Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer is Inexpensive and Convenient
For your common everyday citation, such as running a stop sign or illegal u-turn most traffic attorneys charge less than $100. Their representation includes setting your case for a hearing, attending all hearings, and resolving your ticket in the best possible way (see below). All you have to do is hire them. This means no wasted time for you attending hearings that end up getting continued to another day.
The one thing you need to watch is the law office's communication skills - do they keep you informed? If they do, the price is well worth the peace of mind.
Knowing the Law Makes All the Difference in Court
I have seen many people plead guilty to a traffic ticket that had a valid and absolute defense. If I am not their representative I cannot speak for them and I have to watch as they leave court with a fine to pay. Many traffic infractions do require more than just a police officer saying you did it. Sometimes what they testify to is objectionable (it cannot come in as evidence if you object). Without knowing the law and not objecting - the evidence comes in against you. Moreover, certain citations have absolute defenses but, again, you must know what these are if you are going to succeed. Finally, some traffic tickets can be easily dismissed. For example, a driver that has requested a hearing within 30 days of receiving a traffic ticket will have that ticket dismissed if it is not set for a hearing within 180 days - that is, if you point that out to the court.
Some Traffic Tickets Have Serious Ramifications
In Florida some traffic citations have ramifications beyond just paying the fine. A speeding ticket that is for driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit has a mandatory hearing (an attorney can cover this for you) and one for 50 mph over the limit is a $1,000+ fine.
There are even more insidious traffic tickets out there. A good example is the "driving on a suspended license" ticket. Many people just pay the fine. The problem is that if you pay the fine for three of these tickets within a five year period the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for 5-years. No one tells you that when you are paying the ticket.
Without knowing all the laws the risk you run by simply paying tickets can be more costly than the insurance you buy when you hire an attorney.
Knowledge of the Law is Not the Only Benefit
Knowing the law is good, knowing the judge/hearing officer/policeman is better. Being in court day after day attorneys run into the same police officers over and over again. We can't help but become friends in this setting. That friendship can often lead to an amendment of the ticket in our client's favor. For example, an amendment of a citation originally filed as Unlawful Speed >15mph over the limit amended to violation of traffic control device just saved a driver a couple hundred dollars.
Hiring an Attorney Should Give You Access to Their Knowledge
Here I am speaking only for myself. When I represent a driver for a citation I want the driver to ask questions. Hopefully, I will never see this client again and I know that if I can impart some knowledge of the law and treat him or her well, if another traffic ticket is received I'll be rehired. Moreover, I want my clients to know we are trying our best and if a friend of theirs is cited they will refer me.
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