The Information Your Attorney Will Be Looking For
As an attorney, I need to know as much as I can to help you determine how to move forward. This will involve asking a number of questions. Questions like…
“What was the speed limit?”
A lot of times, folks will say “I was charged with going 90 miles an hour.” Okay, but what was the speed limit?
It’s a lot different to be cited for going 90 miles an hour in a 70-mile-an-hour zone than 90 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone.
A lot of drivers do not recall the speed limit – but that might be the most important thing in the whole case. First, we have to ask: What was the legal limit? Only then can we talk about how fast you were going.
The next thing I want to know is…
“Where were you going? And where were you coming from?”
In short, I want to know if there are any mitigating circumstances that I can argue to our benefit.
If there was an emergency, a health issue, or some other extenuating circumstance – you may be able to use it as a defense to your violation. With the facts on your side, I might be able to negotiate with the district attorney (DA).
Then, I want to know…
“What has been on your driving record over the last three years?”
This is going to impact what I can negotiate with the DA and it’s going to impact what that negotiation means for the license and the insurance.
A lot of times, clients don’t know what their driving record looks like. Even if they do, it might not be exactly accurate – so we run every in-state driving record after clients retain us.
Then, I can sit down and explain to my clients:
- What we’re going to do;
- What the impact might be on your license;
- What this might mean for your insurance;
- And more…
Finally, I want to know…
“Who was the officer that stopped you?”
Just like in every career, some officers have great reputations – while others don’t.
You have folks with good reputations, you have folks with bad reputations… and I know the city cops, the deputy sheriffs, and the highway patrolmen.
All in all, this means I know whose cases I can have thrown out, and whose cases I’ll have to challenge at trial.
First Appearances For A Traffic Violation
Your first court date is going to be between 30 and 60 days away from the date of your citation. In those 30 to 60 days, that’s your time to vet attorneys, get your driving record, and look up the law.
The nature of that first appearance will vary depending on your charge.
If it’s a speeding ticket or first appearance, you’re just going to court. You do have the right to a court-appointed attorney.
If you can’t afford an attorney in America (and, subsequently, in North Carolina), the court will appoint you a public defender – but this right only extends to cases where you are convicted. In other words, the only time you get an attorney is in cases where the judge can send you to jail.
This means that if you’re convicted of a speeding ticket violation, the judge can’t send you to jail – so you don’t have the right to a court-appointed attorney.
You will have access to a court-appointed attorney if you were charged with a traffic violation that could result in jail time. This includes charges like:
- Driving While Impaired,
- Leaving The Scene Of An Accident,
- And more…
If you’ve been charged with one of these crimes and go to your first appearance, the court will ask you: “Do you have a lawyer? Or do you want us to appoint you an attorney?”
But in your first appearance for a speeding ticket, you’ll be asked no such question. Instead, you’ll have the following options:
- You can plead guilty as charged;
- You can try to negotiate a reduction in your offense with a DA;
- You can ask the court to continue your case for another month or so.
If you ask the court to continue your case, what you’re really asking is for the opportunity to come back later with an attorney or a driving record. This gives you time to prepare before you have to negotiate with the DA.
For more information on Traffic Violations In North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (252) 572-4495 today.