15 Nov Why Would You?
Every time I go to Court, I shake my head in disbelief at what I see. Unfortunately, a lot of my amazement comes from people that are defendants charged with violations ranging from as little as failing to wear a seat belt up to speeding. Well, I am glad they are being responsible and going to court to take care of the situation, BUT….
They do many things that shock me. First of all, they are there without an attorney. Not that any attorney can help them. I do see many attorneys making mistakes, taking short cuts or just doing what they think they should do because they just do not know the rules. So, my first suggestion is to hire an attorney. The second would be to use one that gets results working for you, not themselves, and one that feels morally obligated to do the best for you.
Next, I see defendants walk in and ask anyone for help. I can understand that they think asking a clerk or cashier may be smart. Then there are those that ask the security guards or court officers for advice. Many times, they are asking the prosecutor which is the person who works for the municipality to prosecute the charges against the motorist. They may be nice, but they certainly are your opposition. Often the question asked is so limited or pointed, that the answer given is not complete. That is because the answer should be “depends.” Often, the only true way to answer it would be to ask a series of questions in return. The clerks and cashiers do not usually have the knowledge or the time to give the appropriate advice. Don’t go to a court unprepared. Hire an attorney that is prepared and have peace of mind in knowing he is doing his best for you.
Recently, a young driver was charged with doing 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. That is not a misprint. It is 50 over the limit. He decided to go to court without representation. Well, this charge is for 11 points and the judge (or later DMV) could have pulled his license and even put him in jail. Lucky for him though, he made a deal with the prosecutor that he thought was great. It would be an an 8 point speed, a $350 fine and a DMV Assessment of $450.00. Of course his insurance would go up dramatically and he would be 3 points away from a possible loss of a license and other bad consequences. As luck would have it, the hearing officer would not let this plea bargain take place. He yelled at the defendant (so much for innocent until proven guilty) and scheduled a trial in a month. That’s when a bell went off in his head and he decided to find a good lawyer with experience in the field.
That is where I came in. He was recommended to me by a prior client. In fact the day he called, I was working on this prior client’s second case. I met with the new client and his parents. We discussed the history of the matter. How the ticket was issued and what happened in court, etc… Then I informed him of the law, what he is up against, the ramifications, the possibilities and my planned approach.
Then I went to court three times. the first time, just to research and feel out the prosecutor. The next time to speak with the Judge that made my client worry and a third time on the trial date. In the end, after much posturing it was resolved without a trial. I worked out a deal which was much better than the client could have hoped for. he came in thinking he would lose his license on 11 points and all the other problems. Instead, he agreed to a 3 point violation, saving his license, 8 points, at least $750.00 in fines and assessments and thousands more on insurance.
I am sure you get the point. If you have any questions, do not wait until it is too late. Please call me or email me. I would love to help you.
Jamie Raizin, Esq.