Traffic offenses are by far the most frequent reason that people find themselves embroiled in the criminal justice system. According to insurer Esurance.com, Virginia ranks 7th in the number of traffic citations issued each year. Even a simple traffic offense such as speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign can lead to an increase in your car insurance rates, hefty court fines and costs, and employment consequences.
Many people think defending a traffic offense only involves offering a good "excuse" and hoping for leniency from the judge. While this can be true in some cases, traffic law is actually quite technical and complex. The importance of an intricate knowledge of traffic law is heightened even more when a traffic stop leads to a more serious criminal charge (such as possession of a controlled substance or driving under the influence). Having a detailed knowledge of the statutory and case law relevant to your case can mean the difference between an acquittal and a guilty finding, with all of the consequences that can ensue.
There are a number of myths about hiring an attorney for a traffic offense that we at Goff Voltin, PLLC would like to dispel:
1. The attorney can't say anything that I couldn't say for myself.
-In reality, a good traffic attorney is well-versed in the relevant statute and the case law that has been decided under that statute. Even in a "run-of-the-mill" speeding case, a good traffic attorney has spent hours learning the science behind how law enforcement officers gauge speed and knows the elements that must be fulfilled before a judge can find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At Goff Voltin, we pride ourselves on never walking into court unprepared. You can rest assured that we will have thoroughly discussed the facts of your case with you and will have done the relevant research prior to court.
2. I just want to plead guilty and give the judge my excuse-I don't need an attorney for that, right?
-Even in cases where the case cannot be won using a legal argument, it is often worthwhile to hire a traffic attorney to more effectively present all of your mitigating evidence. A good traffic attorney will be familiar with the court in which you appear and often has deep background knowledge of the presentation style that is most effective with the judge assigned to your case. At Goff Voltin, we appear in nearly every court on the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, and Southside and have a good grasp of the cultures of each jurisdiction.
3. A traffic attorney is too expensive.
-In fact, the cost of an attorney is often dwarfed by the money saved in higher insurance rates, court costs and fines, and possible employment consequences. This is especially true for people who work in fields that require them to drive during work. Many employers check traffic records and refuse to hire people with a poor driving history. For holders of commercial driver's licenses (CDL's), just a few demerit points can cost someone their CDL license. For those with previous convictions, just three aggravated speeding convictions (20 miles per hour over the speed limit or greater) can lead to the suspension of your license.
The attorneys at Goff Voltin, PLLC offer each client an aggressive, personalized defense. We offer free consultations to further discuss how we can be of assistance in your case.