You are not required to engage a lawyer for a speeding ticket. You may simply pay the fine, or show up at the scheduled hearing and attempt to represent yourself. However, in many cases, you will achieve a better result if you hire a lawyer.
Each state has its own traffic laws and procedures for enforcing them. Furthermore, within each state, individual counties often have widely varying procedures and policies for adjudicating traffic charges. For instance, in some Virginia counties the police officer will prosecute all but the most serious speeding tickets, while in other counties the county’s prosecutor will do so.
In some counties, the judge has a policy that in the case of a driver who has received a speeding ticket but who heretofore has had a good driving record, if the driver will attend a driver improvement class the court will dismiss the speeding charge. For tickets involving high speeds, the court might agree to reduce the charge to a lower speed, or to a defective equipment charge if the diver does driving school and/or a certain number of hours of community service. The exact parameters of these informal policies frequently vary from county to county and they are usually not published and available to the public. However, an experienced local traffic attorney will be familiar with these policies.
Many drivers are under the misimpression that they must have a good defense to the speeding charge before a lawyer, like a reckless driving lawyer Abingdon VA trusts, can be of valuable assistance. This is completely wrong. The overwhelming majority of drivers that traffic lawyers help are guilty of the speeding charge. For those guilty drivers, an experienced and proficient local traffic lawyer is able to get a reduction or dismissal of the charge in many cases by bringing the good driving history and character of the driver to the consideration of the judge, prosecutor and police officer, and arranging for the driver to go to a driver improvement school or to do community service. Further, it is well known that the simple action of hiring a traffic lawyer to appear for you creates a favorable impression with the court and prosecutor and a tendency for them to agree to a less harsh penalty. And often, prosecutors will negotiate prior to the traffic hearing only with a lawyer.
A traffic lawyer can be particularly valuable for an out-of-state driver. The cost in time and travel expenses often makes it prohibitive for a driver to return to the state and county where he received the ticket in order to attend the hearing. A local traffic lawyer can appear on his behalf. This often makes a crucial difference because frequently a driver can obtain the best relief only if someone attends the proceedings in person on his behalf.
In sum, while it is usually not necessary to engage a traffic lawyer to assist with a speeding ticket, a traffic lawyer can frequently reduce the negative consequences of that speeding ticket, even if the driver is guilty of the charged offense. Thus, if you receive a speeding ticket, it is nearly always advisable to obtain a free consultation from a local experienced traffic lawyer as to your options before you decide to go it alone.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their into speeding and reckless tickets.