When you think of traffic court, what do you picture? Is it grandiose TV scenes of judges in black robes and high-profile lawyers with custom-made suits? Or is it more like the fourth floor of Pawnee City Hall from Parks and Recreation?
In reality, traffic court is somewhere in between, and there are a lot of headaches involved with fighting a traffic violation.
Here’s what you can expect if you end up in traffic court:
- Long lines: Lawyers typically get called first in traffic court, leaving non-lawyers, aka normal, everyday citizens, sitting on an uncomfortable bench for hours at a time. When Crescent City Law represents you in traffic court, a lawyer can typically have your case resolved within three hours from start to finish.
- Wasted time: If you choose to battle your traffic violation on your own without the help of an experienced attorney, you could have to take up to two half-days off of work to fight the case.
- No cell phone access: Non-lawyers typically are not allowed to bring their cell phones into the courtroom, so be sure to bring a magazine or book to pass the time since you can’t catch up on emails or play Candy Crush on your phone.
- Don’t be too optimistic about resolving your case in just one visit. Crescent City Law speaks from experience: You could have to go to court more than once to settle the case.
- Don’t expect help from anyone inside the courtroom, unless you have an experienced attorney working on your behalf. The law prohibits the judge and clerks of court from giving advice. Prosecutors are unable to provide advice because it is a conflict of interest.
- Plan on having to pay some sort of fee. Even if the judge or court administrator lessens the severity of your violation or changes it to a non-moving violation, you should still expect some type of fee to be involved.
Should you hire an attorney to handle your traffic ticket?
Even the most routine of traffic tickets can end up costing a pretty penny, whether it’s a speeding ticket or a citation for improper lane usage. Do you want to admit fault and pay the fine in full? Or would you rather pay less and spend less time in traffic court? When should you consider hiring a lawyer to help with your traffic case? Here are some scenarios to consider:
- Do you want the ticket off your driving record?
- Do you want the fine reduced or eliminated?
- Do you want the ticket dismissed altogether?
Lawyers who fight cases in traffic court know things that ordinary citizens don’t always know, such as:
- The officer who issued the citation might not show up in court.
- Local, specialized traffic laws that you might not be familiar with.