How Well Do You Know Criminal Law?How Well Do You Know Criminal Law?

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How Well Do You Know Criminal Law?

Sure, you know what's illegal and what's not. You know how to avoid breaking the law. But do you know the technicalities that can get your case dismissed in court? Do you know what kind of evidence is allowed in your defense and what isn't? Do you know how to effectively cross-examine a witness? If the answer to these questions is no, then you shouldn't be considering defending yourself in court. When a criminal case gets to court, innocence doesn't matter as much as experience with criminal law does. You need an experienced lawyer to help you defend yourself. In this blog, I'll share experiences that can help you understand what is going to happen in court and how to assist in your own defense. But the most important piece of advice I can give you is this: don't go to court without a lawyer.

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3 Things You Likely Don't Know About Speeding Tickets & Other Minor Traffic Violations Tickets

If you drive an automobile, like many adults in the United States do, then you need to understand all of the consequences of getting a ticket for a traffic violation. Whether you have ever gotten a ticket for a minor traffic violation, such as speeding, or not, you likely know that the most obvious consequences of getting these tickets—a disruption in your daily routine and a blow to your wallet in the form of a fine, which can be hefty depending on your specific traffic violation. However, the true consequences of traffic tickets are actually much worse than the obvious ones. 

Read on to learn three things you likely don't know about getting tickets for speeding and other minor traffic violations. 

1. One Ticket Can Cause Your Auto Insurance Rate to Rise

While most people know that being involved in auto accidents and getting caught committing serious crimes behind the wheel, such as getting a DUI charge, can cause their auto insurance rates to skyrocket, few know that getting ticketed for minor traffic violations can also increase their auto insurance rates. While a single reckless driving ticket can cause your auto insurance rate to rise by 22 percent, a ticket for speeding 30 miles more than the posted speed limit can increase your insurance rates by 15 percent. 

Even if you are a relatively careful driver and avoid those two rather extreme traffic violations, a simple ticket for driving just 1 to 11 miles above the speed limit will raise your rate by 11 percent, and a ticket for following another car too closely from behind will raise it by 13 percent. 

Take this as a good reminder that the actual ticket fine is just the beginning of the blow to your wallet a single minor traffic violation can cause. 

2. Just a Few Tickets Can Get Your License Suspended

In all US states, getting enough traffic tickets in a specific period of time can cause you to get your license completely suspended for a designated period of time. Most states designate a certain number of "points" that will be added to your DMV record in a period of time before your license is suspended, while nine states simply count the number of tickets you get in a time period, whether they are minor violations or severe ones, and suspend your license based on that number. 

For example, if you live in California, you can get your license suspended for six months if you accumulate just four points on your license in a one-year time period. Since a single traffic violation can earn you up to three points, this means your license can be suspended if you receive just two traffic tickets in just one year. 

If you have already received a ticket in the last year, then look into your state's point or traffic violation number system to see if you are getting close to having your license suspended and, if so, take care to obey all traffic laws in the future. 

3. The National Motorists Association Advises All Drivers to Fight Traffic Tickets in Court

Less than five percent of all motorists given tickets for minor traffic violations fight them in court, but the National Motorists Association would like that number to rise. The reason so few try to fight the tickets may be due to most drivers not understanding the true consequences, as mentioned above, of getting a single traffic ticket. 

Next time you get a traffic ticket, be sure to hire a traffic lawyer who understands how the traffic court system works in your state to give you the best chance of winning your battle. In some states, the police officer who issues a traffic ticket is required to show up to the court hearing when you fight it and, if they don't show up, you automatically win. Considering how busy police officers are today, this gives you a great chance of winning if you live in one of these states. 

Other states tend to at least negotiate with you and reduce your fine and/or the number of points added to your license if you show up in court to contest a ticket. However, your traffic lawyer will increase your chances of you leaving the court room with no fine and no points on your license. 

If you drive an automobile, then you need to know the true consequences of getting a ticket for a minor traffic violation. They are numerous, so next time you get a ticket, hire a traffic lawyer and fight it in court. You likely have a better chance of winning your case than you suspect.