Elizabeth NJ Traffic Violations Lawyer
Our attorneys carefully explain legal options to our clients, which allow the clients to make well-informed decisions about how to proceed. If you have been stopped for a traffic violation and would like to speak with one of our lawyers about representation, please contact us to make arrangements for a free consultation.
Handling the Traffic Ticket without an Attorney
Many traffic violations can be resolved by the individual driver during the court appearance listed on the summons without incurring the expense of hiring an attorney. Generally, this is true when the infraction involves only one summons for speeding or a minor moving or equipment violation, or you do not have a history of driving violations. Under these circumstances, the cost of hiring an attorney can exceed the benefit of having the representation of someone who is familiar with the statutes, the arguments which support a downgrade of the offenses, and the penalties involved with both the charged offense and the downgraded offense.
When to Call a Lawyer about the Ticket
Where however, you have multiple tickets or have been charged with a serious violation you should seriously consider retaining an attorney:
- Driving while your license is revoked
- Driving while your license is suspended
- Operating a vehicle without liability insurance
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Prior convictions for motor vehicle violations
Under these circumstances, an attorney familiar with the statutes, penalties, and rules applicable to your situation can frequently provide a benefit of a lowered fine or reduced period of license suspension or jail.
Consultation with an Attorney
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 has previously represented clients charged with motor vehicle offenses.
Bring the following to the consultation:
- 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 attorney:
- What are the monetary penalties?
- 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.
During the court appearance indicated on the ticket, you will be asked to enter a plea. This is your arraignment on the offense for which you were given the ticket. You can either plead guilty or not guilty.
- If you plead guilty, the court will immediately impose the sentence. Typically, this plea will not involve any factual review of your case or any plea discussions with the Prosecutor.
- 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 an 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, the attorney gains an opportunity to review the State's proofs against you, assess the State's case, and determine whether your best interest is to take the case to trial or enter a plea. It will also provide the attorney an opportunity to discuss the case with the municipal prosecutor and seek a more favorable plea regarding the amount of fine to be imposed, the duration of a license suspension, or the imposition of a jail sentence. If you decide that you want a trial, or if an attorney determines that a trial of your case is in your best interests, an attorney brings knowledge and experience to your case that few non-lawyers possess.
Contact us today to set up your free consultation.