Traffic Violation Lawyers | Decatur Office
300 Market Street, Suite 201AB, Decatur, AL 35601
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Traffic violations range from parking tickets to speeding tickets and reckless driving. Failing to pay a traffic ticket can result in additional fines, a suspended license, and potential arrest for failing to show up to court. Drivers who have many violations are at risk of increased fines, higher insurance rates, and loss of their driving privileges.
Some traffic violations are civil violations which include points on your driving record and a fine. Traffic violations include moving violations (related to driving) and non-moving violations (related to the vehicle or where the vehicle is parked). Moving violations include speeding, running a red light, running a stop sign, or failing to signal a lane change.
More serious traffic violations can be charged as a misdemeanor. Driving violations that can be criminal charges include drunk driving, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, or driving without a license.
When you get pulled over by the police and given a ticket, the ticket will usually indicate your court date and where in Decatur the courthouse is located. Drivers generally have the option of pleading guilty and paying the fine without showing up the court. However, if drivers want to fight the ticket, they usually have to show up in person.
If you can’t make your court date, you have to contact the court to reschedule the appearance before the date on your ticket. If you fail to show up for your court appearance, the judge can find you guilty and may even issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Fighting a traffic ticket involves showing the judge that you did not violate the traffic laws based on state or local traffic codes. If you really want to fight a traffic ticket you have to do some work, including gathering any evidence in support of your case and research. If you show up with only your statement that you didn’t break the law, the judge may not be very moved.
The time a traffic violation stays on your record is generally determined by the state. Alabama has its own traffic laws and licensing requirements. Some less serious offenses may only stay on your record for a limited time, such as two to five years. However, more serious offenses or repeated traffic violations can be permanent marks on your Alabama driving record or criminal record.
The fines associated with a traffic ticket generally depend on the type of offense and the driver’s record. A minor non-moving violation like overstaying a parking meter may be less than $100. A more serious moving violation like drunk driving (DUI/DWI) can cost up to $1,000, and even include jail time. In some cases, the cost of the traffic violation will be shown on the traffic ticket.
Some traffic tickets have greater charges (and penalties) depending on the degree of the violation. For example, driving 5 miles over the speed limit is generally a lesser ticket compared to driving 20 miles or more over the speed limit.
For some drivers, the traffic court will offer traffic school and a fine as a way to keep the points off your record. In that situation, you’d have to pay the fine and pay for traffic school. Traffic school is a class you attend where there is a presentation on traffic safety, traffic accident dangers, and Alabama traffic laws.
The amount of time you have to pay a traffic violation depends on a few factors. Generally, Alabama law provides the time limit for paying a traffic ticket. Some citations indicate the due date on the ticket itself. You may also need to factor in how the payment is made. Online payments may be more immediate than sending a check in the mail or trying to pay the fine in person at the courthouse.
If you need more time to pay a ticket, contact the court to see if you can get an extension so you don’t get hit with additional fines or end up with a warrant for your arrest.
In most cases, a traffic ticket attorney can represent you in municipal court to fight the charges. Legal representation can be a lot of help because the defense lawyer understands local traffic codes and Alabama traffic law. With legal advice from a defense attorney, you may be able to get the violation dismissed, keep points off your record, keep your driver’s license, and keep your insurance premiums down.
It may seem like a small matter, but a traffic violation can really affect your life if you don’t get the counsel you deserve to make it right. Finding an attorney experienced in traffic violations may seem like a challenge but many attorneys are ready to help clients who need the advice and advocacy of an experienced lawyer. Ask hard questions and find an attorney who has experience in cases just like yours. The LawInfo directory can help you find verified traffic violation attorneys in Decatur.
For lesser violations, you typically do not have to appear in court. You may elect not to contest the violation and pay the fine, which is considered as admitting guilt for the violation. If you choose not to pay the fine, the court assumes that you will be present in court to challenge the violation. However, for more serious traffic violations or repeat violations, Alabama may require you to appear in court and go before a judge.
Most states consider traffic violations as infractions, which constitute an act or omission prohibited by law but don’t rise to the severity level of a criminal offense like a misdemeanor or felony. Since Alabama has its own laws defining crimes, what counts as a traffic violation in one state may be a misdemeanor in another state. Generally, most states consider speeding, running a red light or stop sign, failing to stop or yield, failure to wear a seat belt, expired inspection sticker, failure to have working headlights or brake lights as traffic violations. However, accumulating a number of violations may result in being charged with a criminal offense.
The length a traffic violation stays on your record is generally determined by state. Alabama has its own traffic laws and different requirements provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation. Some less serious offenses may only stay on your record for a limited period of time, such as two to five years. However more serious offenses or repeated traffic violations can lead to longer periods on your record or permanent marks on your record.
Missing a court date, referred to as failing to appear, can be a more serious offense than your original traffic violation. Some courts consider being late to your court date as a failure to appear as well. Each state provides its own additional penalties for failing to appear, but most jurisdictions consider this a separate criminal misdemeanor offense with its own penalties and fines. As a result, a judge may decide to suspend your license, hold you in contempt of court, or issue a warrant for your arrest which may lead to spending time in jail. Failing to appear or being found in contempt of court may stay on your criminal record as well. This makes it critical to appear on time to your court date or work with your attorney to request a new date to appear.
Going to court for a traffic violation can be straightforward but may be a bit more complex for serious violations, those with a negative driving record, or criminal history. You may elect to go to plead your case to the judge by proving your innocence or showing evidence of any mitigating circumstances. For serious offenses or habitual offenders, you may decide to go into court with an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
The process of a traffic violation differs from state to state. Generally, a police officer issues a ticket or citation for a moving violation or a non-moving violation. Depending on the traffic laws in your state and your driving record, you may be facing paying fines or penalties, increased insurance costs, points on your license, traffic school, license suspension or revocation, and potentially appearing in court. After reviewing your ticket, you may decide to pay the fine and admit guilt to the violations or you can contest the ticket in court.
The amount of time you have to pay a traffic violation depends on a few factors. First and foremost, the laws in Alabama dictate the amount of time you have to pay. Generally, tickets or citations for traffic violations state the payment due date on the document itself. Some states may have different fines and payment due dates depending on the type of traffic violation. You may also need to factor in the time the method of payment may take. For instance, paying online may be available up until the due date but state law may require payments in person or mailing a check or money order be processed by a certain date.
An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.