If it were that simple, we would all be attorneys

///If it were that simple, we would all be attorneys

Many of us have been there before – you’re late to work, it’s 6:30am, and there are hardly any other drivers on the road. You rationalize that it’s a one-time thing, as the speedometer needle creeps up to 55mph while you’re in a 40mph zone. Seemingly out of nowhere, red and blue lights are flashing in your rearview mirror. As the police cruiser pulls away, you are left with a speeding ticket in your hand and a date set for appearing in traffic court.

The first question that may pop up in a person’s mind is whether or not to retain an attorney for the court appearance. Perhaps advice from friends or family directs you to “just represent yourself in court and/or pay the fine.”

This isn’t in your best interest.

It’s important to remember that with each moving violation you receive, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) is tracking how many offenses you accumulate over the years using a points system. For example, six points within three years will earn you a surcharge fee of $150. If you neglect to pay this fine, the MVC can suspend your license. Let’s put this into perspective. That speeding ticket you were given carries a four-point penalty. Sometime over the next two years, you happen to roll through a stop sign and are duly ticketed. You have now reached the six-point threshold and have earned yourself a surcharge fee, with the possibility of license-suspension due to nonpayment.

This basic scenario—along with many other more complicated situations—could have ultimately been avoided had you opted for legal representation in court. Keep in mind that a traffic attorney possesses the necessary skills needed to either have a case dismissed, or at least work towards minimizing penalties that may include fines, points, or even community service or jail time. While you may believe that appearing before a judge is as simple as presenting your case and hoping he or she appeals to your common sense approach, this is not the reality. A traffic attorney knows the law and “Rules of Court” and understands that a judgment must be based upon these criteria. It’s best to trust a professional who knows how to function properly in a court of law and when it’s in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. In a more dire circumstance involving community service or jail time, an attorney is your best option for lessening the punishment.

Also bear in mind that pursuant to New Jersey’s Rules of Court, attorney-represented cases are heard first—saving you the tedium of arriving in court at the scheduled time of 8:30am and not being called up until 3:30pm. As a bonus, if your attorney is able to have your case dismissed entirely, that long seven-hour day you may have spent in court (had you represented yourself) can now be chalked up to a minor inconvenience and a lesson learned. There are benefits to hiring an attorney, but make sure you hire an experienced traffic attorney for your matter. Download our free resource to learn the top five questions to ask your traffic attorney when you interview him or her.