Is it absolutely necessary to get a lawyer to handle a traffic ticket? No, but it is recommended. Red light violations, speeding and other sources of traffic tickets may seem like relatively minor matters for many people, but they can have serious repercussions. Most people value being able to drive, and being without a vehicle greatly hinders their freedom. Too many traffic tickets and this freedom will be taken away. Drivers facing tickets should consider that traffic laws in most places are strict and becoming stricter.
The Points System
Points are a way for the state the keep track of an individual motorist’s driving record. Points get added to a driving record when a driver is convicted of violations. How the points system is administered varies by state but a certain number of points acquired over a short period of time can result in a suspended license. The addition of points can also send up the driver’s insurance costs. Points on a driving record can be costly in other ways too, as some jobs require that a driver’s record be clean; as a result, the accumulation of points can mean the difference between being employed and unemployed for some people. It is important for drivers to remember all of this when contemplating whether or not to get a lawyer to represent them.
The Benefits of Hiring a Traffic Lawyer
Traffic lawyers deal with prosecutors and the DMV for a living, they know the system. The average driver who attempts to fight a ticket without the help of an attorney will likely not have this kind of specialized knowledge. They will be dealing with police officers and prosecuting attorneys who have a thorough knowledge of the law and court procedures. A traffic lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors in order to lessen the penalties. For example, a prosecutor may be convinced to change the charges to something that will leave the driver’s insurance rates unaffected. Another way that lawyers can help is with driving classes. Some jurisdictions have classes to educate drivers who have been ticketed. A few hours of traffic school classes and the ticket will be dismissed (if the driver pays it), but drivers have to be eligible. A lawyer can sometimes get their client into these driver re-education classes.
Consequences of Not Hiring a Traffic Ticket Atttorney
If their license is suspended, the driver faces the potential of criminal misdemeanor charges should they attempt to drive. This may mean even greater fines as well as the potential for jail time. This is the same class of offence that DUI charges fall into, so they are not to be taken lightly. Ticketed drivers may balk at the expense of paying a traffic ticket atttorney to handle their case. They should consider the extra money they will be paying to their insurance company if points are added to their driving record. The addition of points can amount to substantial increases in the amount of money paid for insurance. In some cases a single point can amount to the driver’s insurance rates going up by as much as 25 percent. The only way to avoid the points and avoid paying the extra money is by contesting the ticket. The best way to contest the ticket is by hiring a qualified traffic ticket attorney.