Three Questions to Answer When you Receive a Traffic Ticket

When motorists are given a traffic ticket they are often faced with a three way dilemma:
  1) Should I fight the ticket?
  2) Should I fight the ticket on my own or hire someone to fight the ticket?
  3) Who should I hire?

Sometimes it is not worth fighting the ticket. This is often the case when the individual driver is not on an insurance plan. For example driver is living in a city and does not own a car, but merely rents a car from time to time. Another example is if the driver lives in one of the few states that do not put out of state violations on the home driving record. If there are no consequences to an insurance plan then a low level ticket is likely not worth fighting if the driver has an otherwise clean driving record. If the only consequence of a conviction is a fine then for all practical purposes it is a parking ticket. It does not make sense to pay an attorney a few hundred bucks to fight a ticket with a fine of a few hundred bucks. It may not make sense to fight it on your own either. Going to court can take hours off an otherwise productive day.

However, most drivers are on an insurance and insurance can go up thousands of dollars a year for violations on a driving record. In such a case it is almost always prudent to fight the ticket. In the worst case scenario the violation will be reduced to a violation with less points that will have a lesser impact on your insurance.

Whether to fight the ticket on your own or retain an attorney and have the attorney go to court instead of you is another question. There is no easy answer and a lot of depends on the specific circumstances of your case. What is the nature of the violation? How far are you from court? Do you know the court personnel? Do you have the few hours to spare? How comfortable are you in court? Will an attorney get you a better deal? Does an attorney have a method of getting the ticket dismissed entirely?

All these questions have to be evaluated before making a decision on whether to go at it yourself or retain counsel. In my (subjective) opinion, it is almost always worth it to hire an attorney. Attorneys can typically do better than non-attorneys and since the attorney can appear in court in your place you save yourself the time and hassle of going to court.

Once a decision has been made to retain an attorney, the question then becomes who to hire. The first step is to hire a local attorney. Do not hire an attorney in Long Island for a ticket in Buffalo. Do not hire an attorney in Syracuse for a ticket in Manhattan. Second step is to hire an attorney whose entire law practice is dedicated to defending traffic tickets. This rule applies equally to all legal matters. Retain an attorney whose sole area of practice is the legal issue that you need help with. After you eliminate attorneys that are not local and attorneys that do not practice exclusively traffic ticket defense, you may still be left with options for multiple attorneys. At this point you look for experience and reviews. Talk to a few and see which one makes you feel the most comfortable.

Simply hiring the attorney who quotes the lowest legal is not a good idea. Like with everything else you get what you pay for. If you would not go to the cheapest doctor or buy the cheapest material to build your home then you should not hire the cheapest attorney to help with your legal issues. The quality of the service provided can vary significantly. “You get what you pay for” applies to everything including traffic lawyers. This is not to say that the most expensive attorney is the best for your case. There are phonies out there. You need to do your own research and figure out which attorney makes you comfortable.

What you should definitely not do is hire a non-attorney. Stay away from the apps, stay away from the ticket brokers, and stay away from anything that is not explicitly a law firm. Avoid any company with names like “ticket fighter”, “ticket attacker”, “nothing on your record”, etc. The quality of service is often poor.

More importantly you may not have an attorney that is responsible for your case. Attorneys are required by attorney rules to provide a certain standard of service. This is in the background every time you hire an attorney. No attorneys wants to run afoul of the rules and potentially lose their license. You as a client may not realize this, but to the attorney it is very important not to commit malpractice or run afoul of attorney ethics rules. This is one the important factors contributing to the quality of service you receive.

When you are not hiring an attorney or even where you are not hiring an attorney directly then it is impossible or very difficult to make a claim against the company you hired or against the attorney that the company hired. If the person working on your case does not have to worry about malpractice or complying with attorney rules then you can expect a diminished quality of service.

In conclusion, if you get a traffic ticket and you do not want your insurance premiums to go up, the smartest thing to do is to hire a local attorney who specializes in traffic ticket defense.

By: Benjamin Goldman Law Office 189 Southwoods Drive Monticello, NY 12701 (845) 391-3615 .


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