Sooner or later it’s bound to happen, even to New Jersey’s best drivers. Maybe you were running late and had a bit of a lead foot, or maybe you came to one of those “rolling stops” at the stop sign because you could tell nobody was coming. Perhaps you passed under the traffic light just as it turned red. If you spend any significant time on the road, the reality is that you could face one – or more – traffic tickets in your lifetime and may find yourself in need of a Lodi traffic lawyer.
Traffic tickets are no big deal, right? Wrong! In addition to fines, you could face hikes in insurance premiums, court costs, time in jail in certain cases, and even a loss of your driving privileges. That means that if you have a traffic ticket, or have acquired multiple tickets over time, the issue needs to be dealt with quickly and professionally, and a Lodi traffic lawyer can help you through every step of the process.
How much does a NJ traffic ticket cost?
Traffic violations in NJ can lead to fines that go into thousands of dollars. But when you are considering the cost of your ticket, you must add in more than just the fine itself. Some common NJ traffic violations and related fines include the following:
|DWI/DUI – 1st offense
||Up to $1,000
|Failure to observe a traffic signal
|Racing on highway
|Failure to observe a traffic signal
|Improper passing of a school bus
|Driving with a suspended license
|Leaving the scene of an accident
||Up to $15,000
Should you choose to fight your ticket, you face related court costs of $34 in the NJ traffic court. In addition to fines and court costs, you also have to factor in the impact a traffic violation can have on your auto insurance. New Jersey is different from the majority of states in that once you have a traffic offense on your record, that offense is there for life. It does not come off your record after so many years. That means that a single offense could potentially impact your auto insurance rate for life.
In addition to these expenses, traffic offenses can lead to points on your driver’s license. If you get six or more points within three years on your current driving record, you will be assessed a surcharge. Once you have accrued 12 or more points, your license may be suspended or even revoked. With so much at stake, you should allow your Lodi traffic lawyer to help you fight your ticket and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Can I get rid of points on my record?
As we have already discussed, traffic charges in NJ never disappear from your record. However, you can earn point deductions under certain conditions. Staying violation and suspension free for one year is one way to have points deducted, and another way is by taking a qualified driving course approved by the state. Additionally, there are remedial programs that will help reduce points, although you must be careful to adhere to the program deadlines to earn the point deductions. A Lodi traffic lawyer understands the different programs that are available and can help advise you on the best course of action to remove points from your record.
Should I hire a Lodi traffic lawyer to defend me?
There are a few options for handling a NJ traffic ticket. The most obvious one, of course, is to simply go ahead and pay the associated fine for the violation. This is not always in your best interest, however. Your Lodi traffic lawyer will evaluate your case while considering other factors, such as your prior driving history and extenuating circumstances at the time you were cited. Your Lodi traffic lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Why can’t I defend myself?
For some lesser traffic offenses, it may seem to be easier to just pay your fine and move on. But for several reasons, hiring a Lodi traffic lawyer to handle your traffic ticket can help you in the long run. Depending on the charge, you may have the option to go online and pay your fine without a court appearance or to appear in court to fight your ticket. However, certain charges — such as DWI or driving over 40 miles above the speed limit — cannot be resolved without a court appearance, even if you want to plead guilty. In these more serious cases, it would be better to hire a Lodi traffic lawyer “sooner” rather than “later.” That way your lawyer can walk you through the process and immediately begin efforts to reach a plea bargain or have your charges dropped.
When trying to decide whether you should defend your traffic ticket yourself or hire a Lodi traffic lawyer, one question that should be asked is, “Do I know how to present my case?” Traffic court is a busy place, with a full schedule. That means as a defendant you only have a brief window of time to present your case. Unless you are accustomed to the court system, this process can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time in traffic court. A Lodi traffic lawyer has the expertise to present your case concisely, addressing the pertinent facts that the prosecutor will need to make a decision.
Whether a court appearance is mandatory or not, your Lodi traffic lawyer can provide you a few other advantages:
- It can save you time. If your traffic violation has a mandatory court appearance or if you have chosen to fight your ticket, prepare to spend a lot of time in a NJ municipal court, possibly hours. However, by having a Lodi traffic lawyer, you stand a better chance of having your case heard more quickly. Most courts tend to move up cases in which a defendant has legal representation.
- You have someone who understands the system. Your Lodi traffic lawyer is familiar with NJ’s municipal courts — and the courts are familiar with your attorney. This understanding of the court processes and the penalties for various NJ traffic offenses gives your attorney an added advantage in fighting your offense.
- Your Lodi traffic lawyer will be with you throughout the process. Your lawyer will first try to get your charges dropped or reduced, but if the plea bargain is unsatisfactory to you, your Lodi traffic lawyer will also be able to represent you before a judge if your case goes to trial.
- Your Lodi traffic lawyer may be able to appear in court for you. Depending on the charges you are facing, if you wish to fight your ticket but do not have the time to take from your hectic schedule for a court appearance, your Lodi traffic lawyer may be able to appear on your behalf, effectively protecting your driving record while saving you from having to change your schedule. In these cases, a hardship affidavit could be filed on your behalf by your Lodi traffic lawyer, which will allow your attorney to enter the plea and argue the case without you being present.
What if I do not pay my traffic ticket and fail to show up for court?
If you do not pay your fine and do not show up for court, a judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Then, you could be held in jail until your court appearance, and you could be sentenced to jail time and more fines. Even if you avoid arrest or jail time, there are other consequences for failure to resolve your traffic tickets, including not being able to get your license renewed or having your license suspended.
Are Lodi traffic lawyers expensive?
There is no “cookie-cutter” answer for how much an attorney will cost. The price will vary based on several factors, such as how old the ticket is, what prior offenses you have, and what the circumstances are surrounding your traffic violations. After giving your Lodi traffic lawyer the details of your case, you will have a clearer picture of how much cost is involved.
An alternative question to how much a Lodi traffic lawyer charges could be, “Can I afford not
to have an attorney?” You are fighting to keep points off your driver’s license, to keep your auto insurance rates down, and to keep your driving record clean. In the long run, the fines and surcharges, as well as the time you spend out of work while fighting your ticket, could cost you more than you would have paid by hiring a Lodi traffic lawyer at the very beginning of your case.
How do I choose the best Lodi traffic lawyer?
Choosing the attorney to represent you is the most important decision you can make when it comes to protecting your driving record — and your wallet! So how do you know which Lodi traffic lawyer is the right one for you?
You’ve heard the saying that first impressions matter. This is especially true when you are looking for the right Lodi traffic lawyer to represent you. So how do you determine if the attorney you are talking with is the best one to handle your case? Go with that first impression! When you speak with a potential attorney, do you feel that they are truly listening to you? Or do they act as if you are wasting their time? Are they talking with you and asking you specifics about your situation? Or do they just seem to breeze past your explanations? Your first impression matters, because the Lodi traffic lawyer is there to represent you.
You should be comfortable with your decision regarding which attorney will handle your case, so here are a few questions to ask:
- How many traffic cases have you handled like mine?
- How often do you get charges dropped or reduced?
- How long have you worked with the court system in Lodi?
- What are your fees?
- What information do you need from me?
You don’t have to face this alone
Handling a traffic ticket can interfere with your work or family schedule. It can impact your driving record and increase your auto insurance rates. In some situations, it can lead to jail time and high fines, fees, and surcharges. Do not underestimate the impact an unresolved traffic ticket can have on your driving record or on your peace of mind. Let your Lodi traffic lawyer fight for you.