A traffic ticket lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in traffic law. In Ontario and Alberta, that means knowing the ins and outs of the Highway Safety Act of Ontario and The Traffic Safety Act of Alberta and other Acts that are associated with driving.
This article will teach you what traffic ticket lawyers do, how they do it, and if they’re worth your money.
There are over 1,000 violations on the books and that’s not even counting the parking tickets. And if you commute from out of province, you’ll have hundreds or more laws to worry about.
Not everybody needs a lawyer. But, unless you have the spare time to read through the thousands of sections in the traffic laws, you’ll want to get one. They bring a level of expertise to the table that will help when you are fighting your traffic ticket.
What Should You Look for When Hiring a Traffic Lawyer?
Knowing what to look for when hiring a traffic lawyer in Ontario and Alberta can make the difference between a thousand-dollar fine and a dismissal.
A dismissal is when the court dismisses your ticket and lets you off scot free. That’s the best possible outcome of your case.
Good Educational Background
You’ve probably seen a scene in TV or a movie wherein one lawyer shames another for having a less prestigious degree. A great example of this is a scene in Better Call Saul, where Jimmy’s brother mercilessly ridicules him for having a law degree from the University of American Samoa instead of a “real” law school.
While it might seem like Hollywood drama, this is quite common in the real world—and for good reason. Which law school a lawyer went to typically shows you how skilled that lawyer will be.
The main disadvantage of this research is that there are many law schools in Canada alone. That means it can be pretty hard to recognize your lawyer’s school. In the likely case that you don’t, just move on to the next research point: Checking their experience in traffic court.
Experienced in Traffic Court
The more legal experience you have, the more likely you are to win a case. If you can see how many cases a lawyer has successfully litigated, you can get a good picture of their experience.
One way to find this out is to look at their reviews. Very few people ever actually leave reviews, so a lawyer will most likely have worked many more cases than the number of reviews they have. So, the more reviews they have, the more cases they’ve worked. But that’s just a general rule of thumb.
Once you know that you’ve found a well-educated, highly experienced lawyer, you’ll want to check out their specialties.
Knowledgeable in Your Particular Offense
The law is a massive and diverse field of practice. No one person, not even a lawyer, could study all of the hundreds of thousands of pages of laws and regulations. So, in terms of the law, smaller is better.
The more specialized a lawyer is, the more they’re likely to know about your specific violation. Traffic lawyers know more about traffic laws than most other lawyers and civil traffic lawyers know even more about traffic tickets than criminal traffic attorneys.
The idea that all traffic attorneys are the same is a myth.
When looking to hire a lawyer, check out their specializations. Many lawyers make these readily accessible, often putting them on the front page of their websites and advertisements. If you’re ever in doubt, you can reach out directly through the WinIt app and ask for yourself.
The next step is making sure that the lawyer you’ve chosen specializes in that violation in your area specifically.
Familiar with the Area
The law works kind of like a tiered cake. There are some on top, some more in the middle, and even more on the bottom. Although the number of laws and regulations in each layer isn’t quite that simple, this analogy can be helpful when trying to figure out how local laws work.
At the top of the tier is federal law. The middle level is provincial law. The bottom level is local law. In many cases, politicians write provincial and federal laws with the intention of not overriding local laws. That means the law in your county might be significantly different from the county just down the road.
In other words, a local traffic ticket lawyer can often be better than an equal lawyer in another county. That’s because they’re familiar with the area. This familiarity often manifests itself in the form of friendly connections with judges and prosecutors, skill at navigating procedure and protocol, and other benefits.
Is It Worth It to Hire a Lawyer for a Traffic Ticket?
To answer this question, you’ll need to look at both the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a lawyer. Keep in mind that not every lawyer is the same, so these points won’t always apply. It can be helpful to think about these advantages and disadvantages as a general rule of thumb rather than a hard and fast rule.
First, attorneys have a greater knowledge of the law than most non-attorneys do. What takes them only a few minutes to look up might take you hours of research. And you might still get the answer wrong, since the Highway Safety Act of Ontario and The Traffic Safety Act of Alberta are full of complicated laws.
Second, traffic ticket lawyers have far greater legal experience than most non-attorneys do. They even tend to have more legal experience in traffic court than most other attorneys, as well. This experience, combined with their great knowledge of traffic law, enables them to provide you with significantly higher chances of successfully winning your case.
