We see a lot of traffic tickets. Clients have often been misled about what happens in court with a ticket. Here is the real scoop: courts do not typically lower your fine. This is what shocks clients the most. There are a few exceptions: 1) If you receive a non-moving violation such as failure to provide valid insurance, but you actually had valid insurance when you received the citation, the court will dismiss the fine. For moving violations however, it is rare. The court will typically offer your attorney the option of negotiating the ticket down to a no-point ticket (meaning points are not reported to the DMV so subsequently your insurance rates will not be affected), but because they are doing you that favor means you are still going to pay your fine in full; 2) Your fine may be reduced in a “corrective” situation. Using the above example, if you did not have valid insurance at the time you received the ticket, but you since have obtained valid insurance, the court will typically reduce the fine.
Traffic School –> Courts are requiring traffic school quite often. You will pay the expense for this out-of-pocket (but it can be very, very inexpensive) along with your fine if the judge rules you must complete traffic school in order to eliminate or reduce points. Certain courts will allow you to “buy-out” of traffic school for an additional fine (some as high as $100.00), other courts do not offer this option at all. Bottom line – prepare yourself that traffic school may be required!
You typically get one shot at an offer –> this means if the court makes you an offer to lower the violation to a no-point or reduced-point violation, you better meet the requirements 100%, or the court can and most times will revert your violation back to its original form and prohibit you or an attorney from making another negotiation in the future. This means if you are ordered to pay a fine and complete traffic school by a certain date, and you complete these requirements one day past that date, you are subject to losing the offer. On top of that, other penalties may be added including, but not limited to, a failure-to-appear warrant (FTA) for your arrest.
Why you should let an attorney negotiate for you –> attorneys know how each court operates and can guide you on what to expect. A traffic ticket can affect your driving record, can lead to suspension or loss of your driving privileges, and a warrant for your arrest. It happens every day!
Don’t buy into law firms that over-promise and under-deliver! Our attorneys will be open and honest about what to expect.
Here are some tips when you receive a traffic ticket:
1) Don’t lose the ticket! It makes it much easier for your attorney if you can produce the ticket;
2) Don’t wait until the last minute to ask an attorney for help. Some courts require attorneys to schedule their hearings in advance, and you can lose your chance at having an attorney help you at all. Call us as soon as possible when you receive the ticket.
3) Unless your violation included unique circumstances (such as an accident, etc.) do not expect your attorney to advise you to go to trial to plead with the judge to dismiss your ticket. Rarely is this a smart financial decision. Paying the ticket will typically cost much less than going to trial. Additionally, you must have EVIDENCE to go to trial. If you simply plan to argue that you were not speeding, how do you plan to prove it? Do you have a letter from a certified mechanic that your car is and was at the time of the violation incapable of going that speed? Do you have the money to go to trial to fight against the radar? Remember that there is a presumption that the officer is right – and you must overcome that presumption. Trust your attorney on his/her guidance of how to proceed – whether with or without a trial. In most cases, the attorney hearing is sufficient to get the best plea possible.
4) Do not believe that the court won’t issue a warrant. It will. A simple traffic ticket is still a criminal matter – warrants are issued every day and people do go to jail.
If you have received a ticket, or have been notified that a warrant has been issued, call us today for assistance! 702-515-1500