More and more motorists are retaining a New York traffic ticket lawyer when they are issued a NY traffic ticket. In addition to receiving professional advice from a knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney, drivers are anxious to transfer this stressful and time-consuming responsibility to someone else.
The first thing that you should do is make sure you are calling or emailing an actual New York traffic ticket attorney or New York traffic law firm. While this sounds obvious, the internet is replete with non-lawyers trying to make a quick buck. The most obvious tell-tale sign is when the site or the site's ad states something like "If We Don't Win, You Don't Pay 100%" or "Guaranteed or your money back". It is entirely unethical for an attorney to guarantee results and, therefore, you should stay clear from such quick buck artists. No honest, self-respecting attorney would ever make such a representation. In fact, common sense dictates that no one can guarantee what some third party (a judge or prosecutor) will do. If you are lucky, the fine print will explain what is actually being "guaranteed". Either way, however, is caveat emptor - buyer beware - for those fooled by such promises.
Similarly, I recommend avoiding any web site that lists itself as a directory of traffic lawyers or offers to find you the "right" lawyer. Those sites are simply middlemen often looking to add something to your fee for generating a lead to a real traffic lawyer. From the outset until the end of the case, you want to be dealing directly with a law firm (not some middleman) especially if a question or problem arises.
If you have any doubt, check the physical location of the "firm". If they do not have a New York State address (or do not even list an address), there is a good chance that you are not dealing with an actual lawyer or law firm. A New York traffic lawyer is required to list his office address on all advertising which includes his or her web site.
On this point, make sure the lawyer's office is "real". This means there is a staff member of the lawyer available during regular business to answer questions and arrange for an attorney to get back to you, if needed. Do not mistake an answering service operator for an actual law firm employee. If the "representative" cannot answer basic questions and tells you that someone will get back to you, then you are likely dealing with an outside answering service. An attorney who does not maintain a "real" office cannot be as responsive to your needs and, therefore, is not recommended.
Yet another consideration is how promptly does the lawyer or his firm got back to you once you have made your initial inquiry. The faster the response, the more likely you are speaking to an attorney or firm who is organized, and will be diligent and thorough in handling your case.
Once you have eliminated the middlemen, directory sites, non-lawyers and the lawyers without real offices, the next step is to find an attorney who is experienced in vehicle and traffic law matters. Start by asking the attorney or the firm's paralegal about the firm's traffic law experience and, in particular, their previous experience at the court where you case is scheduled. Have they appeared in this court before? What was the result? Is this the primary type of law which they handle? Of course, you may not get honest or direct answers but that is a good start.
You then can ask about any articles the lawyer has written on that subject and ask to see one of them. Chances are an attorney who has taken the time to write one or more vehicle and traffic law articles is someone who you can rely on to be experienced and knowledgeable.
Yet another important item to check is the attorney's background. Did he or she graduate from a quality law school, were they on Law Review, have they won any awards, did they previously work at a court and/or large law firm. Were they formerly a traffic judge or traffic prosecutor? The more impressive the attorney's background the better.
Be wary of an attorney who does not set forth his or her education and prior experience. It is safe to assume that in such cases the attorney's background is less than impressive.
Another important consideration is the comfort level you get when speaking with the law firm. Were they responsive to questions? Were you given understandable and sensible answers? Were they knowledgeable? Were they honest with you about the prospects for success? Were they patient? If you do not feel comfortable, then its time to make another telephone call.
A good and honest traffic ticket lawyer will inquire whether it even makes sense for you to fight this ticket and/or hire a traffic lawyer. For example, if the ticket carries no points or you have an out-of-state license and points do not transfer, it usually does not make sense to hire a New York traffic ticket attorney.
The final consideration is price. I have ended with this important item because many prospective clients put way too much emphasis on this consideration and ignore all the others mentioned in this article. Nevertheless, you should look for an attorney that will take your case for a flat fee. This way there is no surprises for you when the case is over. Many New York traffic ticket lawyer will offer a flat fee so you do not have to settle for someone who charges by the hour or cannot give you a fee upfront.
Also, just because one attorney is a $100 (or so) cheaper does not mean you should select that one. Your driver license is an important privilege and you do not want to hand this responsibility to just anyway, especially when you likely will not be in court when the case is resolved.
I would say you generally do not want the cheapest lawyer to handle your case nor the most expensive. Look for someone whose fee is reasonable. Otherwise, the old adage "You get what you pay for" may rear its ugly head.
Choosing the right New York traffic ticket lawyer is an important decision. I hope this article is helpful in making it.