We all make mistakes in every area of our daily lives, and driving is no different. Very few people who drive on a regular basis never experience getting pulled over for a traffic violation.
The issue here is not whether your child did or didn't violate a law. It is about protecting his or her future from far-reaching consequences that greatly outweigh the seriousness of making a mistake while driving.
There is nothing illegal or unethical about fighting a traffic ticket, but many people simply do not recognize that it is possible. In the long run, your child is always better off fighting a ticket. Here in New York, tickets mean points on a driving record, which can lead to severe increases in insurance premiums. In some cases, having some small violation on a driving record can have an affect on a later case, if your child faces a more serious driving-related charge.
Also, it is important to note that if they maintain a clean record, it is usually possible to keep it that way. Essentially, the cleaner your child can keep his or her record, the better.
It is always best to consult with an experienced attorney before you take any other action - especially paying the ticket. If you pay the ticket, that usually equals an admission of guilt in the eyes of the court.
How can an attorney help them fight a traffic ticket?
The first thing that a knowledgeable attorney will do is make sure that you and your teenager understand exactly what law or laws the ticket says they violated. The truth of the matter is that many police officers who issue tickets don't actually have an ironclad grasp on the very laws that they are enforcing.
This is not to say that they are not knowledgeable, but rather that they may not fully understand some of the finer points of the law that may give your teenager some room to negotiate. In many cases, police assume that laws are much more concrete than they actually are, and an experienced attorney can make the most of even small flexibilities.
An attorney can also help you identify whether or not your ticket contains any errors, however minute, that may invalidate it. If the officer who issued the ticket did not prepare it properly, it may be possible to have a judge throw the ticket out.
Often, a judge will be willing to reduce a sentence simply because your teenager bothers to obtain representation and appear in court. Furthermore, there is a high probability that the officer who issued the ticket will not appear at the court date, and this will usually result in the ticket's dismissal.
An attorney can also help you find ways to reduce the severity of the charges or the sentencing, even if the ticket is not dismissed. For instance, you may be able to attend traffic school to keep points off your record, under certain circumstances.
Establish a relationship with an attorney before you need it
Your teenager deserves to have the best opportunities and fewest setbacks, even if he or she makes a driving error. The best way to prepare for this possibility is to reach out to an attorney before you need one. Any reputable attorney will be glad to meet with you and establish a relationship free of charge.
With the guidance of an experienced, empathetic attorney, you can rest assured that your teenager's future is in good hands, and that his or her rights will remain protected.