Some traffic violations seem like such small matters that bringing an attorney with you to traffic court does not feel worth it. Whether you believe legal representation is appropriate for a traffic offense is up to you. However, no matter your decision, you should know that you have the right to have an attorney present to handle any charge of violating North Carolina traffic law.
The North Carolina Judicial Branch affirms that North Carolina citizens reserve the right to hire legal counsel to assist with handling traffic violations. While legal representation is not required, if you are facing traffic charges, you can hire an attorney for multiple purposes. These include negotiating with a prosecutor, representing you in a traffic court hearing, and providing you with legal counsel.
Some traffic court proceedings do not even require you to appear in the courtroom. Instead, an attorney may appear on your behalf. This can be helpful if you cannot easily travel from your home or find it too burdensome to meet a court date. Letting an attorney appear for you can also help close out a minor traffic case that does not require a lot of attention from you.
The right to legal counsel becomes more imperative if the traffic violation is serious and could result in fines that exceed $500 and time in jail. People who choose to forego hiring an attorney may represent themselves in a trial, but if so, they have to follow the rules concerning evidence and legal procedure the professional attorneys observe. To make matters more difficult, court officials cannot provide counsel on how to handle the case or what the outcome of the case is likely to be.
Traffic cases can involve deferral programs that allow a person to have charges reduced or dismissed. Some people also request a “prayer for judgment continued” that can dispose of the charge while only requiring court costs to be paid. A professional traffic attorney can assist in exploring these options and determining which ones may be applied to your case.
This article is written to provide information on the topic of traffic violations. Do not interpret as actionable legal counsel.