We can all agree that getting a traffic ticket sucks.
Hiring a traffic ticket lawyer can make all the difference . . .
Whether it is keeping points off your record, saving you from long lines and multiple court appearances, reducing fines, avoiding traffic school or keeping your insurance rates down, hiring a traffic ticket lawyer you can trust, is critical to saving you time, money and peace of mind.
In this article, we answer your most frequently asked questions about traffic ticket lawyers.
Who are traffic ticket lawyers?
Let’s face it…
You can can’t drive anywhere in Las Vegas without seeing an advertisement for a traffic ticket lawyer.
Any lawyer in private practice, can, and often does handle traffic tickets.
This could be a ticket for a family member or friend…or it could be a ticket for an existing client.
Often, these lawyers do not hold themselves out as traffic ticket lawyers but rather lawyers that can handle a traffic ticket.
On the other hand . . .
A lawyer that focuses on handling traffic tickets means the attorney is well-versed in legal language regarding traffic tickets.
The lawyer will have handled many different types of tickets in different jurisdictions.
And . . .
They will use their knowledge and experience to identify flaws in your traffic case to get you the best outcome for your traffic ticket.
Does Hiring A Traffic Ticket Lawyer Mean My Penalties Get Reduced?
The answer is the dreaded "it depends."
This means it depends on the jurisdiction prosecuting the ticket.
It also depends on the charges of the ticket. It is a lot harder to get a reckless driving ticket reduced than a 1-10 mile per hour excess speeding ticket.
Generally, reducing ticket penalties means getting the judge to reduce or dismiss your fines and/or driver's license points.
There used to be a time in Clark County where fines were routinely lowered or even dismissed…unfortunately, those days are gone and litigants will likely still have to pay some, or all, of the fines associated with the ticket.
Most ticket attorneys strive to reduce fines, and when it happens, it is a good thing.
Probably more important than reducing the fines though is eliminating your driver's license points. Keeping points off of your driving record can help you avoid increased car insurance rates and even license suspension.
Can A Traffic Ticket Lawyer Get Me Out Of Traffic School?
Whether or not traffic school will be required depends on where the violation occurred, the type of violation and how many violations you have had in the last few years.
Hiring a traffic ticket lawyer means the lawyer can try to negotiate away the requirement for traffic school.
Some jurisdictions offer a buy-out option for drivers meaning the driver can pay an extra fine (usually $100) and buy their way out of traffic school.
If you decide to hire a traffic ticket lawyer, you should let them know at the outset whether or not you are willing to complete traffic school.
Doesn’t Hiring A Traffic Ticket Lawyer Mean My Case Will Be Dismissed Automatically?
The answer is no…your case isn’t dismissed simply because you have hired an attorney.
Again, there used to be a time when traffic ticket lawyers could more easily have traffic tickets dismissed…those days are also over. Our courts take traffic violations seriously and are unlikely to simply dismiss your ticket just because you hired a lawyer.
Sometimes, lawyers can get a ticket dismissed if:
The issuing officer doesn't appear in court. (this rarely happens as officers get paid to come to Court)
You agree to plead to another less serious non-moving violation. (for example, the ticket is changed to a parking ticket or other non-moving violation)
You comply with an unsupervised probationary period. (you might be able to get the charges dismissed if you complete traffic school and have no more tickets for a period of time like 6 months).
Even if your ticket gets dismissed, there is a good chance the Court is still going to require you to pay some or all of the fines associated with the ticket.
Isn’t Hiring A Lawyer To Fight A Traffic Ticket Expensive?
For most seasoned traffic ticket lawyers, the cost to hire an attorney can be anywhere from $25 to a couple of hundred dollars. Usually, these are the fees when you want the lawyer to negotiate the ticket and get the best outcome without you having to come to Court or without the lawyer putting on a trial.
If you want a traffic ticket lawyer to fight the ticket to the end, which means putting on a trial, you should expect to pay the lawyer at least $500 and likely, you will pay several thousand dollars.
What If I Want To Take My Traffic Ticket To Trial?
First and foremost, a traffic ticket trial is no different than any other criminal matter. This means the prosecutor will call witnesses to testify against you in front of a judge if your case ends up in a trial.
It will require at least one appearance by you at traffic court, if not several appearances.
You should expect the police officer to show up and testify against you.
You should be prepared to present evidence to support your defenses to the ticket (you weren’t speeding, you didn’t run the stop sign, you maintained your travel lane, etc.)
You should expect to pay an attorney several hundred if not thousands of dollars to put on a defense.
Are there hidden fees in hiring a traffic ticket lawyer?
You should ALWAYS be sure that the fees quoted for handling your ticket are the only fees you will be charged by the lawyer.
Some unscrupulous traffic ticket lawyers may add hidden fees so it is important to ask, up front, how much you will pay directly to the attorney to handle your traffic ticket.
Can’t I Just Get a Public Defender Appointed To Me?
Not every person accused of a crime (and yes a traffic citation means you are being accused of a crime), means the appointment of a public defender.
Remember that the statement goes “If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you.”
If you insist on a public defender, you must first prove you cannot afford an attorney.
In addition, depending on where you received the ticket and the seriousness of the charges, may mean that you are not entitled to a public defender.
Typically, any violation that carries serious jail time such as drunk driving will likely qualify as a case where a public defender may be appointed. A simple speeding ticket is likely one where the Court will not appoint you a public defender no matter what!
If you can't afford a private attorney but feel your case is serious enough for legal representation, talk to the court about getting a public defender assigned to you.
What Are The Most Important Factors I Should Consider When Hiring A Traffic Ticket Lawyer?
While this list is not exhaustive, we think the following are the most important factors to consider when hiring a ticket lawyer:
Location. Local attorneys are familiar with your area's traffic codes, and they're more likely to understand the actions of the area's police officers and judges.
Experience. How long has the lawyer been practicing? Are you comfortable with an attorney fresh out of law school, or with one more familiar with the courtroom? Has the attorney handled these types of traffic tickets before and if so, how many?
Success. Don't feel awkward asking the lawyer about his success rate in getting tickets dismissed, fines reduced or dropped, or any other penalties lessened or waived.
Can’t I Just Handle The Ticket Myself?
You can always handle the ticket yourself. The better question is should you?
If you are considering handling your own traffic ticket, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
How much do you value your time? (plan on spending about 2-4 hours, or more, at court trying to resolve your ticket if you do it yourself)
What kind of ticket do you have? If the charges are serious, you are probably better off hiring an attorney.
How important is it to you if you don't get the case dismissed (or if it doesn't get handled properly)?
All of these things play a factor in helping you decide what's right for you and ultimately if you should hire a lawyer or walk into court and just “wing it.”
We hope this article has been helpful. Leave us a comment below and let us know if you are planning to hire a traffic ticket attorney for your traffic ticket or if you decide to go it on your own.
If you do decide you want to hire a traffic ticket lawyer, call our office at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information. We have resolved thousands of traffic tickets in Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite, Clark County, Nye County and throughout Nevada. We can help with your traffic ticket.