Whether a traffic violation should be handled by you, or by an experienced defense lawyer like the lawyers at Bailey & Orozco, depends on several factors. Generally, when you have only one summons for a fairly simple violation such as a minor moving or equipment violation, the cost of hiring a defense lawyer is outweighed by the benefit you will receive from retaining the lawyer. Where however, you are charged with several serious moving violations; or, you have a history of driving violations, you should consider the benefits of hiring a defense lawyer to defend your license. An experienced defense lawyer is familiar with the statutes; the arguments which support a downgrade of the offenses you are charged with; and, the penalties involved with both the charged offense and the downgraded offense.
Where you have been charged with a serious violation such as Drunk Driving; Driving while Revoked or Suspended; Operating a Vehicle without Liability Insurance; or, Leaving the Scene of an Accident; or have a history of motor vehicle violations, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced defense lawyer like Howard Bailey. Frequently, the decision to hire a defense lawyer under these circumstances will result in a shorter jail term, a lower fine, or a reduced period of license suspension.
Consultation with a Defense Lawyer
Within twenty-four hours of receiving the Summons write a complete account of the incident starting prior to the stop and ending after you are released by the officer. DO NOT SHARE THIS NARRATIVE WITH ANYONE ELSE.
Make an appointment to consult with an attorney who frequently represents clients charged with motor vehicle offenses.
What to bring to the appointment with the lawyer:
- The narrative writing you prepared of all details of the incident.
- All documents regarding this or past driving offenses.
- Medical documents for any condition that you had at the time of the incident.
- The names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
Considerations and Penalties to discuss with the Lawyer
- What are the monetary penalties of the charged violations?
- Are there Motor Vehicle Points assessed?
- Are there Insurance Eligibility Points assessed?
- What surcharges or costs will be imposed by the Court?
- Are you exposed to a period of license suspension?
- Are you exposed to a Motor Vehicle Revocation Hearing?
- Are you exposed to increased insurance costs on conviction?
- Are you exposed to a jail term?
On your summons are two entries you should check. One indicates whether a court appearance is required. If this box is checked, you must appear in Court to resolve the ticket. The other entry you should check is the Court date. It will tell you the date and time that your ticket is scheduled to be heard by the Court.
When you appear in Court, you will be asked to enter a plea. This is your arraignment on the offense for which you were given the ticket. Generally, you should plead not guilty until a plea has been arranged. If you plead not guilty, the Court will set it down for a trial date, usually within several weeks. This original not-guilty plea will allow for discussions with the Prosecutor regarding the disposition or plea. If a defense attorney is retained to represent you, the attorney will enter an appearance on your behalf with the Court, and waive the arraignment while requesting a copy of the reports pertaining to your ticket(s).
By waiving your appearance and entering an original not-guilty plea, a defense lawyer like those at Bailey & Orozco gets to review the State's proofs against you, evaluate the State's case and determine whether it is in your best interests to take the case to trial or enter a plea. It will also provide the defense lawyer with an opportunity to discuss the case with the Municipal Prosecutor and seek a more favorable plea on your behalf, to reduce the amount of fine imposed; the length of a license suspension; or, the possibility of a jail sentence. If you decide that you want a trial, or if your defense lawyer determines that a trial of your case is in your best interests, a lawyer brings knowledge and experience to your case that few non-lawyers possess.
If you are charged with a serious motor vehicle violation, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer like Howard W. Bailey to discuss whether you will benefit from having a lawyer represent you. Ask the lawyer how many cases like yours he has handled; the penalties which you are facing; and, what type of plea you can expect the State to offer you.