If you’re rolling through the Outer Banks on Highway 12, Highway 158, or Highway 64, you probably saw a few cops. If you’re coming to or from the OBX through Currituck, chances are you were clocked by a few troopers. If you’re stopped and issued a ticket, what do you do?
Sometimes when you’re pulled over in the OBX and given a traffic ticket, the officer who wrote the ticket can make it seem like no big deal. They might tell you that you can simply pay the speeding ticket off by mail or that you can go into court and represent yourself without hiring a lawyer. Some officers even go so far to say that they’ll do their best to help you out in court. What they don’t tell you, is that a moving violation can be a very big deal. It is important to consider hiring an experienced speeding ticket lawyer before paying off a ticket or attempting to represent yourself in court. At Donahue Defense, we handle traffic tickets in Dare County (Outer Banks), Currituck County and surrounding areas.
I Got an OBX Traffic Ticket, Now What?
Option 1 (probably the worst) – If you’re dealing with a typical speeding case, you can accept guilt and pay off the ticket online or by mail. This might seem like a good idea, especially if you’re not from the OBX or Currituck area. As many attorney mailers/solicitations warn, paying a ticket off or appearing and pleading guilty may very well affect your insurance premiums for a few years and possibly your driver license status. Take a minute to click here to learn more about insurance increases. Also, the NC Department of Motor Vehicles often takes action on a person’s driver license despite what the court does in a given matter. Two tickets in a year often render your license suspended. Although this might be your first, no one can predict whether you receive another within 12 months. Your speed alone is often enough to cause a suspension through DMV. In other words, how you will be affected by a speeding ticket depends on variables that you might not have considered before taking the path of least resistance and paying the speeding ticket off. Did you know the following convictions will cause you to lose your license for at least 30 days?
- Driving any vehicle more than 15 mph over the speed limit while driving at a speed greater than 55 mph.
- Driving at a speed greater than 80 mph.
A license will be revoked for 60 days if an individual is convicted of:
- Two speeding charges within one year.
- Speeding plus reckless driving on the same occasion.
Option 2 – Another option is to represent yourself. If your speed is too high or you have been cited with something other than speeding, the ticket might indicate that a “mandatory appearance” is required. You can either appear or have a lawyer handle the case for you. If you appear alone, perhaps your traffic ticket can be resolved through a plea deal with the prosecuting attorney before the judge enters the courtroom or the court actually begins. The downside to representing yourself is that after waiting in a long line all morning or well into the afternoon, you might accept a plea deal without understanding what you are agreeing to or how it will affect you in the long term. Because the prosecutor has an ethical duty not to advise the public about their charges, there is a good chance you will end up at the front of the courtroom facing a take-it-or-leave-it situation without knowledge of the ultimate effects that the decision has on you. Remember, the prosecutor’s job is to get a conviction, not help you with your license and insurance premiums. If you don’t like or accept what the prosecutor offers, your last resort is to go to trial. It will be you against the officer who wrote the ticket and as you might imagine, when it comes to your word against that of a law enforcement officer in a court of law, it can be an uphill battle. That’s not to say it cannot be done, but it takes some skill and preparation.
Option 3 – The last and often best option is to hire a local board certified Outer banks criminal lawyer to represent you in the speeding ticket case. There are a few reasons why this is so. First, you generally don’t have to show up on your court date – even on many of the “mandatory appearance” speeding ticket cases. Many people are not from the area and don’t want to return for court. This saves you from having to take off from work and saves you on travel costs if the courthouse is out of the way for you. Very often attorneys who focus their practice on traffic matters in the Outer Banks area have reasonable flat fees that can actually end up saving you money in the long run. Secondly, when you have a licensed lawyer appearing on your behalf, you have someone on your side who not only knows the law but also the impact it will have on you and your driver’s license. There are sometimes things that lawyers recommend their clients to do before the court date that can help their traffic ticket case immensely. Finally, having an attorney helps take all of the anxiety and waiting out of the process. Although you have to pay a fee for this peace of mind, it is often well worth it.
I Got All of These Letters, How Do I Know Who to Hire for My Speeding Ticket?
I know from talking to thousands of clients over the years that people despise the handful of letters that are busting the seams of their mailbox after getting a ticket. That is one of the many reasons that I don’t send them. Those letters have caused some intense family dinners for some teenage drivers, and maybe some uncomfortable conversations between spouses.
If you don’t hire a “letter lawyer,” then who do you hire? That’s a tough one if you are not from the area. Growing up here in the Albemarle region, I learned that the best lawyers don’t have to send letters to attract good clients, and they certainly don’t have to entice potential clients by claiming discounted or cheap fees. Good lawyers rely mostly on their reputation – and they spend their career protecting that reputation with hard work, good results, and great lawyer-client relationships.
I suggest that if you cannot rely on local knowledge, you go online and read reviews of lawyers in the area. While some lawyers have disingenuous reviews written by friends or colleagues, many good lawyers have reviews from real clients who needed and received help. The reviews usually go back years and reflect whether the lawyer is trustworthy and communicates well with their clients. In the end, you need to hire someone who you can trust to go to court on your behalf, keep you informed, and do their best for you – that’s the essence of the job.
Also, please make sure no matter who you hire, that they focus on criminal law. They don’t have to be a certified specialist, but they shouldn’t be a jack-of-all-trades either. If a lawyer claims excellence in his or her experience, make sure it is experience in criminal court. A lawyer with a few decades under his or her belt might just be celebrating that they made it that long without being disbarred. Call whomever you are considering hiring and ask hard questions about actual trial experience in criminal court. You might find that some of these folks are not what they hold themselves out to be. Don’t be afraid to talk to multiple lawyers, and ask lawyers about other lawyers. A good lawyer will tell you who the other good lawyers are – they are not shy about a little competition.
Think about your options and do what is right for you. If you have an attorney, consider consulting with him or her. If you would like to speak with me about your OBX DWI or speeding ticket case, read below to see if I can help. If so, feel free to call me at (252) 715-5785 or email me at email@example.com. I always try to respond to calls within 24 hours during the business week.
Can Donahue Defense Help? Speeding and Traffic Ticket Lawyer in the Outer Banks and Currituck
If you answer yes to the following three questions, Donahue Defense can likely be of service.
Have you received a traffic ticket in North Carolina? Did you receive one of the following?
- A traffic ticket in Dare County (Outer Banks)
- A traffic ticket in Camden County
- A traffic ticket in Currituck County
- A traffic ticket on Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Federal)
- A traffic ticket in Ocracoke (National Parks Service – Federal)
Are you hoping to avoid going to court and looking to find an Outer Banks traffic and speeding ticket lawyer who will try to have your charge reduced or dismissed?
If yes to all, give us a call at (252) 715-5785 to talk about your case. We’re here and love to help. Thank you for visiting Donahue Defense.
Daniel P. Donahue – Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.