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Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Traffic Court

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A Day in Traffic Court

Traffic court, scheduled in Bakersfield Metropolitan Court at 3131 Arrow St, starts at 8 am, as do all Kern County courts. It is a far cry from any courtroom scene filmed in Hollywood. The first variance you will notice is the rapid pace of proceedings in traffic court when compared to other real-life courtrooms, in the movies, or on TV. 

Although somewhere around 93 percent of Californians routinely pay their ticket rather than plead not guilty and get their case heard by a judge, the sheer number of disputed tickets requires a hasty hearing. 

Dress as if you are going to a job interview and be on time. You should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to be safe, so you do not incur a failure to appear or further penalties. You could also be found guilty in absentia if you or your attorney are not present when called. Plus, you will need to find parking, and there could be a queue at the security counter where they check for weapons. 

Night Court in Bakersfield, CA

Traffic court for day workers and students is held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, begins promptly at 5:30 pm sharp, and is usually completed by 7:30 pm. 

The requirements for attendance are as follows:

  • You must register with the court clerk before noon of the day you plan to attend
  • You must be in the courtroom before 5:30 pm 
  • You must provide proof of the necessity to attend night court
  • You must bring a copy of the citation or court reminder
  • You can only resolve one ticket

You can call to schedule an appearance, 661-335-7100, or email. Although you are not required to be represented by an attorney, it is highly recommended. When an attorney recommends not fighting your ticket and paying your fine anywhere in Kern County, you can do that here.

Traffic Court Attorneys

When you receive a traffic ticket, regardless of what your friends and family tell you, you should consult with a traffic ticket attorney. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Take advantage of that opportunity to figure out your odds of winning. 

The perception that hiring an attorney is too expensive for a traffic ticket is off-base. Considering the amount of the fine and the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points, it is much cheaper than a DMV conviction which   will raise your auto insurance, on average, $500 per year. 

When assessed points against your motor vehicle driving record (MVR), in many cases, you will lose your 20 percent “good drivers’ discount,” and then, your insurance company will put you in a higher risk category. This is especially true if you are ineligible for traffic school because you have a mandatory court appearance due to a major infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, or you have already used traffic school once within the previous 18-month period to mask a traffic ticket from your insurance company. 

The assessed point or points will stay on your MVR for a minimum of 36 months, which coupled with a $250 fine, will cost an average $1750 for those three years. And, a red-light ticket is nearly $500, so then it would be almost $2000. Certainly, you can hire a lawyer for less than that, and there is always the possibility of an attorney getting the charge reduced to a no-point infraction or dismissed entirely. A no-point infraction means that you won’t have points assessed by the DMV and you will keep a clean record. Although you may still have to pay a fine, you will keep your good drivers’ discount; thus, no increased insurance premium, saving you about $1500 over three years.

Likewise, an attorney may tell you to go ahead and pay the fine and accept traffic school; not all cases can be won in traffic court. But, you won’t know until you ask a traffic ticket attorney.

Speak with a Traffic Court Attorney in Kern County   

Bigger & Harman, APC located at Suite 203, 1701 Westwind Drive in Bakersfield, represent clients accused of traffic violations in Kern County Traffic Court in Bakersfield, Lamont, Shafter, Ridgecrest, Delano, or Mojave, CA, and other Central Valley counties. 

Bigger & Harman practice traffic law exclusively; this singularity of purpose means they hear other judgments made in traffic court cases like yours. Whether they are assisting with your  case or another’s, the ruling in a similar case could apply to yours. 

Speak with Bigger & Harman by phone, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755. Or, by email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com. Include a scanned copy of your ticket and a summary of the event. They will reply promptly as soon as the office opens.

Visit their Facebook page to read about similar cases, traffic law updates, highway lane closures, and legal information. Read endorsements from other attorneys and clients, as well as reviews and feedback on Avvo and Nolo, two premier attorney referral websites, or read some of the 95 mostly positive reviews on Yelp, such as this one from Jay Z. in Oakland,“Had an old ticket that I failed to follow up on and faced a bunch of fines. Bigger and Harmon took my case and had the ticket dismissed. It was very fast and painless from my end. Thanks guys!” 

Remember, you can now apply for a Real ID driver’s license at the DMV, start here.

References:

Kern County Superior Court of California website

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

The 2018 Judicial Council of California UniformBail and Penalty Schedule .pdf