Many people are familiar with hearing advertisements for personal injury lawyers on the radio and TV, or seeing the ads on billboards, but few expect to hire an attorney for….a speeding ticket? Believe it or not, a simple speeding ticket can cost you far more than you originally bargained for. While avoiding a speeding ticket can obviously be best accomplished by carefully heeding the traffic laws, retroactive wisdom is really not that much help. Here is an overview of some of the ins and outs of this legal process.
There are several different types of tickets that you can get. Many of us are familiar with the parking ticket and the speeding ticket. We have probably received one at some point in our lives, or have had a friend and family member be in a bad mood because they got one. It is vital that you understand the difference between a simple ticket and a more serious charge. For example, most tickets are infractions. That means that you broke a law, but it was a less serious offense. This could include expired registrations, speeding, or parking improperly. All of us you drive ought to be aware of the basic rules governing these aspects of driving, but they can be easy to allow to get lax. For example, maybe a light goes out on your car but you simply haven’t had the time to get it replaced. Two days later, you get pulled over and fined for it. This is an example of an infraction, and the fine will probably not be serious. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that anytime a police officer pulls you over the charge will be a mild one, however. There are much more serious charges that can be brought against a driver. For example, there are charges that fall in the range of misdemeanors. These are usually defined as an infraction that involves real or possible damage or threat to property or human life. These charges are much more serious and could even cause you jail time.
So when should you consider consulting a lawyer? Obviously, legal knowledge is helpful anytime you feel that you don’t entirely understand the process that you are going through. If your charges are complex, it is very helpful to have the advice of a lawyer. They can help you through the process. If you fight the charges and are cleared, you may avoid having the ticket or offense permanently put on your record. This could also mean that you avoid the insurance increases that often come after any kind of ticket. By paying the fine without question, you are admitting the validity of the charges. If you think you may have been incorrectly charged, a lawyer can help you sort out your options.
You may be thinking that you probably will never have to think about this information. You are a reasonably careful driver, and you certainly don’t plan on committing a traffic offense that could ever be classified as a misdemeanor or bring criminal charges against you. While it is always a good idea to be a safe driver, it is actually getting harder every year to avoid a traffic ticket. More and more intersections are equipped with cameras that allow them to take photos of alleged traffic violations. Sometimes you may get a letter in the mail informing you that you owe a fine, and you may not even remember the incident. This may be another good time to consult a lawyer, as the picture may not be of you. Everything, even technology, is fallible, so it is perfectly reasonable if you have questions about a photo, especially if you don’t remember being in that particular location.
With the growing number of traffic violation accusations and individuals needing legal help with this issue, an entire group of lawyers have begun to specialize in this field. A speeding ticket lawyer can consult with you about the different kinds of traffic violations and their consequences. He can counsel you about your options and even give you an idea of what the trial process will be like. Also called a traffic lawyer, this professional knows the legal systems of his or her particular state intimately and can bring that knowledge to bear for you.
Whatever your particular situation, it is important to bear in mind that the consequences of certain traffic convictions can be difficult to live with. It is enormously difficult to carry about your day to day business if you have your license taken away. Additionally, a DUI can have several severe penalties. Depending on where you live and the number of violations you have on your record, you can end up paying anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in fines and receive jail time.
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