When Do I Need an Attorney for Traffic Court?
You see the flashing lights in your rear view mirror, pull slowly to the side of the road, and wait for the police officer to approach your car. You may or may not know the reason you are being pulled over, but you do know that it is your word against that of the police officer. If you receive a citation it could add points to your license and raise your insurance rates. While some minor violations can be handled on your own, but for some violations, especially those that involve points, convictions, or jail time, you need the experience of an attorney who is familiar with traffic court.
If you are a first-time offender, you still need an attorney. An attorney can assess your case and determine whether you should plead guilty and ask for a probation before judgment (which will prevent any points from being assessed on your license), or having a trial. If you have received a minor infraction, you don’t need to appear in court as long as you pay the fine. However, you will get points on your license if you pay the fine in advance. Points can have an impact on your insurance rates, and in some cases your job. If you have a Provisional License, any conviction or probation before judgment will result in a suspension of your license. An attorney can contest the penalty and may have it lowered or dismissed. If you are worried about points being added to your license, it is worth hiring an attorney even for minor infractions. You must also take into consideration that attorney’s fees may cost you less over the long term if your insurance premiums increase. If you hire an attorney to contest a traffic citation, you do not need to appear in court, the attorney will appear on your behalf and waive your presence. If the citations arise from a collision, an attorney will be able to help you take the best course of action to avoid civil liability as well.
In order to contest your ticket you must act within 30 days of the issuance of the citation. Follow the instructions on the citation itself to request a trial. Don’t request a “waiver hearing” you are admitting guilt and will not have the opportunity to contest your guilt. Also, if you request a trial and the officer fails to appear, you automatically win. If you have trouble requesting a trial, missed the deadline to do so, or have questions, contact an experienced traffic attorney.
If this isn’t your first offense and you’ve already accumulated points on your license from a previous violation, you need legal representation. In Maryland if you acquire three to seven points you will be required to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. If you accumulate eight to 11 points, your driver’s license will be suspended.
Serious Traffic Offenses
Some traffic offenses make hiring an attorney critical. There are many situations where a driver is arrested for a traffic offense and charged with criminal charges. While most drivers know when they are being stopped for a DUI, for example, other offenses can lead to your arrest as well. Driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing the police, and driving without insurance can all result in an arrest. These offenses could result in significant fines and jail time which could impact your ability to get a loan, find employment, get or keep a job, rent a home, or attend school.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a traffic violation, even if it seems like a fairly minor infraction, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney on your side. The La Plata & Waldorf criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. can help you fight a traffic violation to prevent points being added to your license and your insurance rates from increasing. For more serious violations, an attorney can lessen your fines and keep you from having to spend time behind bars. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.