Third, traffic law attorneys can have great pre-existing relationships with courthouse staff, like judges and prosecutors. One of the most valuable assets a lawyer has is their ability to build rapport. Many lawyers use that ability to create meaningful relationships with judges and prosecutors, which helps to get a more favorable result in your traffic ticket dispute.
The main disadvantage of hiring a lawyer is that they can cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, most reputable lawyers will only charge you 50% of the price of the ticket when they win. In order to find out how much you could save on your traffic ticket, divide the fine by two (Fine ÷ 2).
For example, if you have a $1,275 fine for an egregious speeding violation, you’d likely also have to pay another roughly $2,000 in things like insurance increases. That amounts to roughly $3,275. If your lawyer is successful, you might only have to pay $637.50, an estimated savings of more than $2,500.
The downside is that you’ll still have to pay a hefty sum. And, if you lose, your lawyer will not be able to give you a refund. That means, instead of saving $2,500, you could end up paying $637.50 more than what you originally would have had to.
The question you have to ask yourself is, “Can I afford to take the risk?” Many lawyers have phenomenal success rates, but there’s always the chance—no matter how small—that you could end up increasing your cost.
On the bright side, WinIt is not a lawyer but an app that helps you find lawyers. That means we can offer a no-risk guarantee for parking tickets, so you won’t have to pay if we don’t win.
How Do Traffic Lawyers Take Care of Tickets?
Traffic ticket lawyers have a host of ways in which they can handle tickets. Traffic and parking tickets are slightly different, but many of the same legal practices still apply.
Traffic law attorneys know their own local courts better than anybody and mold their practices to that court’s procedures and its judges’ preferences. Because of the sheer number of local courts, it would be impossible to outline every local court’s best practices.
Instead, here are three of the most common practices in a general traffic court: extending court dates, cross examination, and evidence analysis.
Extending Court Dates
You have only 15 days to pay a traffic ticket. 15 days is only a blink of an eye in a legal setting. Finding and examining all of the relevant evidence within 15 days can be a serious challenge, even for expert attorneys.
Cross examination is the practice of questioning the prosecution’s witnesses. In traffic court, that’s typically the police officer who wrote the ticket.
Your attorney will ask the police officer a series of questions about the evidence, the police officer’s career, and other relevant information. They do so in order to show that the officer has not met the burden of proof against you. In other words, your lawyer cross-examines the police officer to show the judge that there’s no legal reason to uphold the ticket.
This practice also helps your lawyer gain valuable insights into your case that they can then use to create further arguments. A good example of this is in closing arguments, the bit your lawyer says to the judge at the end of the hearing.
Every good lawyer knows how to examine the evidence. Research skills are one of the most important assets a lawyer can have. Without the ability to research the law and examine the evidence, there’s virtually no way to disprove the police officer’s reason for writing you the ticket.
By analyzing the evidence, your lawyer can piece together a legal argument in your favor, helping you to win your case. Of course, there’s not always enough evidence to support dismissal. In those cases, what evidence you do have might still help you bargain for a plea in some local courts.
How Much Is a Traffic Lawyer?
Traffic lawyers for minor offences are some of the most affordable. They only charge about $150-500 to fight your case. However, do note that the more complex the case is the higher the charge is, so don’t get surprised if your fine is wildly above our estimates.
Unfortunately, traffic ticket lawyers cannot provide refunds. That means you might end up paying for a lawyer who doesn’t get you a favorable result in your case. On the bright side, hiring a lawyer is the best way to win your case. So this non-refundable fee is not really something that too many people have to worry about.
Is a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Right For Me?
The answer to this question isn’t found in the back of the book. Traffic Tickets differ from person to person. In addition to taking into account your circumstances, you may very well be fine by just paying the fines and be over with. However, to people with particularly serious violations or large amounts of tickets, the matter is more complex and can cost a hefty fine. In such situations, it is best to hire a professional traffic ticket lawyer. When you search for a lawyer, there are a multitude of options to choose from. Nevertheless, you should only choose a lawyer based on their experience, record and professional background.
Thankfully, AG Group Enterprise Ltd, is here to help! Our mission at AG Group is to provide a wide range of traffic legal and paralegal services, including speeding tickets, careless driving charges, distracted driving charges, stunt driving charges and more!
With AG group’s traffic ticket services, you can protect your right to drive as well as pay substantially less fees saving your finances. Book a free consultation today to chat about your unique situation with one of our traffic ticket team members.