Why should I hire an attorney for a traffic ticket is a question I often get. Here is the answer to that and other frequently asked questions. (To explain the rhetoric of the following responses, this post is primarily from my law office website.)
What can an attorney do?
Only an attorney that has experience with traffic tickets has the knowledge at his fingertips on how to get a case dismissed at the first hearing, or how to negotiate for a non-point resolution, or how the court responds to different issues or evidence, or what to expect from different courts and law enforcement agencies on the day of trial, etc.
A wise man once told me that I could fix my broken dishwasher myself but it might take me a week to do it, and, then, it still may not be done right. Same with the practice of law. You could go to the local library to read case law, but after a few years of study, you’ll probably just wish you hired an attorney.
Why not just take traffic school myself?
You could and if that is what you want to do, then do it. However, if it was my case, knowing what I know now, I would always seek ways to have my case dismissed. It is my constitutional right to be heard on the matter; to leave the burden on the prosecution, and to present my case. Moreover, going to traffic school right out of the gate is like not finishing the race. You could win the race but you never know until you try.
Second, having your case dismissed entirely means no fines and no traffic school. Having your case reduced to a non-point charge means no traffic school, no traffic school court costs, no traffic school attendance costs, and possibly a reduced fine, as well. All three scenarios avoid a point on your drivers license.
Some cases or defendants are not eligible for traffic school for various reasons. The more common reasons for ineligibility are: took traffic school within 18 months, speed too high, and commercial driver.
How is it that chances of winning are about 80-90%?
I have handled so many cases that I could not count them all. Historically, I have gotten great results. The results are public record, and you could look them up. I could give you thousands of case numbers to look up, if you have the time, that show dismissals and reductions.
Your case is unique but probably extremely similar to prior cases that I have handled. It is extremely rare to have an absolutely unique case. Speeding tickets, red light tickets, for example, are not rare. However, your needs are important, and your case is important, and I will treat each case uniquely, as you deserve.
Two examples of unique cases: Client was only cited for not wearing his contact lenses–raised a few issues, but I fought it on Constitutional rights and the judge complimented me, being impressed with the motion I filed and the way I handled the case. Another unique case had two very rare commercial driver misdemeanor charges that even the prosecutor had never heard of, but after several pretrial conferences, I eventually got that reduced to a non-criminal case entirely with super low court costs.
Understand that the good results I get on your case are based on my skills from handling similar types of cases. Those similar cases, when added up, produce statistics that show great results. That means that you can rest-assured that I practice law in a manner that gets great results for cases like yours.
For example: If I had 100 traffic trial hearings last month, and 44 were dismissed entirely, 43 were reduced to a non-DMV point, and 2 not guilty, then my success rate was 89%. This month, your case will be in the mix, with a very high probability of success.
Is there any guarantee that my case will be dismissed?
Note that while history tends to repeat itself, there is no guarantee that history will repeat itself. In life, we all use historical data to achieve success. This is why I tell people my past results—so that they can try for the best on their case with confidence because they know of my high success rates.
What will my attorney actually do for me and my case?
I will review your case multiple times for multiple purposes. It involves hearing from you about what you are concerned with, what happened, and what you ultimately want. I look at the charging document, consider the allegations, compare it to the law and your facts, consider the prosecution involved, etc.
I will conduct legal research and prepare for issues on your case. Sometimes documents/motions are filed. Often, oral motions are made with the court. Negotiations occur.
I will appear in court on your case multiple times at different hearings. Generally, on traffic tickets, the first hearing is called the arraignment and the last hearing is the trial. However, sometimes there are clerk window appearances, motion appearances, post-trial hearings, etc. All of these are included in my flat rate–whatever your case takes. Each appearance could take all day or a matter of minutes. This is unpredictable. However, in most cases, it is faster for the attorney to appear then for a defendant to appear “pro per” because the court considers an attorney an officer of the court, giving priority to attorneys. (This makes sense for several reasons. Consider if an attorney had to sit in court waiting around for 4 hours for the case to be called, then it might cost the client $1400 for that hearing alone, with an hourly rate of $350.
I will fix any errors that the court makes that harm you. Consider that if you went back to court alone and said, for example, that the court accidentally did not dismiss your case, as actually occurred at trial, then the court might say to you, “Well, the notes in my file say you were found guilty” and you would be stuck. But when I go back to court to fix those clerical errors, they trust me and make the appropriate corrections.
Do you think my case will be dismissed?
This is a very specific question that can be answered with probably because of [this issue] or [that issue] or because [this occurs] or [that occurs]. Those [blanks] need to be filled in with specifics before a specific answer can occur. An attorney needs to assess those legal issues. That what I do. That is why you want to hire an attorney. It is like asking a medical doctor for antibiotics when the doctor has not yet assessed your symptoms. Like a medical doctor that practices medicine, I am literally a Juris Doctor that practices law.
What are the issues on my case?
I would be happy to asses the issues. If you want me to tell you right way, I can based on the information you give me. Note that more information is needed for a complete assessment, such as a copy of the ticket in my hand, or issues that show themselves after negotiations with the prosecution, etc.
How much does it cost — what is a flat fee?
A flat fee is the total amount for the whole case. It is common when the amount of time and resources and work involved on a case is not exactly known but fairly predictable. The work on many similar cases works to predict a reasonable fee. If I were to charge an hourly fee, it would be much more expensive because I charge $350 per hour. Consider all of the time that I talk to a client about their case, prep a case, go to court multiple times, and prepare documents. Each case would easily be more than my flat fees.
Why hire the Law Office of David Dastrup?
I understand what it is like to be a consumer. My goal is two fold, for your case to be dismissed and for you to be a satisfied consumer. I will explain the law to you all day, if that is what you need. I will personally return your calls or give you status updates via text. I am employed by you, not the other way around. Thus, I serve you and your interests.
I have extensive experience with traffic tickets–lots of success. I even had another attorney tell me that it was because of what I had done that made it possible to get good deals on cases where those deals rarely occurred before I practiced in that courthouse.
On another occasion, an attorney sitting next to me was sweating and shaking. I asked him about the case he was appearing on. He said, “I have been my client’s attorney for almost 20 years. So when he got a traffic ticket, he asked me do it. I know business law, been doing it almost 40 years. However, I do not know [anything about these tickets].” So I quickly helped that attorney work out a deal on his case. He was happy and stopped sweating. I was also happy to know that I helped an attorney help his client.
Traffic Tickets are what I do best. I also have experience with criminal cases, including DUI’s, prostitution, petty theft, marijuana, probation violations, suspended license charges, and more. However, traffic tickets are my forte.