When it comes to traffic ticket fines and penalties, some tickets are clearly deserved. Others can be a bit more in a gray area, or just plain wrong. When people believe that they should not have to pay a traffic ticket, they have the option to contest the ticket in court. This does not require a lawyer, but an attorney’s assistance can be invaluable in producing a more favorable outcome. Many people go to the Internet as their first line of defense. This can be a great way to look for help with a traffic ticket, but it is also rife with people who want to take advantage of you.
Before entrusting the future of your driving record to someone, it is important to understand their experience. The qualifications to run a “ticket service” are few, but a traffic ticket attorney has to go through the same rigorous qualification process that any attorney has to go through.
Let’s start by explaining the difference.
What is a law firm?
- A law firm employs licensed, legally-recognized attorneys who are members of the California Bar Association.
- It creates a legal strategy that will be used to argue that the ticket should not be paid or dismissed.
- These firms file all the paperwork associated with any case the firm is representing in the court of law.
- They represent clients in in-person court sessions
What is a ticket service?
- A ticket service does not usually employ attorneys.
- It does not work on the basis of a case specific strategy to argue the validity of the ticket.
- A ticket service does not represent clients in in-person court sessions
- They provides assistance with filing paperwork associated with any case the firm is representing in the court of law.
California law allows most traffic tickets to be contested in writing. A ticket service is a professional filing organization that helps drivers put together their case in writing and then files it for them with the appropriate court system. They do not provide legal advice or represent clients in court.
How to Know The Difference
In a criminal case, lawyers meet frequently with their clients and represent them in person. However, traffic ticket cases are sometimes handled by attorneys that do not even live in the immediate area. An attorney who handles tickets all across the state of California, for example, will not be meeting with all of his or her clients in person.
Because of the lack of personal contact, it is important to do your homework and make sure you are getting what you wanted. When you are searching for a law firm, you don’t want to accidentally wind up with a ticket service that doesn’t do everything you need. Luckily, there are several ways to determine whether an agency is a law firm or a ticket service.
When you contact an agency, start by asking these questions:
- Will an attorney personally review my case? – Ticket services do not usually employ attorneys. However, unscrupulous agencies might lie and say that an attorney will be reviewing your case. This is why it is important to ask the other two questions as well.
- What is that attorney’s full name? – A law firm should tell you that an attorney will be reviewing your case; that he or she is a member of the state bar association, and they should be happy to provide you with a name to look up. Look for that attorney’s name in the State Bar of California website to make sure they are licensed and that they focus on Traffic tickets.
- Is he or she a member of the state bar association? – Membership in the state bar association is public information. Once you have the name of the attorney who will allegedly be reviewing your case, you can look him or her up online and make sure that the information is correct. Not all attorneys who work in traffic law are certified specialists, but the California State Bar Association website does allow those who are certified to list their specialties.
If you are not satisfied with the answer to any of your questions, move on to another firm. There are plenty of firms that will be happy to answer these easy questions in order to gain your business. You’ll be paying a good amount of money to fight your ticket and it is therefore imperative that the attorney or firm is genuine and will serve all your interests.