Anyone who gets a traffic citation knows that there will be a fine of a particular amount levied when they receive the traffic ticket. In addition to the fine that is incurred, there are some expenses that you may not consider and some other issues that may not occur to you at the time of getting the traffic citation. By example, insurance rates, both for automobile coverage and life, can increase and that increase can affect you for some time to come. Then there is the fact that any traffic ticket for which you are found guilty will remain on your driving record permanently. Even for those who are aware of these ancillary expenses, many times people don’t include court costs when tallying up the expenses they will face due to traffic tickets.
Often the purpose of court costs is not very well understood. They are fees that are charged for the administrative expenses related to your traffic ticket. Drivers who are found guilty of traffic offenses have to bear the court system’s “cost of doing business,” and unfortunately, so do those drivers who just pay their ticket because they don’t want to have to deal with the frustration that can occur when fighting a traffic ticket. These fees go into the state’s general fund and are used to support a large amount of the court’s budget.
It can be quite surprising to an unsuspecting driver to learn that court costs can be much higher than the fine associated with the traffic citation. To add to the frustration of getting the traffic ticket alone, these fees seem unjust. This is especially true if you or someone you know has gotten a traffic ticket for the same violation previously, but were charged a different amount for the court costs. Although it IS unjust, this usually happens because of the powers of discretion allotted to judges. Fortunately, there is a limit to the amount that even the most stringent judge can order.
It seems like the cost of contesting a traffic citation should not be any more or less expensive at any given time, but it does happen and these costs fluctuate greatly. The system is set up in such a way that it which makes it extremely difficult to fight a traffic ticket on your own. This can lead the average driver to become disheartened at the thought of “going it alone” when fighting his or her traffic ticket. For most people, going into court to tell the judge that you were just trying to keep up with traffic or that you were not exceeding the speed limit by as much as the officer stated may sound like fairly reasonable arguments. I can assure you that few judges will agree with you on this point. Presenting an argument such as this, in fact, can be construed as a confession to the violation of which you are accused, and the judge is likely to impose penalties to whatever extent the law will allow.
There are other factors as well that can affect your court costs such as what type of traffic ticket you get. There are some traffic tickets that are considered more serious than others. A speeding ticket fine for going 10 miles over the speed limit is going to be less than the fine for going 25 miles over, and this is also true for court costs.
Another factor that the court considers when assessing your court costs is your driving history. Someone who has not had a traffic ticket for quite a while is likely to pay less in court fees than someone who habitually ignores traffic laws. Judges tend to get annoyed with drivers who seem to have little-to-no regard for traffic laws. Consequently, they can be harsher in imposing fines and penalties when facing someone with a poor driving record. I assure you; your driving record WILL be considered.
Another component that many drivers may overlook when appearing before a traffic court judge or hearing officer is attitude. No matter how innocent you may be or how slight the infraction is, if you appear in court with a chip on your shoulder, you can anticipate it having a bearing on whether or not your ticket is dismissed/reduced, or whether the judge hits you with every penalty he can. Judges see defendants all day long, and it can lead to a tedious day. This is apt to cause them to have little tolerance if you go before him or her and behave badly. They will also take into account if the officer who wrote the ticket notates that you were uncooperative or otherwise unpleasant at the time it was issued.
Whoever the judge is that you appear before is also an important consideration. Some judges are known to lean towards leniency, but others have an equal reputation for imposing the maximum amount of court costs that they can possibly assess. Why this is can vary. Listening to one excuse after another all day certainly must become wearisome to many judges. Remember that judges are people too and are just as inclined to have a bad day as anyone else which could have a bearing on the outcome of YOUR fines and penalties. It may not be just, but it does happen.
These issues may seem unfair, but it is a clear indicator as to why hiring a knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney can be a tremendous asset to your case. Granted, once the unpleasant surprise of court costs is revealed, you may feel that the additional expense of a traffic ticket attorney is just one more cost you will incur. You should bear in mind though that with our experience in the court room, you have a much greater chance that your traffic ticket will be reduced or dismissed. This obviously reduces or eliminates the expenses associated with your traffic citation because sometimes the court costs are two or three times that of the ticket itself. Even if a traffic ticket attorney doesn’t get your ticket dismissed, he or she may be able to get your court costs reduced because the judge has the latitude to decide whether or not to do so. In addition to our knowledge and experience, we often have developed relationships with many of the judges in South Florida.
Many times, when a driver is trying to assess the best financial course of action, these court fees are seldom considered, and adding the cost of an attorney may not always seem equitable. It is, therefore, critical to keep in mind the ways that we can help you. Hiring a traffic ticket attorney doesn’t always ensure that fighting your traffic ticket will result in a favorable outcome. Consider, however, the knowledge that we obtain through both law school and doing what we do on a daily basis, and couple those things with the relationships that we have formed with those in the court system over the years. These are powerful tools that work successfully 99% of the time in getting our clients’ traffic tickets dismissed or reduced. This minimizes the amount of costs that you incur, and also can help you to avoid points on your license. Let us put that success to work for you. Please give us a call for a free consultation.