Why do you handle traffic tickets?

It’s not rocket science, and it’s not really what I went to law school, but I like handling traffic tickets.  I save people a lot of money and that makes me happy.

I’m a former Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, but I started my private practice in 2009 after about ten years as a prosecutor.  While I didn’t start my practice to handle traffic tickets, and I focus my practice on Criminal Defense in State and Federal Courts, I noticed that there was a demand for lawyers that can efficiently and effectively handle traffic tickets.  This demand was created by a number of factors:

  • Increased penalties, fines and surcharges imposed for traffic tickets;
  • Increased reciprocity between states and provinces for moving violations;
  • Increased scrutiny by auto insurance carriers.

The real cost of a traffic ticket isn’t just the fine and surcharge the Court will impose, but that doesn’t mean the fines are cheap.  A first time speed can cost you $393 dollars in fines and surcharges.

The real cost of any ticket is from the points that are posted on your driving record.  Because New York shares records of moving violations with 38 other states and Ontario and Quebec, those points will follow you anywhere.

I’ve always known that a traffic ticket can cost a lot more money than most people realize.  My father owns an Insurance agency, and when I got my license he made sure to repeatedly tell me how much a speeding ticket can screw up your insurance.  At the time, I wasn’t paying my insurance, he was, so it was obviously something he wanted to emphasize through repetition.  He was right, industry analysts estimate that a single ticket can increase a policyholder’s premiums by as much as 22%.

New York State doesn’t make it easy for speedy drivers.  The State imposes a $300 responsibility assessment against any driver that gets 6 or more points on their license.  So if you’re keeping track at home, that’s a total cost of $693 before you even get your next insurance bill.  Let’s assume your current premium is $1000.  A 22% increase in your premium would be $220.00, and because those points will be on your license for 18 months to three years, that could cost as much as $660.00.

So the total cost? Over $1200.

Most of my clients see their speeding tickets reduced to a violation that carries no points and a maximum fine of $175.  Let’s say I charge them $300.  That means the total cost of handling their ticket was $475.00.  That means I save people as much as $725.

But when I started doing more of these, I learned the procedures and policies of many of the Courts across the region.  That experience helped me cut down the amount of time it takes to handle them.  I also dedicated a lot of time any money to learning how to use various technologies to make things go more smoothly.  Today, I use a custom application to manage my caseload, which improves efficiency and eliminates common errors.  That’s allowed me to reduce my fees, and I’m proud to say that clients have told me that my flat fee for traffic tickets is about half as much as other attorneys in the area.

So, no I didn’t go to law school to handle traffic tickets, but I don’t mind saving people a lot of money.  It tends to make for a fun work environment.