A traffic ticket does not carry consequences that are as serious as the penalties for a crime or even a DUI. However, a traffic ticket attorney will be familiar with the process in traffic court and may be able to craft a more thorough or creative defense than an individual driver. If you do not want to spend money on retaining a lawyer to represent you at a hearing, discussing your case with a lawyer can give you valuable insights. You may be able to get a referral from someone whom you know or someone in your family. Otherwise, you can explore the Justia Lawyer Directory for traffic ticket lawyers in your area.
A consultation with a lawyer, whether in person or over the phone, might cost about $100 or $200. The attorney should be able to provide advice that allows you to evaluate your options and make smart decisions. If you are facing serious penalties, you might benefit from hiring an attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. This might allow a driver to save their license or reduce their fine. Before you spend any money on a lawyer, though, you may want to look into the law governing your case to make sure that you have some chance of winning.
Choosing Your Lawyer
You should not necessarily retain the first lawyer whom you come across. A traffic ticket case will take time to unfold, so you do not need to feel desperate. You should look for an attorney who has handled many traffic ticket cases before and ideally someone who has handled violations similar to yours. The lawyer should live in your area so that they can easily attend court on your behalf.
Sometimes a traffic ticket lawyer will try to take advantage of a panicking driver and demand a huge fee. You can avoid falling into this trap by paying for an initial case evaluation separately. This will be much less expensive. After you understand the situation more fully based on the lawyer’s analysis, you can make a separate decision about whether to hire them to represent you. If a lawyer seems to push you toward making certain decisions or wants to take control of the decision-making process, you may be justified in feeling uncomfortable. Your attorney should listen to your story, carefully explain the legal principles that apply, and allow you to make strategic decisions to the extent that you choose.
You can fire your attorney at any time, but you should do this in writing and keep a copy for your records. If you have not paid your bill, you may need to negotiate with the attorney over what you owe for the partially provided services.
Prepaid legal plans aim to provide legal services at a lower cost in situations such as traffic violations. Attorneys who participate in these plans may or may not provide quality advice and representation. Sometimes the plans apply only to an initial consultation, after which standard fees take effect. You should not use an attorney through one of these plans unless they have significant experience in traffic court. Traffic tickets rarely carry jail time as a potential penalty, so you probably do not have a constitutional right to a free public defender. (DUI and reckless driving, by contrast, may result in jail time and thus may trigger the right to an attorney.)