Monday, June 25, 2012
Minnesota Traffic Tickets (Explained)
As a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I get a lot of calls related to a traffic violation of one type of another. Some of those calls are regarding more serious charges like Drunk Drivings and Careless or Reckless driving, but the vast majority reference smaller infractions, such as Speeding tickets and Stop Sign violations. One of the questions people ask first is whether or not they really need a lawyer to help them deal with a traffic violation. I'll try to give some straight forward and honest answers to this question and hopefully help people better understand what a Minnesota traffic attorney can do for them when faced with this type of issue.
Can a Lawyer Really Help
If you have been charged with a traffic violation that doubles as a misdemeanor charge (such as DWI, careless/reckless driving, hit-and-run, etc...), you definitely should look to hire a Minnesota Traffic Attorney. Misdemeanor charges can carry with them a penalty of up to $1000 and 90 days in jail. These types of offenses can also result in license suspensions or revocations, as well. When you're dealing with penalties this severe, there is no "savings" to be realized by avoiding hiring an attorney. Call a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney and get some answers before you move forward in your case. It'll be well worth your investment.
As for more minor "petty misdemeanor" tickets, whether or not you really need an attorney depends greatly on your circumstances. There are only a couple of situations that I encounter where I recommend people hire an attorney to handle their petty misdemeanor traffic cases. One situation is when the accused has multiple traffic violations on their record, and adding another would hinder their ability to hold car insurance. The other is when someone uses their license to earn a living. Let's look at both of those situations separately.
If you've been saddled with a bunch of tickets in the past 5 years, chances are you've seen an increase in your insurance premiums. If you continue to pile up tickets, it's possible for your insurance company to deny you further coverage, meaning that you could be out in the cold and be unable to operate your vehicle. If you are at the breaking point with your insurance (or simply can't afford any more premium increases), having a Minnesota traffic attorney work with you on your case could help you get the ticket lowered to a reduced charge, at the very least. If you have reason to believe that you were wrongly issued a citation, an attorney can help you fight said ticket in the courts and get you the best deal possible. By reducing your ticket (or getting it dismissed altogether), a Minnesota Traffic Attorney can help you keep your insurance premiums consistent, saving you thousands of dollars in the process.
What Can Be Gained?
If you are someone who uses their license to earn a living, having a Minnesota traffic attorney could help your cause quite a bit, as well. Truck drivers, taxi drivers, mail carriers, delivery drivers, and heavy equipment operators all have a vested stake in keeping their license clean. Tickets can cost you your job, safety bonuses, or the opportunity to find a higher paying position in the future. A Minnesota traffic attorney can analyze your case to determine whether there are any aspects of your situation that can be challenged. If no such elements exist, a dedicated attorney can still help you negotiate a deal with prosecution that can lessen the charge you are convicted of and help keep your license pristine. If you're family depends on you keeping a clean license to survive financially, take the time to speak with an attorney to see what options you have.
If you find yourself the recipient of a basic speeding ticket/stop sign ticket/red light ticket, you've got a couple different options.
First, you can choose to pay the ticket online/over the phone/in the mail. You'll be pleading guilty to the charge on the ticket, but you'll eliminate the chances of having to pay any late fees or penalties for neglecting to pay the ticket. For all intents and purposes, that ticket will be on your record for five years. If you receive no further tickets during that period, it's unlikely that your insurance will be effected (assuming you weren't going 40 over the limit). For most people, this option is easiest, as it doesn't require you to take a morning off work and go down to the courthouse.
Your second option is to appear for your court date and attempt to challenge the ticket. Often, the citation you receive will have a court date printed on the ticket. If it doesn't, there will be a phone number for you to call to get one. The benefit to taking this path to dealing with your ticket is that prosecutors tend to be willing to negotiate with people who show up.
If you choose option #2 --- a lawyer can help. Often, he/she knows what to say and how to say it --- this could save you a trip to court and earn you the outcome you're seeking. If you need to know more about how to fight you Minnesota Traffic Ticket - call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165. (Honestly, the money you spend on an attorney could actually save moeny on costly insurance premiums in the future.)