Receiving a traffic ticket is an expensive and annoying ordeal. That's why most people (approximately 9 out of 10) choose to simply pay ticket fines and get them over with rather than contest them. However, what you may not know is that paying a traffic ticket can be more costly than fighting it. Due to an increase in auto insurance premiums of up to 22%, as well as points on your driving record that come with getting a traffic ticket, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to fight for you in court. So, why hire an attorney?

1. An Attorney Knows the Technicalities of the Law

There are a number of legal technicalities that an experienced attorney can use that may result in your citation being dismissed. Hiring an experienced attorney with expertise in handling traffic tickets and with a greater knowledge of the law will greatly increase your chances that your ticket will be dismissed. For example, an attorney can request a trial by declaration to the officer who issued your ticket. If the officer does not respond by the deadline, your case could be dropped.

2. An Attorney Can Represent You in Court

Appearing in court can be inconvenient and disruptive to your schedule. However, your traffic ticket attorney is able to go to your hearing without you having to attend it. This can save you the trouble of missing work and spending a day in court.

3. An Attorney Can Reduce Your Charges

If you pay a traffic ticket fine without disputing the charges, you immediately accept a guilty plea and will receive a recorded conviction. However, many people do not know that you may be able to keep the conviction off your record even if you admit guilt, depending on your driving record. If you have a relatively clean driving record, your attorney can argue for traffic school instead of a conviction.

4. An Attorney May Be Able to Dismiss Points or Convictions on Your Record

Don’t handle your traffic violation alone.

A conviction for a traffic violation will appear on your driving record. Depending on the severity of the infraction, you may have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. In California, 0 to 3 points are assessed on your driving record for each violation. You will receive a license suspension of six months and probation of one year if you collect 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months.

Points for traffic violations remain on your driving record for three years, while points for more severe violations such as a hit and run and DUI stay on your record for 10 years. An experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid amassing points on your record and losing your driving privilege.

5. An Attorney May Actually Be Your Cheaper Option

The costs of a traffic ticket do not stop at the fine. In addition to a base fine, California charges penalty assessment fees, including a 20% state surcharge, a state penalty assessment, a county penalty assessment, a court facility construction penalty assessment, a DNA identification fund penalty assessment, and an emergency medical services penalty assessment. In most cases, a traffic violation conviction will also increase your car insurance rates.

6. An Attorney Can Reduce Your Fines

An attorney who has experience in the court where your case is pending can work to successfully negotiate with the judge and prosecutor in order to reduce your traffic violation fine. With crowded courts, most jurisdictions prefer settlement to a time-consuming trial.

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