What Happened?: So imagine you were rolling a little too fast on that stretch of Dumbarton Road that everyone seems to speed on, and on this particular day, one of the boys (or gals) in blue caught you red-handed and lead-footed. You get pulled, you get a ticket for doing 45 in a 35, and now you have to either A. pay the ticket and take the points, or B. go to court and try to improve your outcome (or C. ignore it and not pay, which is a terrible idea and we won’t discuss it further).

What if I Just Take the Ticket and Pay It?: There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this option, and the ticket might only cost a couple hundred bucks or less. But what other expenses are associated with pleading guilty and paying up? Your Mileage May Vary, but you could see increases in your insurance costs, and if you have a bad record, you might even lose coverage. What’s more, sometimes current or prospective employers will use your driving record as a part of their background screening (and this holds true in positions for driving jobs, and jobs that have nothing to do with driving cars!) This doesn’t mean you have to go to court, not by any means. But if these potential consequences are ones you’d like to avoid, having a hearing on your ticket might be your best bet.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Go to Court with Me?: You likely don’t. Let me be frank and repeat that: all cases are different, but there is a good chance you don’t need to hire a lawyer for a minor traffic infraction (and you won’t be appointed one in any case where jail time isn’t a risk you’re facing). Now is a good place for me to remind you that this blog is not legal advice, you need to talk to a lawyer for that! (Call me!)

The question is (or should be) “Do I want a Lawyer to go with me to Court?” I make my living as a lawyer, so of course I want you to hire me, I want your business, and I want you to have (*but can in no way guarantee*) a good outcome. But you might want me there, too.

With a lawyer, you have a professional who can ask important questions to the police officer who ticketed you, a professional who can ask you important questions that may improve the outcome for you, and if nothing else, you have someone that can admit you are guilty as sin of the underlying act (the speeding or what have you), but who can plead for a more favorable outcome than you might otherwise have (and a more favorable outcome than you’d have if you just took the ticket and paid it).

What if I Have More Questions?: If you want help deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer, E-mail me, Call me at (804) 250-8911 or fill out the form available here.


This Blog originates with the Law Office of Thomas E. A. Bishop, an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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