March 27, 2013 - By Jeffrey Beltz
Carrollton Ticket Attorneys
What Should Expectations Be?
If you have been cited for a traffic ticket in Carrollton and need the assistance of an attorney to resolve the matter, this article is intended to help you understand what a ticket attorney can and cannot accomplish. If you would like to discuss your Carrollton traffic tickets with a legal professional after reading this article, feel free to contact our office today.
What A Lawyer Can Do
Lets start with the easy question. What is it that a lawyer can do for you in Carrollton Municipal Court once you have been cited for a traffic violation. First, we feel it is the obligation of that lawyer to inform you of the current law related to the traffic violation. Education is a key component that is missing in legal representation today. Everywhere you look attorneys are trying to hide information from their clients. Part of this action by attorneys is due to the fact that they simply don’t have the time to discuss every single traffic ticket with every single client. However, the other part is based on the assumption that was taught to all young lawyers in law school. The only thing you have to sell to the public as an attorney is your time and your knowledge. If you give either of those two things away for free, then you will soon find yourself out of business.
This axiom is only half true in our opinion. An attorney’s time is valuable. This does not come free. However, educating your clients makes better clients. Better clients make the job of the attorney much easier. It is an attorney’s job to educate the client with the good news and the bad. For example, it may come as a surprise to some that hiring an attorney does not guarantee dismissal of your case. We recently handled a traffic ticket for a commercial driver who was alleged to have gone 65mph in a 30mph zone. The client was shocked that we didn’t walk in waving our magic wand and have the case magically disappear. The client neglected to look over the fact that the speeding offense took place directly in front of an elementary school while soccer practice was being conducted. In the client’s mind, they hired a lawyer and the ticket should have gone away. No matter how much we educated the client with regard to the law and court procedures related to offenses of this type he refused to hear the message.
These situations are going to happen in any profession. However, it is your goal not to be this person. Ask questions that give you the true outlook for your case. Ask questions about the law that applies to your case. Ask your lawyer what a reasonable outcome for your factual circumstances could be. As for both best and worst case scenarios. Then, allow your attorney to try to meet or exceed those expectations based on their performance.
Once the client has been educated, it the ball shifts to the attorney’s side of the court to advocate your position. Advocating does not mean screaming at court staff, judges and prosecutors because you are angry about getting the ticket. Advocating is a term of art used to describe the attorney’s ability to press your interest forward in a way that gets the best possible result for your case. The better an attorney is at advocating, the better your case will look to the prosecutor and judge who both play pivotal roles in processing your case. If a case is eligible for dismissal you must have a strong advocate that will be willing stand up and point out why. If a case is solid, then it takes a stronger advocate to ensure that the punishment handed down is mitigated by as much as possible.
Again, not every case will be dismissed. As an advocate for our clients we are able to at least protect the driving record of those clients who have cases that are not dismissed. We are also able to negotiate payment terms that work for each individual within reason. Cases can be reset to get more time to come up with compliance documents. Cases can be reset to come up with fees owed to the court after a plea is negotiated. Advocating is a key element to good representation and it takes on many forms. Make sure you set forth your goals and expectations early in the process with the lawyer regarding your budget, compliance documents, etc. so that the attorney can advocate for you to insure you have the time and money necessary to successfully complete any terms required by Carrollton Municipal Court.
A key part of representing clients that is ignored many attorneys is the idea that every client that hires a you is an opportunity to develop a relationship. Nobody wants to hire a lawyer. We get that. Not every outcome will be a dismissal either. What you want from your attorney is the truth. You also want good communication. This does not mean that the lawyer should be required to babysit the client. It should not be the responsibility of the attorney to tell you what needs to be done, send you e-mails telling you to get it done, call you to tell you to get it done, then get you out of bed in the morning to make sure you get it done. We have had clients hire us and then neglect our phone calls or change address contact information and not tell us. We get calls from them years later to have them say, “why didn’t you tell me?” Our first response is why didn’t you tell us? Good communication is a two way street between you and your lawyer.
However, this does not mean that the attorney should not be able to relay key information to you in way that is agreed upon by both the parties. For the most part, we prefer to communicate key information by e-mail. It is much faster than first class mail and much more efficient than calling each individual client. Every business has a customer satisfaction ratio based on the price paid. What we have found is that e-mail is the most cost effective while still keeping a high customer satisfaction ratio for those who do not ignore the messages. They key here is once you get any message from your lawyer to read it (simple right). If you read it and don’t understand the message, then call your lawyer. If you read it and understand the message, then perform the steps or actions necessary to assist the lawyer to get the best possible result for your case.
If you are able to achieve all of these elements from hiring a lawyer, then you have received excellent service. Does this mean your case was dismissed as a result of hiring a lawyer? Of course not. But you got an honest service for honest pay at this point. If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced ticket lawyer in your area, contact our office today.