As a criminal defense attorney, I am often asked if someone needs a lawyer for traffic offenses. The answer is complicated. Sometimes it is okay to represent yourself, but sometimes you will be doing yourself a disservice by not hiring an attorney. This article will address some of the pros and cons of representing yourself in traffic related offenses. Furthermore, this article will address some of the consequences of representing yourself without full knowledge of the law.
Representing yourself may not pose serious risks if you are dealing with a non-moving violation or a ticket that you can simply pay off without any consequences with the DMV or your insurance company. The issue is deciding whether you are dealing with a non-moving violation or not. The answer is not always so clear cut, some offenses which on their face appear to be non-moving violations, can actually be moving violations and have dire consequences for your privilege to drive. If you are not sure if you can pay a ticket off without any consequences, schedule a free consolation with an attorney. Most lawyers will not waste their time representing you if the outcome will be the same if your handled your own matter. The pro of handling your own matter can be saving a little bit of money. The consequences of representing yourself when you probably should have hired a lawyer are plenty and some are grave consequences.
Many people have handled a ticket or two on their own without representation. So why are they hiring a lawyer now? Often times, because their representation of themselves had dire consequences and they are either experiencing a huge insurance increase, or even worse, they have lost their privilege to drive because DMV has suspended their license. There are many ways a person’s license can be suspended. In some states, just for example, if you plead to two speeding tickets over 55 mph within a 12-month period, your license will be suspended. So, when the district attorney offers for you to plead to 60 in a 55 instead of the actual 70 in a 55 that you were driving when you got the ticket, you may think it sounds like a good deal, but the district attorney is not allowed to tell you the implications of a plea agreement. You accept the plea at your own risk. If you have represented yourself in the past and are now experiencing huge consequences because of your representation, you should still meet with a lawyer. Just because your case is over, that does not mean that a lawyer cannot try to fix things.
As you can see, it can be a lot simpler to consult with an attorney prior to representing yourself. Often times, you will find that it is a good idea to have legal representation, it can save you both time and money. In the event that you do not need a lawyer, great, the consultation will help you realize that you can just pay the ticket off with no serious consequences. When you do not consult with an attorney, you run the risk of spending a lot more money in the long run. It is easier for us to handle your case than to try and go back and fix issues once you have handled a case on your own.
In short, do you always need a lawyer to represent you for traffic offenses? The answer is no. Should you always consult with an attorney prior to representing yourself? The answer is yes! The pros of representing yourself can be saving a little bit of money. The cons of representing yourself can be spending much more money in the long run, facing serious consequences including the revocation of your driver’s license and spending much more time in the courtroom than you needed to. Consult with an attorney and hire one if you find that it will be helpful in your traffic matter!