Most individuals choose to represent themselves in traffic court when contesting their traffic tickets. However, is it truly beneficial to hire a traffic attorney? The answer largely depends on the circumstances. While many people find it worth the cost to hire an attorney for a traffic ticket, there are situations where it may be more advantageous for a driver to save the extra money and forego legal representation. Here are some factors to consider before making a decision.
Weighing the Costs of Hiring a Traffic Attorney
Arguably the only drawback of hiring a traffic attorney is the associated cost. Of course, attorneys have varying fee structures. Nevertheless, in many cases, the expense of hiring an attorney can equal or exceed the amount of the traffic ticket fine. So, one might wonder, what’s the point?
However, when delving beneath the surface, hiring an attorney offers several benefits that often justify the expense. Additionally, some individuals have legal plans through their employers or union memberships, which cover all or part of their legal fees. If this enables you to secure an attorney you’re satisfied with, it can be a viable option.
How a Traffic Lawyer Can Assist
Given that each case is unique, the assistance an attorney can provide will depend on the specific circumstances. Nonetheless, here are some fundamental ways in which a traffic attorney can be beneficial.
1. Representation in Traffic Court
If you choose to contest a traffic ticket, you generally have to appear in court at least twice. However, by hiring an attorney, you may not need to go to court at all. In other words, your attorney can represent you in court, thus saving you the time and hassle.
2. Informed Legal Advice
Lack of experience and legal knowledge poses a challenge when representing yourself. The average person often lacks insight into the best courses of action for a given case. Experienced traffic attorneys, on the other hand, possess the expertise to determine the most effective tactics and options for achieving favorable outcomes. Moreover, it’s not solely about legal knowledge. Attorneys who frequently attend traffic court are familiar with the tendencies of various judges and even the law enforcement officers who issue the tickets. This local knowledge can prove invaluable in deciding how to mount a defense against a ticket.
While more common in serious criminal cases, negotiations and plea bargaining can also come into play in traffic matters. For instance, negotiating a moving violation ticket down to a non-moving violation can help you avoid traffic violation points.
4. Traffic Court Trials
Traffic attorneys with extensive trial experience are far more likely to succeed at trial compared to the average person. Attorneys who have spent countless hours in courtrooms and possess a thorough understanding of the law know precisely what to focus on during a trial.
For non-lawyers, it’s easy to lose track of the objective. For example, individuals representing themselves often offer explanations for their traffic violations (such as not seeing a stop sign or being unaware of their speed) that are not considered valid legal defenses. Consequently, their defense tends to be ineffective and results in a conviction.
Situations Where an Attorney May Not Be Necessary
In certain circumstances, the expense of hiring a traffic attorney clearly outweighs the benefits. For example, if you are eligible for traffic school and do not have a reasonable chance of winning your case, it is probably best to forgo hiring an attorney. Generally, you can enroll in traffic school without even setting foot in court, making legal representation unnecessary.
Circumstances Where Hiring an Attorney is Crucial
The circumstances of some drivers make the consequences of a traffic ticket conviction extremely severe. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is imperative to seriously consider hiring an attorney.
1. Commercial Drivers
Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders make a living through driving and are subject to stricter rules compared to other drivers. Consequently, certain traffic violations can lead to the revocation of their CDL. Given these high stakes in traffic court, involving an attorney would be a prudent choice.
2. Drivers With a History of Multiple Tickets
Accumulating multiple tickets within a short period of time can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. For individuals facing this predicament, successfully contesting a single ticket could make all the difference. To increase the chances of prevailing in traffic court, enlisting the services of an attorney might be the optimal route.
In conclusion, deciding whether to hire a traffic attorney necessitates careful consideration of your specific circumstances. While the cost may be a deterrent, the potential benefits offered by an experienced attorney can often far outweigh the expense. Ultimately, it is crucial to make an informed decision that best addresses your particular situation.
For more information on traffic court and legal representation, visit Garrity Traina.