Hiring an attorney Tips and Considerations
Do I need a traffic ticket attorney?
The answer to this question is a combination of factors including the severity of your traffic law problem, how complicated the matter is, where (which court or county) the case is set to be heard, the cost of the attorney and your personal philosophy and/or propensity for handling matters like this on your own. If you aren’t sure whether you need an attorney, then start the process of finding an attorney and let the analysis concerning your need for an attorney be the first thing you discuss during your consultation.
How can I find traffic ticket attorneys to consult with?
It shouldn’t be too hard to find an attorney to consult with. Sources include:
- The Internet. Searches for relevant terms will bring you to attorney websites and directories like TicketHELP.com. Read profiles and web pages and get a feel for who the attorney or firm is.
- Traditional advertisements. Perhaps you’ve heard radio ads or seen billboards. Maybe you still use the Yellow Pages or have read something in a newspaper ad. All are potential sources of attorneys to consult with.
- Direct mailings. In some states, you may get letters directly from attorneys after you’ve been issued a ticket. These are probably attorneys with a focus on traffic tickets and in some cases may be worth a further look.
- Referrals. Traffic tickets are not a unique legal issue. Friends, co-workers…just about anyone may have had a good (or bad) experience with a traffic ticket lawyer. Ask around or post something on Facebook or other social media websites. You may be surprised how many people have a recommendation for you.
Ultimately, you will have one or more names of attorneys to contact and consult with.
What should I ask during my consultation?
Before focusing on specific questions, it’s worth noting two considerations:
- Be prepared. Attorneys are busy and can only dedicate so much time in a day to free consultations. The attorney will know the answers and it’s your job to be as prepared with the questions as possible.
- Pay attention to preliminaries. Did a person answer the phone? Did they sound professional? Were they friendly? If you did leave a message or send an email originally were you contacted quickly? There may be some good or bad signs even before the consultation starts that are worth noting when making your final decision.
Some questions to consider asking once the consultation starts:
- What is your experience with matters similar to mine?
- Have you had experience in my county/court?
- How have cases like mine typically been resolved?
- Do I need to go to attend court?
- How will the case proceed? Do you need me to do or get anything in particular?
- How much will this cost and are fees flat or hourly or contingent on results?
- Do you have an Engagement Letter or other introductory paperwork?
- Should I expect updates during my case?
- How long can I expect the case to last?
How should I make my final decision?
Ultimately you’ll need to balance everything you’ve seen and heard with respect to the individual attorney. No one can say there is one controlling factor. You may have a good recommendation from a friend but that attorney may be the most expensive. Perhaps there is another attorney with a long successful history in your court but his office staff wasn’t very friendly and it took him a while to return your initial email request for a consultation. You’ll simply need to consider all the various factors and make a decision. Sometimes it just might be a gut decision. The one thing you shouldn’t do is let difficulty choosing from multiple qualified attorneys lead you to simply pay or ignore the traffic ticket. Such indecision is the worst decision of all.