One of my main goals on this blog is to educate the public on all things relating to traffic tickets. Part of that goal sometimes requires me to let you in on the "dirty little secrets" being propagated when I learn about them.
Well, I was recently reminded of something that has been going on in this industry for a while and it's time you learned the truth.
When you hire a traffic lawyer, your ultimate goal should be to have your traffic ticket dismissed. There's no shame in that. It's what you're paying for. As a traffic attorney for over 17 years, I am painfully aware that it is my client's and my firm's number one goal.
However, as much as we try, there isn't an attorney in the world who handles traffic tickets that gets them all dismissed. But if you read some of the letters sent by some traffic attorneys to their clients after their case was resolved, you would think some of these attorneys get every case dismissed.
But here's the rub: One attorney's version of a traffic ticket dismissal is another's change of plea. Confused yet? I'm not surprised.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive. (Somewhere my 9th grade english teacher is smiling)
What I have always known, but couldn't verify (until recently) is that some traffic attorneys are changing the plea of their clients in court from "not guilty" to "nolo contendere" (no contest) and receiving court costs in exchange.
In and of itself, that's no big deal, but here's the dirty little secret. Those attorneys are telling their clients they got their traffic ticket dismissed.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!! (somewhere my 6 year old is smiling)
Wow! These attorneys are lying to their clients all in an attempt to garner some goodwill or positive feedback. The troubling part is many clients don't even know they've been lied to. They inform me their prior attorney got their last speeding ticket dismissed and they only had to pay court costs of $200.00
Here it is in plain English folks. If your traffic ticket is dismissed, you do not have to pay anything to the court.
Nada, Zilch, Nothing.
It's like it never happened. There will be no record of it because it was dismissed. In a perfect world, you'd get a letter from the police officer and the clerk's office apologizing for wasting your time.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you pay money to the clerk's office, your traffic ticket was not dismissed. In addition to paying the money to the clerk's office, you also have a mark on your driving record (which you wouldn't have if it was dismissed). This can be troubling if you have done this multiple times as your driving record is not as clean as you think it is.
I'd love to tell you the attorney probably just made a mistake when he notified you of your result, but then I'd be lying too.
If you have a ticket and want an honest assessment of your case and possible outcome, give me a call at 866-374-8355.