We have all been there, it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the sun is blue and the roads are clear. You are driving, minding your own business, reflecting on how great life is, when your reverie is broken by the angry wail of a siren. Your heart sinking, you pull over and wait for the “ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?” Fifteen minutes later you are on your way, ticket in hand, driving with an extra measure of caution.
What do you do next? The instinct of many people is to get the whole process over with as quickly as possible. Many people take what they think is the quick, easy and economical way out of calling the court and paying the fines over the phone if possible, or showing up at the first hearing, pleading guilty and paying the fines and court costs. It is easy to look at a minor traffic ticket and think, “It’s only $100.00, it will cost me more in time and money to hire an attorney than to just pay the fine.” At first blush that line of reasoning makes sense, however, the quick and easy solution can have serious long term consequences.
In Ohio there is a points system in place for moving traffic violations. Depending on the severity of the violation 2-6 points are attributed to your license, and if you receive 12 points in two years you are subject to a six month suspension from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, after which you must take a remedial driving course and retake the state driver’s exam. This suspension is separate and apart from any suspension or consequences you might receive from the court. Most moving violations are 2 points. However, speeding violations can be up to 4 points while offenses involving drugs or alcohol are at least 4 points, and often 6.
Back to the question of what do you do next? Call an attorney.
What can an attorney do for you? An attorney can advise you as to whether you should fight your ticket. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to obtain a violation with less points, or no points. In short, an attorney can help you navigate and unfamiliar system and keep you from taking the “quick and easy” way out that can lead to significant hardship later on. In the long term, the cost of an attorney is a small price to pay to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a 6 month license suspension.