Navigating the world of traffic tickets can leave one frustrated and confused. When you get a traffic ticket, you may be asking yourself whether to pay the fine, attend traffic school, or hire a lawyer to contest the ticket. It could be a minor parking violation or something more serious like drunk driving or even a hit-run accident. 

The consequences can range from a small monetary penalty to severe repercussions like jail time. When, then, should you consider getting a legal representative for your traffic ticket? Let’s delve into this.

Understanding Traffic Rule Violations

The first thing all drivers should know about traffic violations is that they are classified in two categories based on their severity. These categories are called infractions and offenses. But what do these terms mean, and what are the implications if you violate them?

  • Infractions – These are minor violations, such as forgetting to put money in the parking meter, not stopping completely at a stop sign, or going slightly over the speed limit. If you are cited for an infraction, you usually just pay a fine, and that’s the end of it. The violation isn’t considered a crime, and there’s no need for a trial or a lawyer unless you wish to contest the ticket.
  • Offenses – These are more serious violations of the traffic rules, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident. They fall under motor vehicle laws and can lead to more severe charges. Depending on the nature of the violation, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, and this is where a criminal defense attorney can be incredibly helpful.
  • Misdemeanor Charge – This is a lesser offense than a felony but more serious than an infraction. Examples include reckless driving, driving without a valid license, and certain drunk driving offenses. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, there can be serious consequences such as probation, community service, fines, or even jail time of up to one year.
  • Felony Charge – This is the most serious type of traffic offense. Felonies include repeat drunk driving offenses and vehicular homicide. If you are charged with a felony, you could face high fines, long-term probation, or imprisonment ranging from one year to life. A felony charge stays on your record and can affect your future opportunities, which is why needing an attorney at law is essential.

The Necessity of Legal Representation

There are certain situations where hiring a lawyer is definitely in your best interest. The seriousness of the violation, possible penalties, and your previous criminal record could necessitate the services of a lawyer.

  • Felony Traffic Violations – Breaking traffic rules to the extent of committing a felony is no laughing matter. The penalties of a felony charge are severe and can have a lasting impact on your life. You could be ordered to pay extremely high fines or even face a prison sentence. 

Additionally, your driver’s license may be taken away. An attorney at law can help minimize these repercussions by either reducing the offense to a lesser one, arguing for a lower fine amount, or even managing to get the felony dismissed altogether.

  • Legal Defense – If you’ve been issued a ticket and you believe you didn’t deserve it, a lawyer can help you contest the charge in court. Lawyers can provide legal defense to motorists contesting traffic tickets by scrutinizing the prosecutor’s case for any potential weaknesses or procedural errors. They are familiar with the court hearing procedure and can build a case using defense strategies that can strengthen your position.
  • Repeat Offenses – If you are a repeat offender, a traffic ticket lawyer becomes mandatory. Multiple traffic rule violations lead to higher insurance costs and a suspended license. Here, a lawyer plays a crucial role in helping you keep your driving privileges by getting a reduction in offense points or lesser fines.

Dealing with DUI Offenses

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, referred to as DUI, is considered to be a serious crime. A DUI offense involves a thorough investigation, including field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and sometimes blood tests to determine if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit. 

Violating the state DUI laws results in criminal charges and potentially harsh penalties like suspension of your driver’s license, high fines, and in more severe cases, a jail sentence. Consulting a Long Island DUI lawyer right away is a smart move because they can guide you on your best legal defense options based on your DUI arrest case’s unique circumstances.

Addressing Legal Issues with Robbery Offenses

Robbery offenses are different from traffic violations. They are categorized as violent crimes and carry much weightier penalties such as prison sentences, high fines, mandated counseling, etc. If you find yourself facing a robbery charge, you’ll need the professional help of a theft lawyer. An experienced theft lawyer can comprehensively evaluate your case, apply knowledge of the prosecution procedure, and devise a strong defense to deal with the charges.

The Decriminalization of Traffic Offences

There’s a new trend in certain jurisdictions moving towards decriminalizing traffic offenses. Under this perspective, first-time offenders often receive a more lenient treatment, typically getting traffic tickets instead of criminal charges for minor offenses. 

But it’s vital to note that one shouldn’t rely wholly on this decriminalization trend to manage one’s traffic violations. The importance of legal advice still stands out, especially when a simple violation could escalate to a criminal charge due to certain circumstances.

Impact on Driving License

It’s important to note that traffic rule violations can have a severe impact on your driving license, especially if you’re a repeat offender. Committing traffic violations repeatedly can lead to the accumulation of points on your driving license. Several points within a period can lead to the suspension or even revocation of your driving privilege. 

At the same time, you’re labeled as a ‘high-risk driver’ by the insurance companies, thus raising your premium rates. Therefore, having a legal expert to fight your case can help reduce the negative consequences on your driving license. This is particularly important for repeat DUI/DWI offenses.

Keeping Arrest Record Clean

A major reason why some opt to engage a lawyer is to keep their arrest records clean. Any criminal charges, no matter how minor, have the potential to impact different facets of your life. A criminal record can affect your job prospects, housing applications, and even loan applications. 

By hiring a good lawyer, you can argue for lesser penalties, alternative sentencing, or, in some cases, even the removal of the charges from your record. This can save you from unnecessary complications in the future.


In the end, whether or not to hire a lawyer when you receive a traffic ticket largely depends on your circumstances and the potential consequences you could face. Equipping yourself with knowledge of traffic rules and violations and their implications is a proactive way to approach road safety. Yet, in situations where your legal or financial security is at stake, like traffic felonies or repetitive offenses, having a professional lawyer by your side can be a game-changer. 


Back To Top