08 Jul, 2015 FEES & EXPECTATIONS: HIRING A TRAFFIC LAWYER IN NY
I am often asked: “Why hire an attorney if I can go to court and plea bargain with the prosecutor myself?” It is really simple. Experienced traffic ticket attorneys can maximize your opportunity while you stay at home, at your job, or in school Below are the three main factors to consider before trying this on your own: 1. Vehicle & Traffic Law is complex. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles uses an intricate and complex system to assess points and fines. Your points determine whether you will be suspended or charged a $300.00 Driver Assessment Fee. In addition to the hefty fine and fees, even one ticket can vastly raise your auto insurance rate for years! Your insurance company does not necessary rely on the same Department of Motor Vehicles point system when determining your rate. There are many variables to consider when points are added or removed from your driving record. A good traffic ticket attorney will review your individual driving record and determine the best strategy for your personal situation. If you are licensed out of New York State and receive a traffic ticket, your situation becomes more complex. A New York traffic ticket will likely negatively impact your driving record in your home state. The vast majority of states, including New York, subscribe to the Driver License Compact (DLC), an interstate agreement used to exchange information on traffic violations and license suspensions by out-of-state drivers. Even non-participating states conform to the rules of the DLC, and there are similar compacts and agreements binding those states. Experienced traffic attorneys know how to take advantage of certain loopholes in the reporting from New York to other states. The transfer of points/violations from New York to other states is complicated, because each state has their own language and categorization schemes for traffic offenses. For example, New Jersey will not consider certain traffic infractions a moving violation, while New York will. The Benjamin Goldman Law Offices uses its extensive experience with traffic ticket defense to find a solution that works for you! 2. Your time, safety, and comfort are too important. The entire ordeal, including the travel time to court and back, can take half a day or longer. Some of the town and village courts are difficult to find. They can be located at the end of very dangerous and twisty roads. Driving these unfamiliar roads in the dark icy winter or other adverse weather is treacherous and terrifying. Some courts, especially those near main highways with a lot of speeding tickets, can have calendars with a few hundred people scheduled for the same session. First you will have to wait (perhaps outside in the blazing sun, rain, or cold) for security. You will have to empty your pockets of everything and go through a metal detector. Sometimes, the officers make you turn around while scanning your body with their hand-held detectors. You then may have to wait on line to enter the court room, listen to a long set of instructions, then wait on a snaking line to talk to the prosecutor. You then may wait again until the prosecutor has finished with everyone else- all before starting the wait to be called up in front of the judge. Finally, depending on the disposition, you may have to wait on line to see the clerk. All this assumes you go to court only once. Not infrequently, court is cancelled because of the weather, because someone became ill, or because any other random reason for postponements that regularly arise. You get no benefit for all the effort you put into your trip to court. If court is postponed, you have to do it all over again. The prosecutor will rarely be friendly, and will likely not be interested in your story. This is not because prosecutors are bad people; they do not have time for courtesy while trying to process hundreds of cases. The prosecutor has heard your story hundreds of times: your story of going downhill and losing track of your speed, of how you were not going as fast as the officer says you were, that the officer couldn’t have seen you go that fast because [insert your excuse here], you were stressed because your relative was sick, you had to use the bathroom really badly, you have a great driving record otherwise, you are a member-union-church-going- volunteer-fire-fighting-family-man, how the officer told you that if you come to court it will be dismissed, and how the officer was unnecessarily nasty to you. The prosecutor will tell you the plea offer and you either accept it, or your case goes to trial. You will have very little time to consider the offer and understand the ramifications. If you choose to try your luck, the trial will probably be scheduled for another day. You will have to go through the whole ordeal all over again. The prosecutor may pressure you into accepting the plea by telling you how if you lose at trial, you are facing very expensive fines and possible suspension. You may accept the offer because you have no better option, and at that point, you just want to get out of the miserable courthouse and never return. But even if you reach a deal, it is not over yet. You now have to wait for the judge, who may or may not have arrived in the courthouse and taken the bench. This is not to say that every time you go to court all these will occur. This is the worst case scenario. Thetypical court appearance includes some or most of the problems I outlined. However, even in the best case scenario, the court appearance will take up a lot of your otherwise productive time. How much is your time worth to you? Chances are, your productivity is worth far more than the one-time flat fee charged by most traffic attorneys, including the Benjamin Goldman Law Office. 3. Attorneys have more leverage to get better plea bargain offers. The reason is not because we are colleagues or friends with the prosecutor. Experienced attorneys know how to get tickets dismissed. We know the legal arguments and defects that require dismissal. And, we know the logistics of how to draft, file, serve, and argue legal motions before a judge. Most police officers have little interest in being cross-examined by a seasoned attorney, because any slip-up, no matter how seemingly innocent, can result in a not-guilty verdict. Also, a prosecutor does not want a draining legal battle with a seasoned attorney. Obviously traffic ticket attorneys win cases at a much higher rate than non-attorneys. All this is considered when the prosecutor makes a “bottom last offer” to an experienced traffic ticket attorney. I hope this answers the question of why it is not smart or economical to fight your traffic ticket alone instead of hiring an experienced professional. Legal proceedings are not a game. You may face serious consequences that can cost you far more than the traffic ticket attorney’s typical legal fee. Retaining a traffic ticket lawyer to defend your traffic violation will almost always be a one-time flat fee of a few hundred dollars. Your legal fee should be quoted to you upfront and you should not pay any more than what was initially agreed upon. No surprises or extra charges. Retaining counsel usually means that you do not have to appear in court. Your attorney submits your not-guilty plea, files applicable motions, engages in plea-bargain negotiations with the prosecutor, and defends you at trial. All this happens while you are at your job, at home, or in school.
By: Benjamin Goldman Law Office 189 Southwoods Drive Monticello, NY 12701 (845) 391-3615 http://www.upstatenewyorktickets.com .