Many people don’t think they need an attorney for a speeding ticket, but not having one can cost you time and money. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a criminal record, pay fines in the thousands of dollars, or end up in jail. Jail time may seem like a far fetch for speeding ticket cases, but it can AND DOES happen in Virginia.
This article will highlight why you should consider hiring a lawyer for your speeding or reckless driving ticket.
The Point System
Dealing with a speeding ticket without an attorney can result in points on your license. In Virginia, drivers who speed over 10 to 19 mph over the posted speed limit can face a four-point penalty, and for speeding violations of 19 mph or more over the posted speed limit, you can face up to a six point penalty.
In Virginia, if you accumulate too many points in 12 months, the state can suspend your license. In addition, if you incur 18 or more points in a 24-month time span, the DMV can suspend your license. The process for getting your license back can take months or longer.
However, a speeding or reckless driving ticket attorney can appear in court on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor or ask the judge to reduce or dismiss your charge, resulting in fewer points or no points at all.
Rising Car Insurance Rates
When your insurance company catches wind of the speeding ticket or reckless driving ticket, expect your rates to go up.
Your driving history is available to any insurance company that subscribes to a records service. Using these services, your insurance carrier can pull records from the DMV.
However, if your attorney is successful in having your charge dismissed or reduced, your record will reflect that positive outcome.
Many people don’t hire traffic lawyers because they think they’re expensive. However, hiring an attorney for traffic matters is cheaper than many people think. By hiring legal counsel, you’ll save money in two key areas:
- Reduced Fines: Oftentimes, your attorney can get your charge reduced or dismissed, resulting in lower fines and court costs.
- Insurance Rates: Insurance companies will typically make you pay a higher premium for three to five years if you are found guilty of a traffic offense. An attorney can negotiate and argue your case to get your charge dismissed or reduced. Keeping serious offenses off of your record will keep your insurance premiums from rising.
If you want to fight a ticket on your own, the process can be cumbersome if you handle it independently. Traffic court can take hours. Moreover, you must take time off from work and rearrange your schedule to attend court.
You must also spend time crafting a defense. Even if you have a strong defense, you may not be aware of court protocols, the rules of evidence, or criminal procedure.
An attorney knows how to navigate the criminal justice system and will know how to argue effectively on your behalf. Oftentimes, an attorney can handle your case without you even needing to come to court. Hiring a lawyer can free up your time and free you from the stress of traffic court matters.
Know Your Rights
The General District Court, where traffic matters are heard in Virginia may seem minor and easy to navigate on your own. However, if you don’t know your rights, officers or prosecutors can take advantage of your inexperience with the law.
When you’re in court, you are afforded certain basic rights:
- The right to find an attorney and craft a strong defense
- The right to be treated equally
- The right to be innocent until proven guilty
- The right to summon witnesses for your case
- The right to remain silent
- The right to confront and cross examine the witnesses against you
An attorney will exercise and protect your rights and make sure that you get the best possible defense.
A Good Lawyer Knows the Local Courts
An attorney can tell you what you’re up against. The attorney will also know what arguments work best with which judges, and how to present the best defense strategy. In addition, showing a judge that you’ve devoted time and resources into hiring an attorney demonstrates that you take the charge against you seriously.
Your lawyer will also know the prosecutor and should have a good working relationship with them. A lawyer who is familiar with local courts and prosecutors can negotiate more effectively for a better outcome for your case.
Fighting Back with a Speeding Ticket Attorney
A reckless driving or speeding ticket attorney can work to keep a traffic violation off your public record. If this blemish stays on your record, you could lose license points and pay higher insurance rates.
In addition, an attorney may be able to prevent you from attending traffic court. More importantly, they will help you protect your rights. An attorney will understand the local procedures and personalities and work to get you the best results possible.
Want to know how to choose the best attorney in Richmond, Virginia? Click here to learn more.