Pro Se vs. Hiring an Attorney

A common question we receive about traffic tickets is, “Do I really need to hire an attorney?”  The answer is simple: no. In the United States you have the right to be pro se. You may be scratching your head and thinking, “what does pro se mean?” In lawyer speak it means you are representing yourself in court. (If you’re interested in learning more behind the term pro se, do some research on the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution!)


So, why hire an attorney? Below are some reasons that will help you decide.


  1. Time: Were you aware that if you hire an attorney you typically do NOT need to appear in court on your court date? Most of the time your attorney can represent you in court. This saves you a trip to the Wake County Justice Center! No need to take the day off work or find a babysitter. Many traffic citations can also require an additional court date or 2, which means you’ll have to take another day off of work or find childcare. Why do all these when an attorney can do it for you! Parking is scarce in downtown Raleigh! Matheson & Associates is right across the street from the Justice Center, so it’s convenient for us to handle your traffic ticket.


  1. Best Outcome: Did you know that judges and district attorneys will NOT give you legal advice on what to do with your ticket? They will also not tell you if there is a better option for your ticket (like a reduction). You are basically on your own when you represent yourself in court and run the risk of a possible suspension of your North Carolina driving privileges. By hiring an attorney, you are hiring someone who knows what the best possible outcome is for your situation. Your attorney can do some investigating into your charge to see if there were circumstances that may show cause for a dismissal of your charge. Wake County has very specific guidelines when it to comes to ticket reductions. Judges and district attorneys are not going to tell you about these when you are in court. An experienced attorney, like Attorney Matheson, will know what options you have available based on your charge and driving record and will be able to negotiate for the best possible outcome.



  1. Money: Legal fees aren’t as bad as you would think. Matheson & Associates includes court costs in in our flat fees our many traffic citations, as well as pulling your driving record, there are no hidden fees. Don’t forget that you’ll be coming to downtown Raleigh, so you’ll need to pay for parking! Plus if things do not go your way in court, you could be hit with some pretty serious court costs! Wake County court costs start at $188. The judge can also assess fines starting at $25 and can surpass $500! Plus if you are convicted of a traffic charge, you risk the chance of insurance points being assessed! Just one insurance point can raise you premium by 25%. The average traffic conviction carries 2-3 points. That’s a possible 45-65% increase in your insurance premium.


As you are contemplating what to do about your Wake County traffic ticket, keep these 3 reasons in mind. If decide on hiring an attorney, call our office and we will be happy to speak to you about what options are available to help save you time, money, and get you the best outcome possible.

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