When Is It Time to Hire an Attorney for Traffic Court?
When the flashing blue and red lights of a police vehicle appear behind you, you may or not know why you’re being pulled over. You do know that it is your word against the law enforcement officer and that any citation could end up costing points on your license and raising your insurance premiums. For a minor violation, you may want to handle the matter yourself rather hire an attorney – although a lawyer familiar with the municipality’s traffic court is always an asset. For some violations, including any that potentially involve points, convictions, and jail, you need legal counsel.
If you are a first-time offender facing a routine traffic violation, you may not need to hire a traffic lawyer. You could plead guilty and end up paying a fine, and some people would rather do that than pay legal fees. For minor infractions, there is no need to appear in court if you agree to pay applicable fines. However, you will also end up with points on your driver’s license. An attorney is able to contest the penalty, and possibly have it lowered or dismissed after explaining the circumstances of the violation to the judge. Attorneys are well-versed in possible technical traffic violation defenses. If you are concerned about points on your license, it is worth hiring an attorney even for routine traffic violations. In the long run, attorney fees will likely cost you less than long-term insurance premiums increases.
If you’ve already accumulated points on your license from prior violations, that is a different story. In Maryland, acquiring three to seven points on your license means mandatory enrollment in a Driver Improvement Program. For example, following a vehicle too closely or traveling more than 10 miles over the speed limit will cost you two points for each infraction. If you accumulate eight to 11 points, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration suspends your license.
Serious Traffic Offenses
For certain offenses, hiring an attorney is imperative. There are many situations in which a driver is actually arrested for a traffic offense and criminally charged. While most drivers know they face arrest if stopped for a DUI/DWI, for example, other serious traffic offenses can also lead to arrest. These include driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance, leaving the scene of an accident – a felony if a fatality occurred – and fleeing the police. For these charges, the driver must appear in court. They will receive a court date and the time to appear in the mail. These serious traffic offenses could mean jail time, as well as heavy fines. If convicted, the criminal charges could affect your ability to find employment, apply for loans, maintain a professional license or attend school. Such a conviction can negatively impact your life for years to come.
That’s why you should contact an attorney immediately if you are arrested and charged with a serious traffic violation.
The experienced traffic court attorneys at Blackford & Flohr can help you fight traffic tickets to avoid points on your license and increased insurance premiums. Our knowledge of local traffic courts gives us insight in achieving penalty minimalization. Call us today at 410-647-6677, or contact us online.