1. The finding of “committed” for a moving violation can have long-term consequences. Moving violations generally count against a person’s driving record for three years. Once a driver’s insurance company catches wind of the violation, rates raise significantly! Additionally, they stay at an elevated level for the three year period, if not more.
2. Your time is valuable. Traffic ticket hearings are essentially civil trials, where your appearance is necessary. If you hire private counsel, an attorney can appear on your behalf. By hiring an attorney, you don’t have to take the day off of work to travel to the County Courthouse. No one wants to burn a vacation day to go fight a ticket. Usually, when people do the math, it costs less to hire an attorney to go to Court for you, in comparison to taking the time off of work.
3. Only a trial attorney has the skill to do infraction defense. This may seem shocking, but the same evidence rules for a murder trial apply in these small scale infraction hearings. Trial attorneys deal day in and day out with the Rules of Evidence. A skilled trial attorney can typically eviscerate a Trooper or Deputy’s notice of infraction with the Rules of Evidence, leaving very little evidence for the Court to consider. A lay person would have no idea how to suppress evidence (statements, radar / laser results), and challenge the State’s case. Judges don’t take it easy on people who don’t know the rules. If a non-attorney is arguing a ticket, the Court holds that person to the same standard of knowledge and skill as they hold the attorney.
4. An attorney can seek the best result for you. If the attorney can’t “beat” the traffic infraction (see 3, above), they can often get it reduced to something that won’t affect your insurance rates – which is a long term savings.
Hopefully this post helps you make an informed decision. From our “boots on the ground” perspective is that, people represented by a skilled attorney typically beat the ticket, while people handling the tickets themselves typically lose. The difference in “winning” will vary greatly depending on the city or county where you were cited. Not all courts staff a prosecutor for the infraction calendar. Kitsap is a tougher county to beat a ticket because there is a prosecutor dedicated to arguing all of the tickets. Tickets generate tremendous revenue for the cities and counties so don’t count on an easy dismissal.
We only take Kitsap County infractions but, if you have a ticket in Pierce or King County, we can recommend attorneys who do a good job.