With the increasing ability of police departments to enforce traffic laws through a wide variety of new technologies, it is no wonder that the number of traffic tickets has zoomed upward in almost all localities across the U.S.
Why Traffic Tickets are on the Rise
This uptick in the ability to nab speeders and drunk drivers is no accident. As cities and counties have struggled to meet their budgets in recent years, income from traffic tickets has been an easy way to balance the books. Many jurisdictions have increased their fines sizably in recent years, with not a word of complaint from motorists. Another tricky new way to increase the flood of money coming into cities and counties has been to enact a surcharge on repeat offenders, a charge that might be more than the actual ticket! The end result of all this stricter enforcement of the laws of the road? A whopping $1 billion business annually, with most of that money coming from more speeding tickets being written, a result of more regular and targeted enforcement. The Feds have pitched in by mandating that states lower their blood-alcohol content levels for DWI charges, from .10 to .08, another move that has swelled the number of tickets written all over the country. Tickets also have flown off of the pads of police officers because the number of drivers on American roads continues to boom. Between four and eight million cars are added to our streets and highways every year, and many of those vehicles are driven by people who are newcomers to the ranks of licensed motorists.
A New Industry Booms
With this enormous increase in tickets and fines, a new industry has also mushroomed: legal help in fighting the tickets. Think of the many ways that traffic cops can now produce a ticket to penalize your driving errors and lapses—cameras all over the place, advanced radar technology, increased sobriety checkpoints--the list is almost endless. Consumers are fighting back by hiring a new genre of lawyer, one that is dedicated to pushing back against this trend of ticket mania. As lawyers have expanded their practices to include legal action against traffic citations or founded their entire business in this area, the evidence of this new wave of law is everywhere. Lawyers have hit the airwaves and sent out tons of direct mail to tell people that they do not have to accept traffic tickets like a lamb led to slaughter. This new breed of lawyer comes complete with catchy phone numbers such as 877 WIN-TIX1 as well as names such as www.speedingticketattorneys.net. Along with this media push are incentives to attract your business: low pricing on ticket cases, a focus on traffic tickets only in the practice and easy payment systems such as Paypal. The Traffic lawyers that have dived into this new field are dead serious about it and handle numberous traffic ticket cases every day in court.
How and Why Traffic Ticket Lawyers are Effective
Lawyers have flocked to traffic court for reasons other than the torrent of tickets that are being issued these days; they also have found built-in provisions in the legal system that can almost guarantee at least a partial win every time they argue in court. Among the typical results of a traffic ticket lawyer’s day at work include:
For penalized drivers that either don’t have the time to go to court or sport a poor driving record, a traffic ticket lawyer is usually a tremendous bargain. Motorists that receive tickets would probably call lawyers even more often if they realized that the tickets are not written in stone. Rather, negotiation is built into the system, but only 1 in 10 traffic offenders take advantage of the rights they have in court.
The Possible Consequences of Not Fighting a Traffic Ticket
That figure of just 10% of drivers fighting back is stunning, considering what is at stake when you receive a traffic ticket. Not only do you face a hefty fine in some cases, you might have a serious conviction placed on your record, which could affect your insurance premiums for years to come. In addition, simple math dictates that more drivers are facing a very dangerous downward spiral in today’s hyper-enforced legal climate on the roads. More tickets=more repeat violations=more points on your record=more surcharges=higher chance of losing your license and, perhaps, your job. And, don’t think that potential employers will wink at your checkered traffic ticket history, especially if you don’t fight any of the tickets and end up with hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines and numerous citations on your record. In today’s laggard economy, an employer will choose the applicant that has a clean driving record over the one who seems to be a terror on the streets every time, if the qualifications for the two match. In addition, some industries actually have stipulations written into their contracts that mandate immediate dismissal if a DUI ticket is earned, for instance. Why would someone not call a traffic ticket attorney when they run afoul of the law, especially when some of these new lawyers charge rates like $35 for non-moving violations and $70 for moving violations, mere pennies on the dollar when future consequences are totaled? Traffic ticket lawyers are able to offer a money-back guarantee because they achieve partial or complete wins at rates up to 95%, according to industry sources. That success rate is often due to a careful focus of a traffic ticket lawyer’s efforts, either in overcrowded and busy courtrooms that desire quick settlements or in jurisdictions that have busy police departments with officers who can’t attend hearings when called.
Increase in Traffic Tickets Clogs the Courts
Cagey traffic ticket attorneys can develop an understanding with judges and prosecutors to keep the heat on truly dangerous motorists while not spending much court time on random offenders. Think again of the chain reaction that occurs due to millions more tickets being written: as more motorists fight tickets, more court dates are scheduled and more cases need to be heard in a limited amount of time. States, counties and cities are not using the increased revenue from tickets to construct more courts and hire more judges; they are probably using the money to keep schools from crumbling and roads paved. Consequently, a skilled traffic ticket attorney can keep a pulse on the rhythm of a traffic court and know when to challenge a speeding ticket and when to back off. The threat of a jury trial in some locales further motivates judges to keep traffic cases moving along and not have to spend precious time and money on such trials. All of these factors work in the guilty motorist’s favor, particularly if a traffic ticket lawyer is hired. Traffic tickets have become so ubiquitous that entire courts are now being separated from other branches of the legal system in some localities. The city of Philadelphia has its own traffic court, for instance, as does the state of California and parishes in Louisiana. More municipal courts might sub-divide to handle the increased number of traffic ticket cases in years to come. Traffic ticket attorneys also stay abreast of the changing laws in the geographical areas that they serve, and they can skillfully argue for fines to be paid in full if points are not added to a driver’s record and a conviction is not recorded, a frequent result in many cases.
Why Lawyers are Streaming into this New Field
So, what’s in it for lawyers who specialize in fighting traffic violations, especially when such miniscule fees are charged? Attorneys in this field say that they have benefited enormously from the recent traffic ticket craze. For starters, the sheer volume of work might make it worth an attorney’s time to focus his entire practice on this domain. For another, having a lawyer get you a reduced fine on a traffic ticket could be the first contact that a consumer has with a lawyer. After a relatively easy win for the client, the attorney is far more likely to be contacted when other legal issues arise in the life of the traffic offender. Who are they going to call? Of course, the man or woman that got their $250 speeding ticket dismissed because the officer wrote the wrong date on the ticket. In summary, if you think that you might need a traffic ticket lawyer, you probably do. The costs incurred will almost always be outweighed by the benefits of getting an attorney on your side in court, especially if you are a repeat offender. Common citizens can fight back when cited for a driving violation; that’s part of the beauty of the American legal system.