Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Speeding Ticket?

by J.D. Written by Team eLocal.
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So you got caught speeding, and now, you're facing a traffic ticket. Do you need a lawyer? Do you even need to go to traffic court?

Your next move depends largely on the circumstances and your desired outcome. Find out more about whether you need a speeding ticket attorney.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Traffic Court?

You're not required to have a lawyer when you go to traffic court. Most people represent themselves if they decide to fight a speeding ticket or other traffic violations. However, you can hire a speeding ticket lawyer if you want one to help you contest the ticket. Keep in mind that you'll typically pay more for a lawyer than the amount of a speeding ticket, so it's not always worth the expense.

What Are Some Situations Where It's Beneficial to Hire a Lawyer?

It’s a Severe Violation

People generally hire attorneys for more severe traffic violations, such as DUIs and reckless driving. Those violations can often come with much higher fines, potential loss of your license and even jail time. An attorney can help you avoid those penalties or receive a less severe punishment, so hiring an attorney can be worth the money. Going to jail or paying a large fine can have a major impact on your life.

You Have Too Many Traffic Points

However, you could be facing more severe consequences even for something minor like a speeding ticket if it's not your first violation. Most states use a points system where you get points added for each violation. Once you reach a certain number of points within a designated timeframe, you can have your license suspended. The number of points and timeframe varies by state. The number of points associated with specific violations can also vary. If you're close to the limit because of previous violations, hiring an attorney can help you avoid losing your license, which may be worth the cost.

You Want to Maintain Your Driving Record

You may also want to hire a lawyer if you have a job where your driving record is important. A lawyer may be able to help you reduce penalties to minimize the impact on your employment.

What Are Some Situations Where You Don't Necessarily Need One?

It’s a Simple Speeding Ticket

You typically don't need a speeding ticket lawyer for an average speeding ticket, especially if you don't want to fight it. You can typically just pay the fine and be done with it. You may need to show up at traffic court even if you don't want to fight the ticket. Check on your state's requirements for traffic violations and check any instructions written on the ticket.

You Want to Contest the Ticket Yourself

If you want to fight the ticket, you can go to traffic court yourself and contest it. Sometimes, the officer who issued the ticket won't show up, and you might get the ticket dismissed. Other times, you'll have to ask for a hearing and present your case to the judge. Other minor traffic violations are also usually fine to contest yourself. An attorney can always help you better understand your rights and court procedures, but it may not be worth hiring one for minor violations.

What Will a Speeding Ticket Lawyer Do for You?

When you hire a speeding ticket lawyer, you have an expert in the field to fight your case for you. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your argument. Experienced attorneys have many legal strategies and understand the traffic laws of your state, which can increase your odds of successfully fighting the case. Your attorney saves you time by doing the legwork for the case.

They also show up to court with you when you fight the case. Your attorney will take the lead on dealing with the court, which can be a relief if you don't have any legal experience or don't feel comfortable handling your defense yourself.

So, Should You Hire a Speeding Ticket Attorney?

If you're not going to fight the speeding ticket, you typically don't need to hire an attorney. You simply need to pay the fine. If it's a simple speeding ticket that you want to fight yourself and you're not at risk of losing your license, you might also feel comfortable representing yourself without an attorney. If your situation is more complicated and you have more at risk, such as losing your license, hiring an attorney can help you avoid those serious consequences.

There are no guarantees, even with a traffic attorney. That said, you will have access to their expertise and legal knowledge, which puts you in a better position. If you're facing a serious traffic ticket, consider talking to a local traffic attorney. Many lawyers offer free consultations so you can get an idea of how the attorney can help you.

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