It might sound unnecessary to bring in a lawyer to contest a traffic ticket, but moving violations can seriously affect your life, and going to court can get very complicated. As the old English proverb puts it, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” You don’t want to be standing before a judge before you realize that you’re not able to properly defend yourself. In fact, at one point in history, some states’ Bar Associations forbade even lawyers from representing themselves in court. This was later ruled constitutional, but if it was considered a bad idea for lawyers to act as their own counsel, non-lawyers defending themselves is even worse.
Any sort of driving violation can bring plenty of trouble. In addition to the fines, the points on your driving record can raise your insurance rates and possibly even affect your career if your job requires you to drive. The loss of your driver’s license can seriously impair your ability to support yourself and your family at worst and is a major inconvenience at best. Once you’ve worn out family and friends for rides, you’re stuck with paying hefty Uber/cab fees or relying on public transportation.
Should you take your own case, here are just a few of the issues you’ll need to consider:
- Can I beat the charge?
- If convicted, how many points will I get on my record?
- Can I lose my license?
- Can I go to jail?
- How will this affect my insurance?
- Who do I have to notify about the charge? My employer? My school? Licensing boards or potential new employers?
Types of traffic offenses
Typically, minor offenses like speeding, running a stop sign or red light, or driving without having your license with you do not require you to personally appear in court. Your lawyer can handle them without you having to take off time from work. Maryland does require you to show up in court for more serious offenses like driving without a license or insurance, DUI/DWI or other alcohol- or drug-related driving offense, hit and run, or driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license.
Fighting a traffic citation in Maryland
So you’ve been treated unfairly and have decided to fight City Hall on your own. Here’s what will happen. For starters, you’ll have to request time off from work to go to court. Once you take your spot at the defense table you had better understand your legal rights and potential defense strategies under Maryland law. If not, you’re seriously jeopardizing your chances of avoiding substantial fines, points on your driving record, and maybe even jail time. In addition to being familiar with the judge and courtroom procedures, an experienced traffic ticket lawyer will have researched your case to make sure everything runs smoothly. Was the stop legal? Do the police have any evidence, and, if so, how reliable is it? Are there witnesses who might testify on your behalf? Is it a good idea to put the police officer who stopped you on the witness stand? Above all, judges have zero patience for people who waste their time. Stumbling around in court while you’re trying to figure out what to say or do is never a good look. Hiring an attorney shows the judge that you’re taking the situation seriously and are looking to resolve it most expeditiously. And in some minor cases, your lawyer can take care of everything for you without you having to take off work.
If you’re considering hiring a lawyer to fight a traffic violation, Attorney Nick Parr will evaluate your case and explain your options. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.