Comedian John Oliver devoted his main story on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” to municipal court violations, like traffic tickets, that can become financially oppressive to motorists.
Using case after case as evidence, he illustrated how harsh fines and fees can end up destroying the lives of people whose only real crime is not so much driving over the speed limit or failing to wear a seat belt, but being poor.
Mr. Oliver noted that the common punishment in many states for a person failing to pay a traffic ticket on time is a driver’s license suspension.
The main issue with this policy, he explained, is that driving is how the majority of Americans get to their jobs.
Consequently, these people—had they been allowed to drive—could have earned the money needed to take care of their traffic tickets!
In many ways Mr. Oliver is 100% correct. Taking away your license prevents you from doing the very thing that would allow you to pay your fine (i.e. earning money).
One of the best ways to fight this counter-productive system is to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to contest your ticket.
In most cases, your driver’s license will not be suspended unless you are convicted of the traffic violation or fail to properly contest the ticket in a timely manner.
Of course, if the offense you were ticketed with is driving on a suspended license, it is abundantly clear that your license has already been suspended––and the help of a lawyer is for sure needed to avoid further problems.
Additionally, the cost of a traffic ticket is usually much higher than you think. Remember, the fine is just the beginning.
If you received a moving violation (e.g. speeding, careless driving, blowing through a stop sign, etc.), your automobile insurance can go up.
In New Jersey, an insurance increase for a standard moving violation can double and sometimes triple your premium, depending on the offense.
That increase—taken together with court costs and fees—usually ends up resulting in out-of-pocket expenses of thousands of dollars. All of which you will have to pay if you plead guilty instead of fighting the ticket.
However, by hiring a traffic lawyer to fight the ticket for you, you are getting the best shot at beating the charge and paying as little money as possible.