You were aware that you were running late, but when you got into the car and saw the time on the dashboard clock, you knew that you were good and late. So when you drove away you were pushing to make back some of the time. Not that you were flying, but you were speeding, doing 50 mph on a 35 mph road. No big deal.
Now you are holding a speeding ticket. You see that the fine is going to be $105.00. You know that you were speeding. Perhaps you should just pay the fine. Get it over with. Perhaps you figure that it makes no sense to hire a lawyer to dispute a ticket for $105.00.
The problem for NJ motorists is that things do not stop with paying the fine. This violation carries 4 points with it. You might already have some points against your license, and there is always the risk that you could incur additional points from a future ticket. Even if these are your first points, an additional violation, even for something as minor as not coming to a full stop at a stop sign, would bring with it enough points to subject you to a special surcharge in addition to fines for future violations. Twelve points within 24 months will result in a suspension notice. Loss of your license can often lead to loss of your job. Even without those dire consequences, many insurance companies will raise your premiums based on the violations you have been convicted of, and payment of the ticket is a conviction.
A traffic lawyer can often negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to reduce or, in some cases, eliminate those points and reduce the fine. Look at it from the point of view of the prosecutor—once you show up with an attorney the prosecutor knows that if a deal is not reached there could be a trial with a professional adversary. That is generally a waste of resources for the prosecutor. Showing up with counsel discourages the prosecutor from taking a hardball stance. Often a prosecutor will offer a better deal to a lawyer than to an unrepresented motorist. A traffic lawyer will be able to determine if a deal offered by the prosecuting attorney is a good deal based on experience rather than on emotion. You might not be able to.
There is another important advantage to having a lawyer represent you. Your time has value. Cases with counsel are disposed of first. This is done for two reasons: first, as a courtesy to the legal professionals, and second, as a courtesy to other courts where the attorneys may be scheduled to appear.
So, you may really be better off with a traffic lawyer – even though it’s “just” a speeding ticket. Don’t go it alone.