Many drivers try to save money by fighting traffic tickets in traffic court with self-representation. Although that’s better than just paying the fine, it’s not the ultimate resolution.
Convictions and paid fines for traffic violations can add points to your driving record, resulting in higher insurance rates and even the potential loss of driving privileges. We know the importance of keeping a clean driving record and the advantages of fighting traffic tickets.
Here’s a closer look at why self-representation might not be your best move and how a seasoned traffic attorney can make a big difference financially.
Considering that a second minor infraction that is not eligible for traffic violator’s school (TVS) can raise your auto insurance premium an average of $732.80 annually for three years, it is wise to consult a traffic attorney about all traffic citations before you decide.
According to Bankrate.com, the average California driver will pay $2,290 for auto insurance in 2023 and likely more in 2024. A paid ticket can raise your premiums by an average of 32%. Whereas some drivers will pay less for car insurance, many with teens on their policy will pay much more. That 32% increase could total $2,198.40 over three years.
According to that same survey, after only one violation, not eligible for TVS, a family with a teen on their policy will pay $6,500 to $7,000 per year for insurance. Yes, factors like age, marital status, how far you drive to work or school, what zip code you live in, a many other factors determine how much you will pay. Your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) is the most crucial factor.
Those with a clean driving record pay the least, primarily due to the 20% “good driver’s discount” authorized by Proposition 103. When you lose that discount, you will automatically pay 20% more, and the risk associated with your minor traffic violation typically adds another 10 to 12%.
Why Self-Representation Is Not a Good Idea
The idea of fighting traffic tickets in the Shafter Courthouse on your own might sound like a cost-effective approach, but it can have unintended consequences.
We've seen numerous drivers get overwhelmed with stage fright once inside the courtroom. Due to the large volume of cases the judge needs to hear, they might rush proceedings, making it challenging for unrepresented drivers to present their case effectively.
Moreover, many well-meaning drivers, in an attempt to explain their side of the story, end up unintentionally incriminating themselves. Admitting even minor aspects of the traffic violation could harm your case.
For example, you receive a speeding ticket. You complain to the judge that you were just keeping up with traffic. Everyone else was going 80 mph or more, so you had to speed up to keep up. You believe you were being singled out for going 82 mph where the speed limit was 65.
Instead of achieving leniency, they might hear the judge proclaim, “Guilty, pay the court clerk $237 on your way out.” You’re relieved the fine wasn’t more, but the increased auto insurance premium can be a financial nightmare.
Knowledge and experience are power in traffic court, and understanding legal technicalities and court procedures is crucial to an adequate defense.
How an Experienced Traffic Attorney Could Save You Up to 32% on Your Auto Insurance by Fighting Traffic Tickets
An experienced traffic attorney does more than just argue on your behalf. They might negotiate with the judge for a reduced no-point conviction when your case is not winnable due to the state’s evidence. This negotiation could stabilize your insurance rates because a no-point conviction is like a parking ticket. They are well-versed in understanding the intricacies of traffic violations and can craft compelling arguments for leniency or outright dismissal.
When drivers face charges that prohibit TVS attendance, we often intervene to get the judge's authorization. This move ensures the ticket remains confidential, shielding you from potential insurance hikes.
The most critical benefit, however, lies in the daily experience of these attorneys. They are present in courtrooms day in and day out, representing their clients and observing dozens of other cases. This daily exposure provides them with an understanding of the judge’s preferences, typical rulings, and specific details about the court, all of which can be used for your benefit.
Moreover, achieving an outright dismissal or reducing charges can save drivers from large fines and insurance rate increases. Considering the potential savings on insurance, especially over the 36 to 39 months a paid fine will remain on your MVR, the attorney's fee becomes a worthwhile investment. Think of it this way: while you might have one traffic ticket to deal with, an experienced attorney has dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, and that expertise can be invaluable in fighting traffic tickets.
In conclusion, while the temptation to represent yourself in traffic court might seem like a cost-saving measure, it’s often a gamble. Consult a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney before you decide.
Before You Consider Fighting Traffic Tickets on Your Own, Consult Bigger & Harman
Remember, keeping a clean driving record isn’t just about dodging fines; it’s about safeguarding your driving privileges and financial well-being. We're here to help, leveraging our experience for the best possible resolutions for our clients.
Instead of considering self-representation, consult an experienced traffic attorney. Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300 when you’re thinking about fighting traffic tickets in Shafter Courthouse in Kern County, CA. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2023.