Can you afford to have a traffic or speeding infraction on your record? Not every infraction (the charge on a ticket) is reported to insurance companies. For those that are not, it may be more cost-effective to handle the ticket yourself (e.g., seatbelt violations, inattentive driving, expired tabs). However, more serious infractions, like speeding, can raise insurance rates significantly—and, it takes years for the ticket to go off your record. If you cannot afford increased insurance rates for years to come, hiring a knowledgeable attorney to try to beat the ticket is probably the most cost-effective option.
Do you know which arguments are persuasive with the judge in your court and which are not? Courts across the state vary widely in their interpretations of the law and the rules as they apply to the facts of a given case. An experienced lawyer knows which arguments are persuasive with a particular judge. Rarely are these arguments persuasive:
· “I was only going 5 miles over the speed limit, not 15," or
· “I was just going with the flow of traffic," or
· “The car beside me was going faster than I was," or
· “I was going downhill," or
· “The officer never showed me the radar reading."
These, and similar arguments, are a waste of time at a contested hearing. More importantly, the opportunity to make an argument proven to be persuasive in that particular court has been lost.
Do you have the time to handle your own case? Hiring a lawyer can save you time and stress. In most Washington courts, a person need not be present for court if they have a lawyer at their hearing. This avoids the time, cost and hassle of taking off from work to attend court—particularly if the court is in a distant location.
Do you face serious consequences if a ticket goes on your record? Employees who drive company vehicles may lose their job due to increased insurance costs of the employer. Even employees who drive their own vehicles on the job may lose their job if their employer is worried about future liability due to the employee's poor driving record. Commercial drivers can lose their livelihood if their CDL is suspended due to certain infractions. Persons found to have committed 20 moving violations within 5 years are classified as a habitual traffic offender and lose their license for several years. People facing these or other serious consequences should seek the help of a professional.
This legal guide is not intended to teach anyone the law, nor is it a substitute for the advice of a lawyer in possession of full disclosure of the facts relevant to an individual’s particular situation. This legal guide does not create an attorney-client relationship between the writer and any reader.