Tacoma Traffic Attorney(253) 518-3643
Tacoma, Washington and its surrounding areas are full of good people and their families, simply trying to get to work, school, and appointments. Everybody needs to get where they’re going, and sometimes time is tight.
Even the most careful driver can find themselves cited for a traffic offense. While they may not seem like a big deal at the time, tickets can add up fast and criminal traffic charges can lead to substantial costs and make an impact to your life. The largest impact is often the ongoing insurance expense that results from a committed traffic infraction on your record. If you or someone you know is in a difficult position because of a Washington traffic offense, call The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC at (253) 518-3643 and schedule a free consultation with a skilled traffic attorney.
Traffic Tickets in Washington
The state’s motor vehicle laws are covered by RCW Title 46 and tickets can be issued for numerous violations. Whether it is for speeding or making an illegal maneuver, a police officer handing you a ticket can be incredibly frustrating, regardless if you deserve it or not.
When you receive a ticket, there are essentially three ways to handle the process:
Pay the fine
This is the fastest way to deal with the situation, but you run the risk of problems down the road, in addition to an expensive penalty for something you may feel is unwarranted.
If you believe that there were mitigating factors that led to your violation, you can appear in court, present your argument, and potentially receive a reduced penalty. However, this mitigation will be entirely up the judge and the ticket will still appear on your record. In many cases, this can be a time-consuming process with little reward.
Contest the Ticket
This involves appearing in court to force the state or prosecutor to prove that you violated the traffic law in question. If you lose, the ticket will appear on your record and you’ll need to pay the prescribed fine, but if you successfully challenge the ticket, you will avoid any repercussions. This option is often the best. And if you hire a lawyer, you will not need to appear in person for the court hearing.
Contacting a lawyer about traffic tickets is usually not someone’s first thought and while you can contest a ticket yourself, in many cases, finding effective representation is your best bet. An attorney can appear in court on your behalf and a capable lawyer will know how to frame your argument in the best possible way. Basically, by investing in the short-term costs of a traffic lawyer, you can potentially save a lot of time, money, and hassle. The level of successful defenses when you hire a traffic attorney is very high. Most of the time your lawyer will be able to find a solution that will greatly decrease the long-term costs.
The Importance of a Clear Driving Record
A lot of people don’t fully appreciate the full impact of traffic tickets apart from paying the fine. However, their real effect can also include higher insurance rates, the loss of your driving privileges, or your career being put in jeopardy. For example, if you accumulate too many tickets, the Department of Licensing may suspend your driver’s license, making it difficult getting around town. This can cause logistical and work-related problems for anyone, particularly for professional drivers with a commercial driver’s license. If they receive too many tickets, it can result in termination, even if they were not working at the time.
If you are unsure about the immediate and long-term implications of a traffic ticket, be sure to discuss the situation with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Criminal Traffic Offenses
Apart from things like speeding and rolling through a stop sign, there are also various criminal traffic offenses with heightened penalties like substantial fines, the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and even jail time.
Some of the most common criminal traffic offenses include:
Hit and Run
This is a criminal traffic offense where a driver strikes another vehicle or person and subsequently leaves the scene. Depending on the circumstances and any resulting injuries, this will be treated as either a simple or gross misdemeanor and can lead to jail, fines, and loss of license.
If a driver operates a motor vehicle negligently and poses a danger to others or property, a reckless driving charge may result. This is considered a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail, as much as a $5,000 fine, and a mandatory 30-day license suspension.
Driving with a Suspended License
If a driver is found to be operating a vehicle even though their driving privileges have already been suspended due to their driving history or a prior DUI they may face penalties like mandatory jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and extended suspension periods. Additionally, you can run the risk of being labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender and even harsher consequences.
How a Tacoma Traffic Lawyer Can Help
Protecting your driving record and challenging Washington traffic offenses may be the difference between being able to pick up your kids from school, getting to work on time, and in some cases staying out of jail. In both criminal and relatively minor traffic ticket cases, time will be of the essence. Seeking early intervention and real practical solutions from an effective criminal defense attorney should be a top priority.
Do not wait until the last minute or hope for light treatment from the court. Courts do have a lot of discretion regarding how to handle traffic issues, but there is a lot of pressure to increase local and state budgets with the funds traffic tickets bring in. While judges can be lenient, you should not leave your ability to drive or your freedom to chance.
By working with a knowledgeable attorney with a record of achieving the best possible outcomes in all sorts of traffic cases, you can review your unique situation and develop a plan to reduce the impact to your license, challenge the ticket or charges completely, or facilitate your participation in driver improvement and defensive driving programs.
Contact a Tacoma Traffic Attorney at The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC
Whether you were issued a speeding ticket or charged with a more serious offense like Hit and Run, attorney Morgan Fletcher Benfield is prepared to defend your license and your wallet.