Unfortunately, sooner or later almost everyone gets pulled over for speeding, driving through a red light or a similar minor traffic violation.
You might think hiring an attorney to help you fight the ticket is an unnecessary expense and hassle; in some cases, however, a lawyer might be a worthwhile investment.
Of course, if you obviously violated a traffic regulation with no mitigating circumstances and therefore plan to simply plead guilty and pay your fine, it may not be worth paying for an attorney — although even in this situation, an attorney may be able to help significantly reduce the nature of the offense of which you are convicted.
Was the Ticket a Mistake?
However, if you believe the ticket was issued mistakenly or illegally, it might be a good idea to challenge it in court — a process with which a qualified attorney could be very helpful. No matter how inappropriate you believe the ticket to be, however, do not argue with the officer about it on the scene. Wait until the assigned court date arrives; you will have your chance then.
The most important thing to remember when deciding whether it is worthwhile to hire an attorney for a minor traffic violation is that you may well be facing significantly more secondary costs than the cost of the initial ticket alone. A $100 ticket may end up costing you thousands over time in increased automotive insurance costs. In addition, many states use a system that assigns you additional points for each traffic offense.
Don’t Go Overboard
Over time, if you are convicted of several traffic violations — even minor ones — you could potentially accumulate enough points that you lose your driver’s license for a certain period of time. If the points on your driving record are close to the cutoff at which you would lose your license, it might well be worth hiring an attorney to help ensure that you do not lose the right to drive.
Even if an attorney is unable to get the traffic ticket completely overturned, he or she may well be able to have it amended. For example, the judge might drop the charge of which you are convicted to a lesser charge that includes a smaller fine, fewer points on your driving record and a less significant impact on your automotive insurance.
Tickets Can Cost Your Job
Another factor to consider is exactly what the ticket means to your livelihood. In particular, if you are a trucker or some other type of commercial driver, you may be dealing with much more complex and potentially serious regulations, even for a relatively minor traffic offense. However, the general principle of how to decide whether or not you need legal counsel will be the same for a commercial driver as for a private driver.
Simply ask yourself whether the potential financial consequences of a conviction — both short and long-term, both direct and indirect — would be more or less than the cost of the legal counsel? Of course, this can sometimes be a difficult question to answer like if you should use loans through Jaguar loans.