Should I hire a lawyer for a speeding ticket in New York?

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Answered by: Thomas Trbovich

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Many New York drivers pay their tickets without contesting them, or they represent themselves in court to contest the ticket. While you can represent yourself, the question really is should you represent yourself in these cases? Hiring a lawyer for representation could benefit you in several important ways. 

Reasons To Hire A Lawyer To Fight Your Ticket

As with any area of law, a lawyer can provide expert guidance and advice, as well as advocating on your behalf in court. When it comes to traffic violations, a lawyer can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Time — A good attorney will save you time in multiple ways. First, your attorney will go over all your options with you and use his or her experience to prepare your case in an efficient manner. Doing this on your own would take you much longer. In addition, your attorney may help you avoid taking traffic courses as part of your penalty.
  • Expense — Yes, you will pay your attorney in the short term, but in the long term, you will save money fighting your ticket. The court may reduce your fine and keep your insurance rates low by avoiding points on your license. Don’t forget how much losing your license may cost you.
  • Better deal — Lawyers negotiate for a living, and they will help you get the best deal possible for your situation.
  • Relationships — An experienced traffic attorney knows the judges. These attorneys have appeared before traffic court judges numerous times, giving them instant rapport, which translates to negotiating power. That means a better deal for you.

How A Ticket Affects Your License

You may think, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a ticket.” You need to understand how that ticket affects your license in New York. New York has a points system. That means every time you get a ticket, you earn points. When you receive 11 points within an 18-month period, your license may be suspended. A suspended license can greatly affect your life, including your ability to get to work. For example, if you receive a ticket for speeding 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, you will receive six points. That is halfway to a suspension in one ticket. If the police stop you for going 41 or more miles per hour over, you will get your 11 points in that single ticket.

Note that speeding is not the only violation that will earn you points. Many others will, too, such as failure to yield, tailgating and reckless driving. Although rare, you could face jail time for very high speeds or repeat offenses. In such a case, you absolutely want an attorney by your side.

New York Has A Lifetime Look-Back Period For Driving Records

In some cases, violations clear from your record after a certain number of years, but some can stay for many years. Although the judge generally looks at how many points you accumulated in an 18-month period, your driving record will follow you for years to come. Judges and courts can take these convictions into account long afterward. Therefore, keeping every conviction off your record is important. Your attorney will help you do this by finding every pathway possible to contest your ticket. Insurance companies have their own system for determining whether to raise your rates, so you need to be aware of that, as well.

Whether to hire an attorney to help you fight your traffic ticket is up to you, but the stakes may be higher than you originally thought. Hiring a good traffic lawyer can help you save time, money and your license.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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