Why you shouldn’t just pay the fine on a traffic ticket

It happens to the majority of people. One day you are driving to your destination, then out of seemingly nowhere you are stopped by the police. For some the police flash the lights behind them. For others the police are in the road pointing to you, and signaling to pull over. The moment is disturbing, and makes your heart sink. The officer comes to your window and ask some kind of information. Then they tell you that you have committed a crime, a traffic crime. They give you a ticket, and send you on your way.

Many people in this situation feel lost because they feel like whatever the officer said is wrong. The officer made a mistake, but the ticket says you have to go to court. There is one huge problem, the court date and time is inconvenient. You don’t feel guilty, but you feel like going to court will be a big hassle. Now you are faced with a dilemma, do you go to the court, plead not guilty, get a new court date, and suffer a massive inconvenience, or do you just pay the traffic ticket and go on with your life.

On the one hand, getting on with your life sounds good. Paying a traffic ticket doesn’t usually ruin a reputation. So what is the big deal about paying the ticket? The answer is the consequences that are not seen. The first consequence of paying a ticket is that you are pleading guilty. That means you have a conviction on your record. If the ticket is a moving violation there can be problems you didn’t think about. Your insurance company can raise your rates. The conviction can affect your rates up to 3 years. Also, you get points toward suspension of your license. Recently, Texas changed the laws to get rid of surcharges, but that doesn’t mean they changed it so that you don’t get your license suspended. Accident tickets carry higher points then regular moving violations. One stop can produce three tickets. That means your license can be suspended immediately!

The Solution

The solution is to hire a lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the muddy waters of the court system. A lawyer will review your case to see if there are any mistakes on the citation or the complaint. A lawyer can review the video to see if the officer didn’t follow the law during the stop. All of these things can lead to a dismissal. What if there is nothing wrong, and there is no reason to dismiss? A lawyer will work with the prosecutors to keep your record clean. However, some prosecutors will not offer good deals, or any deals. In these cases, a lawyer will act as a zealous advocate in a jury trial. Some people go to trial on their own behalf, but fail to realize that the court will hold them up to the same knowledge level as a lawyer. So when the try to introduce evidence, they fail to enter it properly and the judge grants the prosecutor’s objection. A lawyer will know the correct way to enter evidence, giving you the best possible opportunity.