is conventional wisdom that attorneys are not cheap, so weigh the costs and consequences of getting represented or not to make the best decision for your case.
|Do you need to make a court appearance? Then try making an appointment with a traffic attorney. These professionals can guide you through the process whether it is representing you in court or just giving you an overview of it, step by step.|
Most people decide to attend traffic school. This is, hands down, the most popular way of saving yourself from fines and driving points. In traffic school, you learn defensive driving and how to drive responsibly.
Most judges have flexibility with drivers who ask to replace the original infraction with traffic lessons. However, generally, this applies only to first offenders or drivers who committed minor infractions. If this is not your case, it may be time to bite the bullet.
There are quite a lot of places where you can find traffic attorneys. First of all, if you live in a big city, you will not have problems finding a law firm that focuses exclusively on driving tickets.
Not sure where to start? The DMV’s official site offers an extensive database with law firms that deal with driving offenses. Just select your state and city and you will get all the contact information, including the location on Google Maps.
First of all, take a close look at the attorneys’ professional experience. How long have they been working on driving tickets and traffic-related offenses? Ask them about their success rate and their approach to your case. Obviously, you need to know how much you will have to pay for the attorney’s services.
Another thing to bear in mind is that local attorneys have better chances because they are acquainted with the prosecutors and judges that will be handling your case.
Furthermore, it is essential to feel free to call your attorney if an emergency arises, so ask about ways to keep in contact during the process. Some attorneys do not keep their clients up to date, so make sure that the professional you hire can assure you they will keep up to speed on any event related to your case.
|Keep in mind: Your insurance company may be able to defend you in court, depending on your case. It is convenient to call and enquire, and, in any case, if they cannot help you, they may be willing to recommend an attorney they work with.|
It varies depending on the case. Simple cases that only require basic paperwork can have a flat rate, while court representation is generally charged an hourly rate.
But how much are we talking about? Well, most routine traffic tickets will cost you from $250 to $400, while more serious traffic offenses are charged an hourly rate that is around $400.
Although this may not be within everyone’s reach, take into account that some traffic attorneys give up on the payment of their fee if they do not obtain the desired result in your case. Of course, you should ask if that is the case of your attorney beforehand.
|Did you know? You can join a prepaid legal plan with a low annual cost to have you covered for a lower rate. These are at the disposal of different groups, like consumer action groups, unions and alumni associations.|
In some cases, legal representation is unavoidable when it comes to serious traffic violations (e.g., reckless driving or DUI, among others), but, of course, it comes at a price.
That is why drivers who cannot pay for the steep costs of traffic attorneys are recommended to get a court-appointed attorney. However, you should bear in mind that courts mostly appoint public attorneys for indigent people who may be sentenced to jail time.
You can also be eligible for a public attorney if you have a very low income or are unemployed.
To get a court attorney you have to provide:
|Keep in mind: Even though you may benefit from a court-appointed attorney’s services, in some cases you will be required to pay up to $500.|
You have all the necessary information to get the best traffic attorney for you in case you need it. Think it through and make the best decision for your case.