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Traffic Tickets

Do I Need an MN Attorney for a Traffic Ticket?

While they may seem like something you can ignore, traffic tickets can have serious consequences. Not only can the ticket affect your insurance and driving record, but they can affect your income if you have a commercial driver’s license.

So, if you’ve gotten a traffic ticket in Minnesota, I would suggest consulting with an traffic ticket attorney especially if it could put your job at risk. Let’s talk about what to do if you’ve been pulled over and the benefits of hiring an lawyer for a traffic ticket.

What Do I Do If I’m Pulled Over for a Traffic Violation?

First, it’s important to understand what you should do if you’re being pulled over. It’s natural to feel a state of panic when you see those flashing lights behind you. Once you’ve been pulled over, it’s imperative that you do not admit any fault.

There are plentiful non-criminal, petty misdemeanor traffic violations. If charged, a speeding ticket attorney can help you get the best result. Let’s look at a common example: a speeding ticket.

If you’re speeding, law enforcement will almost always ask you how fast you were going. The majority of people will think that if they’re honest or tell them a reduced amount that they’ll cut you a break. Keep in mind that they may not have you on radar.

Officers will do this to you because you admitting any fault will almost always be considered proof beyond a reasonable doubt of your violation. Your chances at trial often affect the deal that can be reached in negotiations.

Some people plead the fifth amendment right which is against self-incrimination. If you’ve seen videos of people doing this, you should know that this rarely goes well. Law enforcement isn’t going to cut you any breaks.

We aren’t always looking at the speedometer, right? When you’re being asked about speed, not everyone is going to remember what it was at the exact moment before they were pulled over. Here’s what I would do. I would politely tell law enforcement that I’m unsure of how fast I was going. They may be frustrated, but don’t get into roadside litigation. That’s what courts are for. Leave that to your Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Greater Minnesota speeding ticket lawyer.

The lesson here is that you should not be rude and never admit anything until you can talk to a speeding ticket attorney.

Is a Traffic Violation a Crime?

Generally speaking, no a traffic violation isn’t a crime. Typically, they are petty misdemeanors which aren’t considered part of a criminal record. In a petty misdemeanor in MN, the maximum penalty is a $300 fine, and jail is not on the table. Most of my job as a traffic or speeding ticket lawyer is to fight against the violation landing on your driving record, or work to have the violation significantly reduced.

Small reductions can sometimes lead to major results. For example, under Minnesota Statute 169.14, if you are ticketed for extreme speed (over 100 MPH regardless of the speed limit on the road), the Department of Public Safety will revoke your license for six months. It’s imperative you hire a traffic ticket attorney. Even if the attorney can convince the prosecutor to reduce the speed to 99 MPH, you will avoid the license revocation. 

What Rights Do I Have?

When dealing with a traffic violation, you have a right to a trial but not a jury. Traffic court trials are quick and rarely last longer than an hour. It’s important to have someone familiar with the process to help you. I’ve been there, and I’ve won.

It may seem easy to just show up to court and pay the ticket, but I’m telling you that if you hire a traffic and speeding ticket attorney you may be able to get out of it.

What Does the Anti-Masking Statute Mean for Commercial Drivers?

If you have a commercial license and drive for work, traffic violations can become tricky. Commercial drivers will often face a prosecutor who won’t amend the charge. While there can be some dispute, the prosecutor is right because of a statute that forbids it. Minnesota Statute 176.163 states,

“An agency, court, or public official in Minnesota shall not mask, defer imposition of judgment for, or allow an individual to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a conviction for a violation of a state or local traffic control law, except a parking violation, from appearing on the driving record of a holder of a commercial driver’s license, when the violation is committed in any type of motor vehicle, or on the driving record of an individual who committed the violation in a commercial motor vehicle.”

This is also common in DWI’s that could usually be pled down, but not in a commercial driving case.

The bottom line is that these cases need to be resolved in a unique way. Prosecutors can be fined if they are audited and it appears they’ve amended certain cases. I’ve spoken to one who was audited, and no prosecutor is going to risk their contract just to be nice to someone.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Speeding Ticket?

You may be wondering if an MN attorney is worth the cost for a speeding ticket. Usually attorneys won’t charge as much as they usually do for petty misdemeanors. My prices are competitive and I pride myself on being affordable for my clients. In fact, I often save traffic clients money at the resolution, along with years to come since their insurance won’t go up.

What Do Prosecutors Look at When Deciding to Cut a Deal?

If you’re dealing with a traffic violation, the first thing the prosecutor usually looks at is your driving record. If they see you’ve gotten a violation before and were given a break, they may not be willing to do it again. I can set multiple court dates, put a trial on the table and significantly strengthen your chances of getting a deal.

What are Some Common Outcomes?

There are three common outcomes for a traffic violation case:

  • Continuance for dismissal
  • Stay of adjudication
  • Reduction of speed

Learn more about the differences between a stay of adjudication and continuance for dismissal.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for a Traffic Ticket

Overall, there are several benefits to hiring an attorney for a traffic ticket, including:

  • Speeding up the process
  • Ability to communicate with prosecutors effectively
  • Waive your appearance in court
  • Reach agreement months ahead of your court date
  • Keep the petty misdemeanor off of your criminal record and violation off your driving record
  • If there’s a lack of evidence, you’ll need a trial and a lawyer

Final Thoughts

Simply put, it never hurts to consult with an attorney about your traffic violation. It’s not going to cost you as much as if you were dealing with a criminal offense, and the best Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Greater Minnesota traffic ticket attorney can often keep the violation off your driving record. Have a speeding ticket or other traffic violation you need to take care of? Let’s talk.

Shek Law LLC | Minnesota DWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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