Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Spokane Traffic Ticket?

May 9, 2017

In most cases, you will save money on insurance for a long time by hiring an attorney for your Spokane area traffic ticket.

Serious traffic violations in the State of Washington like driving under the influence or fleeing and eluding result in criminal charges, but most routine traffic violations are a civil infraction. On that basis, if you’re found guilty of an ordinary traffic offense like speeding, no criminal conviction is going to result.

The burden of proof
Because a routine traffic offense is a civil infraction, the prosecution need not find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It need only find you guilty by a preponderance of the evidence which is a lesser burden of proof. What a preponderance of the evidence means is that the prosecution need only show that the version of events of the officer who pulled you over for an alleged speeding offense is more likely true than not true. That means that if it’s your word against a police officer’s word, the system wins. In many Washington jurisdictions, the system need not even have a prosecutor or the officer who cited you present.

So what are my options?
At one time or another, you’ll need to make a decision about your ticket. Your options consist of:

  • Pleading guilty and just paying the ticket
  • Pleading not guilty and having a hearing on the ticket
  • Plead guilty with mitigating circumstances

The true cost of that ticket
There isn’t any uniformity in Washington on the amount of a fine for a speeding ticket. Different courts set speeding infraction fines at different amounts. There’s no uniformity on what attorneys charge for a ticket either, but it is safe to estimate that you’re likely to be out $125 on the ticket or $250ish with a lawyer.

Why pay for an attorney on a speeding ticket?
The answer to the above question is all about your insurance. Insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and paying out as little as possible on claims. If you give an automobile insurance company a reason to raise your premium, it’s going to do just that. When risk increases, your premium increases. Risk increases for your insurer when you’re a known speeder because most accidents are caused by excessive speed. When there are one or more speeding convictions on your driving record, you can expect that your premium payments are going to increase by about 20 percent.

Do the math
A traffic conviction in Washington will follow you for three years. Using a random number, we’ll say that you’re paying $1,200 per year for car insurance. With your conviction on a routine speeding ticket, your monthly premium cost of $100 per month increases to $120 per month. Spread that extra $20 out over three years, and your ticket plus insurance increase is going to cost you $825. On a more serious ticket, your premium increase could be even steeper. Those are good reasons for contesting any traffic ticket in the State of Washington. If you drive commercially, you’ll really need to speak with us. A conviction can result in severe consequences against your CDL on top of increased insurance premiums.

Contact a Spokane attorney today

You’ll want knowledgeable and effective legal representation on any traffic infraction, so contact this office right away after receiving a citation. We’ll be pleased to discuss the circumstances surrounding the alleged infraction along with your personal circumstances.

With the benefit of an attorney representing you, money might be saved, and you might save your driver’s license too.

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