When you get a traffic ticket, it can be difficult to decide whether to fight the ticket, and whether you need to consult an attorney to help you do so. Here is a guide to help you decide whether you need help.
Whether to fight the ticket: It is your civilian right in Canada to fight any traffic ticket you receive. However, sometimes people feel that it isn't worth the hassle of going to court. When deciding whether to fight a traffic ticket, you should consider how many demerit points come with the violation, and how many demerit points you already have on your license. Demerit points can accumulate and result in your insurance rates going up or your license being suspended (at 15 demerit points your license will be suspended for 30 days). Additionally, having demerit points on your license can make it more difficult to get or hold some driving jobs. If you are concerned about the number of demerit points on your license, or if you have already accumulated some and cannot afford any more, you can fight your ticket. If you fight your traffic ticket and win, you will not get any demerit points.
Whether to hire a lawyer: Once you have decided that you are going to fight your traffic ticket in court, you will need to decide whether to retain a lawyer to help with your case. For this, you should consider
- How severe your violation: The more severe your traffic violation, the more you have to lose. Minor violations such as running a stop sign or failing to wear a seat belt carry with them a penalty of just 2 demerit points and as such, many people choose to represent themselves in court to save money on an attorney, even at the risk of losing. There are other violations, however, like leaving the scene of an accident, for which you can get as many as 7 demerit points as well as a large fine and even time in prison. For these offenses the benefits of hiring a lawyer outweigh the cost.
- How complicated your case: If your case is straightforward, you may be able to represent yourself in court without any problems. However, sometimes cases are more complicated and require the assistance of someone who knows the system and understands the traffic laws. Lawyers can also often argue on your behalf even if you aren't there, which is a huge advantage if you are too busy to appear in court.
- How much the lawyer will cost: Hiring an attorney can be expensive, so consider the cost of an attorney against the cost of potentially losing your case. If you are uncertain whether to fight your ticket or to retain an attorney, most lawyers will see you for a free consultation to help you decide.
You have options when you receive a traffic ticket, and with some consideration you will be able to find the option that works best for you. A company like We Defend speeding tickets can provide you with more information.