Getting legal advice for traffic tickets can be a smart move. You might only need to pay a ticket fine after a minor infraction, or you could fight the ticket in court instead.
Although most traffic tickets are minor, they can still tarnish your driving record. Your record can affect your driver's license in the future. Too many traffic violations can lead to a suspended license and higher car insurance rates.
Only you can decide whether you need a traffic ticket attorney. This article explains the negative consequences of traffic tickets and how legal services can help you.
Why Traffic Tickets Can Be Worth Fighting
Although most tickets don't typically result in jail time, they can still hurt you. Insurance companies may raise the rates of your insurance premiums. Your insurer may choose to drop you, and losing your insurance can risk your driving privileges.
Most states use a point system in which traffic offenses have point values based on severity. Those states usually set point limits. If you reach that limit in a certain period, the state can suspend your driver's license.
States that do not use a point system still keep track of the number of traffic tickets drivers receive, and too many traffic offenses can result in the suspension of your driver's license.
Violations like reckless driving and driving under the influence (DUI) often carry harsh penalties. Prior misdemeanors and other offenses on your record may also complicate your case. Check your state's driving laws to learn what conduct can lead to your driver's license suspension, restriction, or revocation.
A Traffic Ticket Lawyer's Duty
An attorney can help when you face a legal problem with your license. Their job is to ensure your rights are safe and work to get the best result for your issue.
At your first meeting, your attorney will:
- Gather facts and information about the traffic offense from you
- Evaluate the critical legal issues at play in your case
- Identify your legal options
- Explain what you can expect while fighting your ticket
If you and your attorney decide to challenge your traffic violation in court, your attorney can represent you at every stage of your case. They will generally file paperwork and manage the traffic court process for you. Advising you to get the best possible outcome is their primary focus.
How Do Lawyers Fight Traffic Citations?
There are many strategies to challenge a traffic ticket, and an attorney will recommend the plan they believe is most likely to win. They will use their knowledge of the law and court experience to decide which option is strongest.
The best strategy depends on the facts of your case. For example, a DUI case is very different from a speeding ticket. A lawyer will build an argument for your specific defense.
During the process, your attorney may:
- Gather evidence related to your traffic violation
- Research all relevant legal issues
- Interview any witnesses
- Work with law enforcement officers and traffic court officials
Traffic law cases usually require a court appearance. Your lawyer can coach you through what to expect and how to conduct yourself to maximize your ticket defense.
The Benefits of a Traffic Ticket Attorney
Many drivers are not confident in their chances of beating a traffic offense alone. Legal topics can be confusing. A ticket defense lawyer will have years of training and know how to handle your case.
Most states and counties have specific courts that only handle traffic tickets. They often have simpler court rules and procedures, but the process can still be intimidating.
Legal representation can save you time and ease your mind. You can offload some of the procedural work to your lawyer without worrying about missing any details.
Negotiating a Traffic Ticket
When suitable, you can work with an attorney to reduce penalties such as a license suspension. For example, your lawyer might argue to lower the severity of a moving violation to a less serious offense.
Criminal defense lawyers often have a business relationship with local police officers, judges, and prosecutors. They typically have criminal law negotiation experience that can help in traffic cases.
Finding an Experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney
A traffic ticket doesn't always require the assistance of an attorney. However, contacting a law firm to answer any specific questions is a good idea.
You may want to contact a traffic defense attorney in your area for legal advice after a traffic stop or arrest. Some lawyers offer a free initial consultation to prospective clients, so there's often nothing to lose.
For more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Traffic Laws section.