Should I just pay off my traffic ticket? Can my ticket get reduced? Will this affect my insurance costs? In a law practice that handles Wake County traffic tickets on a daily basis, these are the top three questions we hear from potential clients. And the answer is very simple: it depends! With traffic violations there is always a potential for increased insurance costs and points being assessed to your license.
Most traffic violations can be handled in such a way that there will be no negative impact to your driving record and your insurance rates. There are some more serious offenses that are much harder to avoid a negative consequence beyond court costs and fees. In some instances, having to take the case to trial may be the only way to try and avoid points and insurance increases. Hiring a law firm that is well-versed in the practices and expectations of the local District Attorney’s office can be the difference between your insurance going up or not. Each county handles each traffic ticket differently and in many cases, an attorney well known to the D.A.’s can typically get most matters reduced and/or dismissed.
Let’s first address the factors that could come into play if you decided to handle the ticket yourself. When you pay off your ticket you are essentially pleading guilty which tells the court you’re willing to accept the maximum punishment. In all cases, paying off your ticket could result in increased driver’s license points and insurance points, you essentially have waived any defense or negotiations that you may have had, had you hired an attorney. The higher the increase in insurance points and driver’s license points, the higher the insurance costs and greater chance your license could be suspended. Even low-level tickets can have huge impacts to your insurance. For example, pleading to a ticket of just 56 MPH in a 45 MPH zone will result in an increase of your insurance by as much as 65% for the next three years. A Following Too Closely conviction is a 90% increase! Furthermore, you might have to miss work or school to come to court each time and depending on how long it takes you may be in court most of the day. Finally, you will be responsible for paying court costs and fines, which range from $188 to as much as $425+ with high level tickets. On top of the stress of coming to court, in almost all cases, the savings in insurances costs is more then the cost an attorney.
Hiring an attorney can yield many positive results regarding your license and traffic ticket. When you hire an attorney you more than likely will not have to appear in court; you will sign a Waiver of Appearance that allows the attorney to appear in court on your behalf. Therefore, you will not have to miss work or school because of your traffic citation. An attorney has opportunities to reduce your ticket so your insurance and license will not be affected with rising costs or added points. The Matheson Law Office charges only a flat fee for representation, so you are not overpaying more than you should for your legal representation. North Carolina has two different point systems (one for insurance and another for license) that must be taken into account before you decide to pay off your ticket. The different point systems can be very complicated, especially when you have prior traffic violations on your record. The Matheson Law Office has an intimate understanding of the two-point system in North Carolina as well as the practices and requirements for Wake County Traffic Court. The Matheson Law Office will fight to get the best outcome for your case no matter the duration and complexity. If you have any questions pertaining to traffic tickets or how we can best help you, please be sure to contact the Matheson Law Office, PLLC to speak with an attorney that can diligently represent your legal needs.