Quick, what's the only time you've ever confronted a legal problem? If you answered when you got a traffic ticket, you would not be alone. The truth is that traffic citations are the most common reason individuals in Virginia find themselves in front of the bench.
Does that mean that such issues are so commonplace that you can handle them without an attorney? Maybe, but it isn't recommended. The reason is that when it comes to the law – even traffic law – you likely don't know what you don't know. That's a knowledge gap experienced attorneys fill and the benefit to you is worth examining.
First, you don't know what you don't know about how authorities gather their evidence. They have certain tools and are required to follow certain practices designed to ensure your due process rights. If the tools are improperly used or calibrated, or they break procedure, the evidence is subject to question. The information can (and many would argue should) be challenged as a step toward possible dismissal of the case.
Second, you don't know what you don't know about the court. Just as police must follow certain procedures, courts have rules of process, too. But the judge in a courtroom is an individual. Many have personal preferences about how information is presented. Attorneys who regularly practice in those courts know those nuances and can prepare your case to best suit the situation.
Third, you don't know what you don't know about cost. A fine for a traffic violation is a one-and-done thing. However, there can be cost factors you don't expect or appreciate. For example, you might be required to pay court fees. Your car insurance premiums also could increase and become prohibitively expensive. If you drive commercially, having a record could crimp your ability to earn a living.
Considering the possible gouge to your wallet, working with an attorney may prove most cost effective.