It's easy assume when you get a ticket for speeding or some other traffic violation that dealing with it is a simple matter. In many jurisdictions, being tagged for a traffic offense is accompanied by some level of information about how you can respond. What more do you need, right?
Keep in mind that the information on the citation provides only what state law might require. It doesn't give you advice on how to mount a defense if you are innocent. The ticket itself is nothing more than an allegation made by an officer who might be only slightly more informed about the law than you are. That said, doesn't exploring your options with an attorney before you respond make sense, especially if initial consultation is free?
There are also some other aspects worth considering. The laws in place when you passed your driver's license test might be different today than they were then. For example, here in Virginia, earning a citation for driving within the speed limit on the freeway is becoming more likely than it used to be. That's because the General Assembly passed a measure this past session aimed at curbing what some call left-lane dawdling. The only issue still undecided is how much the fine will be.
Under the measure, a driver in the passing lane of a freeway could be cited for going slower than the prevailing flow of traffic. There are exceptions if the driver is passing a vehicle on the right or planning to make a left turn.
Now, it's long been against state law to linger in the left lane. Officers haven't enforced it much, though, because there has never been a specific penalty identified. The new law changes that and observers suggest that will inspire more assertive police enforcement.
So, what can an attorney bring to the table in any traffic case?
- Depth of knowledge about the law and how police enforce the law
- Familiarity with the court and its personalities
Also, if you drive professionally and a record might threaten your license, you want to put up the most robust defense possible. It not only could save your license but also cost less in the long haul.