Why Is Retaining an Attorney the Best Option to Fight Traffic Infractions?

Interviewer: When people go in and think they can fight a ticket on their own, why is it that the end result is much less successful than if they had retained an attorney to argue their case?

Jack: They generally argue with too much emotion. The prosecutor tends not to believe the defendant because they’ve got an incentive to misrepresent the facts or to exaggerate the circumstances and try to avoid the punishment.

Whereas the lawyer comes in with a little more savvy, a little more experience, certainly knowing the prosecutors, and knowing in what areas you can go with them and where you can’t work with them to get a favorable outcome.

What Can an Attorney Potentially Accomplish?

Interviewer: What are you typically able to do for people? I know there are no guarantees.

Charitable Contributions in Lieu of Fines

Jack: No there are no guarantees but, within reason we can work to have the charges thrown out or we frequently can get a charitable contribution in exchange for the ticket being thrown out.

Interviewer: Does that mean a person will pay money to a charity?

Jack: Yes, that is right. There’s a form that the prosecutor fills out and you donate to the agreed upon charitable contribution and it goes to a special fund for victims.

Interviewer: That is very interesting.

Jack: The reality is that’s what we rely on. I tell clients I can have these infractions dismissed and I go in and have the prosecutor agree to a $50.00 charitable contribution. In that circumstance, everyone wins.

You call the client and they are thrilled that they didn’t end up with points or loss of their driver’s license. And a $50.00 or a $100.00 charitable contribution can be written off as a tax deduction.

Can Traffic Infractions Be Enhanced When There Are Multiple Violations?

Interviewer:  Not incurring any points on their license is a real benefit for your clients. Once you have an existing violation, let’s say you have a speeding ticket and then you have another one, are the fines and fees and punishments enhanced or is it just the same if it’s your second or third offense?

Jack: Enhancements can apply for certain charges. You’ll see operating under suspensions, the punishments increase with subsequent offenses, evading responsibility with subsequent offenses, so if you have any prior history you definitely need to get an attorney.

People also can face a suspension of their driver’s license. With speeding infractions, if you get four or more within a two-year period you lose your license for 30 days. A fifth one, you lose it for 60 days. With the sixth one you lose it for six months.

Multiple Violations for Driving While Your License Is Suspended Can Result in a Jail Sentence

Interviewer: Is there a status where someone can be labeled a habitual traffic offender in Connecticut?

Jack: No. If you get three, operating under suspensions, then you’re looking at enhanced penalties including jail.

Interviewer: Are there any other enhancements that would cause someone’s normal traffic ticket to turn far more serious?

What Is Evading Responsibility?

Jack: Earlier I mentioned a charge called evading responsibility. Evading responsibility is when you have an accident and you flee or leave the scene. For a charge of evading police you can lose your license for a year, for a subsequent one you can lose your license18 months. There are many enhanced penalties.

By Jack O’Donnell

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