Whether you accidentally ran a red light, flipped an illegal U-turn or received a ticket for reckless driving, a traffic ticket has the potential to turn very serious very quickly. A skilled traffic ticket attorney can help to deescalate the situation and prevent the ticket from draining your bank account and interfering with your life.
In some situations, it may make the most financial sense to just pay the fine and move on with your life. In others, however, it could pay off to hire a traffic ticket attorney. USA Today explains three situations in which it makes sense to hire a traffic ticket lawyer.
To reduce penalties
Most states punish most traffic violations with a fine, points on the offender’s driving record or both. If a fine is the only thing at stake, it may make sense for you to just pay it and consider it a lesson learned. However, if the state plans to penalize you with points on your driving record, it may make sense to talk with an attorney.
Points on your driving record can have two major consequences. The first is increased insurance rates. Depending on the violation, your rates may increase by hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Your rates may increase for each additional point you receive.
The second consequence is increased penalties for each additional fine. If you acquire multiple points within a short period of time, you risk losing your license.
To negotiate alternatives
An attorney can advise you of alternatives to paying fines and accepting points on your record. The most popular alternative is traffic school. By attending and completing traffic school, you may be able to remove the points from your record, reduce car insurance rates, prevent additional points from going on your record or even have the ticket dismissed entirely.
To dismiss the ticket
Most traffic ticket attorneys aspire to obtain the best possible outcome for their clients. The best possible outcome is to have the ticket dismissed. There are three instances in which a judge might dismiss a ticket: If the officer does not appear in court, if you agree to participate in a probationary period or if you accept a plea deal relating to a different, less serious violation.