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When Is it Too Late to Get a Lawyer for a Traffic Ticket?


Although it’s reasonable to say you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after you get a traffic ticket, until you hear the judge say, “Guilty, pay the court clerk the amount of the fine,” it is not too late.

A knowledgeable traffic lawyer needs minimal time to look over the situation and determine if you have a winnable case. Even when you plead not guilty at the arraignment and request a trial date, you could change your mind after consulting an attorney.

In some cases, a lawyer might not even be necessary, and in these cases, a knowledgeable lawyer will advise you to pay the fine and accept traffic school. The only way to know for sure is to ask a lawyer who offers a free initial consultation.  

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Traffic Ticket?

If you poll the public with the question whether you need a lawyer to resolve a traffic ticket, the majority will say that you do not. Only about seven or eight percent of traffic ticket recipients hire a lawyer. Does that mean it is the right choice?

Many have never seen the inside of a courtroom. They just pay their fine and go on their way, never considering they may have thrown money away. You can save anywhere from $1,000 or more by hiring a lawyer to resolve your traffic ticket.

You see, the fine is a one-time consequence of speeding or running a stop sign, but the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points could cost much more than the fine. 

When your auto insurance provider learns of the conviction for a moving violation at renewal, they will take away your “good driver’s discount,” which will raise your premium by 20% immediately. Then, your provider will assume since you were guilty of violating traffic law, you are a higher risk of accident, and raise your premium according to the risk.

For the average California driver, the 20 percent discount is $392 annually. The increased risk could be much more depending on the reason for the traffic ticket. Normally, the average driver will pay $500 per year more in insurance premiums because of a minor infraction they could not take traffic school to mask from the insurance company. 

A minor infraction will stay on your motor vehicle driving record for 36 to 39 months. Your fine for running a red light will typically be $490, plus the average $1,500 over three years of increased insurance will cost nearly $2,000. 

When you hire a lawyer to resolve your ticket, they could get a reduced non-point conviction, thus no increased premium or a dismissal. If you pay the fine, the only outcome is guilty, and you must pay the fine, and the increased insurance premium.

Always consult a traffic lawyer before you decide to plead guilty and pay the fine. Even when traffic school is an option, you will still pay more to attend, and a second ticket within 18 months will negate that advantage. 

Got a Traffic Ticket? Get a Traffic Lawyer! 

Call Bigger & Harman to discuss your situation at (661) 349-9300. 

We can handle a Fresno County traffic ticket. We are Central Valley traffic lawyers who practice just traffic law. Why is that important? We specialize in traffic law because we want to give our clients the best possible outcome. 

We can also help clients at DMV Hearings when they have reached their NOTS point limit and face suspension. We know what tickets can get removed, and we can conduct an independent investigation when there is a question about who was at-fault in the accident. Some investigators will split the responsibility for an accident. Regardless of the degree of responsibility, over zero percent, you will get one NOTS point.

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