I get calls all of the time about traffic citations. Two questions usually pop up right at the beginning of the conversation. 1) Can I handle it on my own?
2) Can’t I just pay the fine on-line, like the officer told me?
No one is ever excited at the prospect of hiring an attorney. Especially if they have been told they can handle the issue themselves by a law enforcement officer. My response is, Be Careful!
The District Attorney’s office certainly will allow you to speak directly with one of their Assistant District Attorney’s. What most people don’t know is that by hiring an attorney, you can most likely get a better outcome. Certainly, there will be less personal time and little stress expended on the matter.
For example, with a basic speeding ticket, an attorney can negotiate it down on your behalf, run your driving record and potentially avoid you having to take a 4 hour defensive driving class. In addition, a skilled traffic attorney will be able to take action on your behalf to prevent additional points going on your license and insurance rates from going up. They will also know how to address the court when it is appropriate to ask for certain relief on your behalf in front of a Judge.
When a law enforcement officer tells my client they can just take care of the matter by paying the fines on-line, I cringe. When someone pays a fine for a traffic citation on-line, they have pled guilty to that citation. The consequences of that can often be very damaging. Your license may be revoked. Your insurance may go up thousands of dollars. You may spend a lot of extra money to hire an attorney to re-open your case to “fix” it.
I do not charge for consultations and if I can point a perspective client in the right direction, without the use of my legal services, I am glad to do so. In the long run, you will most likely save time and money by paying a small attorney’s fee in order to have your traffic matter handled by an attorney. The peace of mind is certainly worth it.
Information on North Carolina DMV points: www.dmv.org/nc-north-carolina/point-system.php