Almost every driver has seen the flashing lights in their rear-view mirror and a sinking feeling sets in – you are likely receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.1 While traffic tickets, as well as any type of encounter with law enforcement officers, may be stressful, they often do not seem very serious to recipients and may seem like an inevitable part of driving. For this reason, many drivers choose not to contact an attorney and opt to try to handle their traffic case on their own. Unfortunately, there can be many unexpected and costly consequences of doing so, many of which a skilled traffic defense lawyer could have avoided for you.
Your Options for Handling a Ticket
If you receive a ticket, you have several different options:
- Ignore the matter – This is never wise, as missing payment and failing to appear in court can result in an arrest warrant and additional charges against you;
- Try to fight the ticket on your own – This can be challenging if you do not have a thorough knowledge of the traffic court system and how to gather and present evidence in your defense, as simply claiming you did not commit the violation will generally not be sufficient.
- Pay the ticket – Many people who simply send payment for a ticket do not realize that this is the equivalent of a guilty plea and that they will have a conviction on their driving record. Convictions can result in points on your license,2 which can cause increased insurance costs as well as possible license suspension if you accumulate too many points.
- Call an attorney – An experienced lawyer can help you weigh your options, can help you challenge a wrongful ticket, or can reach a plea bargain with the prosecutor that helps you avoid points on your license and the added penalties of a traffic conviction. This option almost always results in the best outcome in your traffic case.
Traffic tickets are often viewed as an almost unavoidable cost of driving in the United States. It is virtually impossible to follow all of the traffic regulations all of the time, and we have all experienced situations in which nearly everyone on the road is driving 5 or 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. As a result, a significant number of generally good, law-abiding drivers are issued expensive traffic citations each day in and around Baltimore. For most traffic violations, you have the option of simply paying the fine associated with the ticket and moving on with your life. While this may seem like the easiest course of action, in reality, it could result in several unforeseen consequences that could have a significant impact on your life. Some of these are discussed below.
Paying the Fine May Result in Points Being Added to Your License
When you pay a traffic ticket, you are admitting that you are guilty of the offense of which you were accused. Many traffic offenses result in points being added to your license, and if you accumulate too many within two years, you can face penalties like mandatory participation in a Driver Improvement Program or the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. In addition, if you accumulate points, your insurer may raise your rates.
Missing Your Court Date Could Result in Serious Legal Trouble
If you choose to fight your ticket of if the offense of which you are accused requires you to appear in court and you miss your court date, a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driver’s license may be suspended. If you get caught driving on a suspended license, you could be facing serious criminal penalties such as fines and even jail time.
Contact a Baltimore Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer for Help Today
After receiving a traffic ticket, you may be tempted to handle the ticket on your own in an attempt to save money. However, most people end up paying more in the long run once they have traffic convictions on their driving records. At the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, JR, LLC, we fully understand how the Maryland traffic court system works and we will strive for the best results in every case. Please call a traffic ticket defense attorney for assistance at (410) 694-7291 today.