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7 Questions & Answers about Your Traffic Ticket

undefinedTypically, when a driver gets a traffic ticket, they have questions that need answering. The best piece of advice for any question you have about a traffic ticket is to ask a traffic attorney. In this case, we will provide seven questions and the generic answers to those questions. 

Question #1 — Will My Traffic Ticket Get Dismissed?

Whether or not your traffic ticket will get dismissed usually depends on the nature of the ticket, whether the law enforcement officer shows up for court, and if you hire an experienced and knowledgeable traffic attorney. 

Question #2 — Is It Worth It to Hire a Traffic Attorney?

Once again, it will depend on the traffic ticket on whether there is a good chance to win. Not all traffic tickets are the same. The only way to find out is to ask a good traffic attorney. One method is to check Yelp. If the traffic attorney has more than 140 reviews and the majority of those are four or five stars, that’s an incredibly good indicator that they are good at what they do. 

What’s more, look for an attorney that charges a flat fee. It is usually not advisable to hire a traffic attorney who charges by the hour even when their hourly rate is low. You leave yourself open to a substantial fee if your traffic ticket's resolution takes two or three trips to traffic court or an appeal. 

Question #3 — What If the LEO Who Ticketed Me Does Not Show up for Court?    

If the LEO does not show up for trial, the traffic ticket is almost always dismissed if the judge is asked to dismiss it. You have a Constitutional right to face your accuser. Likewise, it is the state’s responsibility to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” you are guilty, even in traffic court, in CA. Not all states use these standards for traffic court.

Question #4 — What Happens If I Forget to Pay the Traffic Ticket or Go to Court?

You have just compounded your troubles. CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 40508 (a), Release Upon Promise to Appear, states explicitly, “A person willfully violating his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor…”

That means that if you willfully fail to appear (FTA), the judge could find you guilty in absentia, levy a fine, if that fine is not paid within a specific period, add up to $300 in civil penalties, notify a collection agency, and issue a bench warrant for your arrest. You will most likely not be able to register your vehicle or renew your license, even in another state. Do not ignore a traffic ticket.

Question #5 — Do I Have to Go to Court?

To plead not guilty, you or a traffic attorney will need to appear in court to dispute your ticket. You should always consult a traffic attorney. Even lawyers in other disciplines hire a traffic attorney to challenge a traffic ticket. 

Question #6 — Will My Traffic Ticket Go on My Record?

When you hire a traffic attorney, it is their goal to get a dismissal or reduced no-point conviction to keep your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) clean. That’s why in the case of some first-time minor infractions, an attorney will recommend you take traffic violators school (TVS). Although TVS is not always the answer, it might keep your minor infraction out of the public eye. However, you should always ask a traffic attorney before you accept or decline TVS.

Question #7 — Can I Represent Myself? 

As stated above, “You should always consult a traffic attorney. Even lawyers in other disciplines hire a traffic attorney to challenge a traffic ticket.” What’s more, if you go to court with the intent of representing yourself, even for a minor infraction, the judge will quite likely advise you strongly to consider hiring a traffic attorney to represent you. 

What many ask themselves is, “Do I really need a lawyer? What’s the worst that can happen? I have to pay a fine?” No, actually, there are far worse things that could happen. For one, the fine is usually only one-fourth of your total penalty. When the DMV receives your notice of conviction, they will add it to your record along with the required negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points, which could lead to an Order of Suspension/Probation. Usually, a suspension of driving privileges is only the beginning of the downward spiral. 

 It will lead to your insurance company taking your “good driver’s discount” and raising your premium. The average rise is 34% across CA, usually $392 per year or $1,176 for the three years it will remain on your MVR. But we hear larger numbers all the time and much of it depends on what type of car you have and other factors. 

Which do you think is more expensive? A traffic attorney or the fine plus $1,176? 

Who Can Handle My Traffic Ticket in Hanford Traffic Court in Kings County, CA?

When you have a traffic ticket pending for Hanford Traffic Court, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 40508 (a), Release Upon Promise to Appear