What does it cost to go to the movies nowadays? If you like a good legal drama, for about the cost of a bucket of movie popcorn and a large soda, you can watch a good ticket lawyer advocate for you in court. It may not make for a compelling plot line, but the happy ending will be real and it will be yours, not a Hollywood screenwriter's fantasy.
But can a good ticket lawyer really deliver? The short answer is yes, because like any good lawyer they know how to argue the technicalities that send the rest of us to sleep. They also know how to recognize the tickets that won't get dismissed. When a ticket complies with the letter of a particular state's transportation code, penal code and code of criminal procedure, unless the citing officer fails to show up to testify, a dismissal probably isn't on the cards. Those tickets are almost always pled out, with a defendant agreeing to take deferred adjudication, and pay a fine and some court costs. As long as the deferral period is completed without incident and the fine and costs are paid, the ticket will never appear on a driving record. Even in these circumstances though a good ticket lawyer can help reduce fines and shorten the deferral period.
If your driving record thus far isn't great, a good ticket lawyer is a great resource. When you receive a ticket for a moving violation (usually a violation of a state's transportation code provision or a municipal or county ordinance), you enter what can seem to be a Kafkaesque nightmare; the local municipality's or county's traffic court. The kind of place where you get stuck in a circular holding pattern as you move from clerk to clerk. While it may seem like a bureacratic maze, to a good ticket lawyer traffic court is a negotiator's paradise.
City and county prosecutors aren't going to share this with you, but they're very willing to negotiate with your lawyer. Most folks cited for traffic offences don't realize this and elect to pay their tickets rather than hire a lawyer to contest them. As a consequence those law-abiding citizens pay more in fines and are placed on longer periods of probation.
Simply rolling over and paying without making a fuss can have more serious negative consequences: it's a conviction on your driving record. The consequential costs caused by such a conviction can quickly snowball and overshadow any immediate financial hurt. One ticket too many can result in increased insurance premiums, suspension of your driver's permit, and surcharges levied on you by the state. If you're a trucker with a CDL it can even cost you your livelihood.
If you're in a position where you're wondering if hiring a ticket lawyer is a good idea, you should probably hire one.
A good ticket lawyer can communicate effectively with the apparatus of the city, county, and state on your behalf. A lawyer knows the vocabulary and can speak the language. Your lawyer's trump card is the ability to litigate - to try your case before a judge and jury. That creates a huge incentive for settlement with you - after all, no prosecutor wants to spend their time trying traffic ticket cases. This leverage that a good ticket lawyer can bring to bear on a prosecutor is hard to pass up, particularly when the cost of this kind of legal representation is relatively cheap.
So, why do the lawyers do it?
Don't be too surprised if they tell you it's the quickest way they've found to bring a smile of genuine gratitude to the face of their clients.