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7 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer to Fight Your New Jersey Traffic Ticket

July 3, 2023 | Posted In Municipal Court

Getting a traffic ticket might not seem like a big deal. People get tickets all the time, and most people simply pay the fine and move on with their lives.

But the reality is that paying a fine is just one of many potential consequences of getting a traffic ticket in New Jersey. In New Jersey, getting a traffic ticket can be far more serious than most people realize. As a result, before you make any decisions, you should discuss your situation with a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer who has experience representing people in your situation.

Why Is It Important to Hire a New Jersey Traffic Ticket Lawyer?

Why should you discuss your situation with a lawyer? Here are seven reasons to seek legal advice regarding your New Jersey traffic ticket:

1. Paying the Fine Means Pleading Guilty

When facing a traffic ticket in New Jersey, it is important to understand what it means to pay the fine. Not only does paying the fine have obvious financial consequences, but it also means pleading guilty to the traffic offense with which you have been charged.

In other words, paying the fine does not make your ticket “go away.” In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. If you pay the fine, your guilty plea will go on your permanent record—and this will have additional consequences as we discuss below.

2. You May Be Required to Appear in Court

Look at the left-hand side of your ticket—you will see a box labeled “Court Appearance Required.” Is this box checked? If so, you are required to appear in court to respond to your traffic ticket.

If you don’t show up in court, the judge can (and will) proceed in your absence. In this scenario, the judge has three main options: While the judge can issue a notice giving you the opportunity to correct your failure, the judge can also immediately suspend your driving privileges or issue a warrant for your arrest. When you hire a lawyer, your lawyer can represent you in court, and if it’s already too late to comply with your ticket, your lawyer can determine what options you still have available.

3. Pleading Guilty Also Means Points on Your License

If you pay the fine (which, again, means pleading guilty), you will also accumulate points on your driver’s license. In New Jersey, accumulating 12 points triggers a driver’s license suspension. Additionally, pleading guilty to certain traffic offenses can result in an immediate driver’s license suspension. These offenses include driving without a license and driving without insurance—among others.

4. Points Will Impact Your Auto Insurance Rates

Accumulating points on your driver’s license will also result in an increase in your insurance rates. For many people, this is the single most costly consequence of getting a traffic ticket in New Jersey. Depending on the offense (or offenses) listed on your ticket, you could be facing insurance premium increases of several hundred dollars per year. Your lawyer may be able to protect you against these increased costs—and this alone could be well worth the cost of your legal representation.

5. You May Have a Variety of Defenses Available

Another reason to speak with a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer is that you may have a variety of defenses available. While many people assume that getting a ticket equates to being found guilty, this is not the case. Getting a ticket simply means that a police officer believed he or she had probable cause to issue a citation. To secure a conviction, prosecutors must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is a high burden of proof. Proving guilt requires solid evidence, and even if the government appears to have solid evidence against you, this evidence may or may not be admissible in court. Your lawyer can determine if you have grounds to keep the government’s evidence out of court (i.e., if the police stopped you in violation of your constitutional rights), and, if not, your lawyer can determine what other defenses he or she can use to help protect you from unnecessary consequences.

6. Even if You Can’t Avoid Consequences Entirely, Your Lawyer May Be Able to Negotiate a Plea

Another fact many people don’t realize is that fighting a traffic ticket isn’t necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if the facts are such that you cannot avoid a conviction entirely, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces your charge—and your fines and points. Reducing your points will help keep your auto insurance rates down as well. Prosecutors will be willing to negotiate in many cases. But, negotiating a favorable plea requires experienced legal representation.

7. Hiring a Lawyer Can Be Your Least Costly Option

Ultimately, the main reason to hire a lawyer to fight your New Jersey traffic ticket is that doing so will generally be your least costly option. The legal fees you will pay for your defense will likely pale in comparison to the costs of pleading guilty (or being found guilty in court).

Hiring a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer is an investment in your future—and it is an investment that is well worth it when you consider the consequences of trying to handle your situation on your own. During your initial consultation, your lawyer can explain all of the relevant costs, and then you can make an informed decision about how to move forward.

Request an Appointment with a New Jersey Traffic Ticket Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

If you received a traffic ticket in New Jersey and are wondering whether it makes sense to hire a lawyer to represent you, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. To discuss your situation with an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or request a confidential initial consultation online today.

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