If you have been charged with a serious traffic offence, summoned to appear in court and are at potential risk of losing your licence, your job or your livelihood, we encourage you to consider the advantage of choosing an expert traffic lawyer to represent you in court. Using the services of a traffic law expert, compared to a general practice lawyer, can mean the difference between a reduced sentence and going to jail.
Hiring a lawyer could be one of the biggest investments you will make this year. But how do you choose the right traffic lawyer to support, encourage and defend you during this difficult time?
When you hire a lawyer, you are potentially entrusting your licence, your job and your livelihood to someone that you have never met or know very little about. Clever advertising or constant media exposure of a lawyer isn't always the best way to tell if they have the right skills, experience and ability to handle your case.
We have listed a number of suggestions to ultimately help you choose the right traffic lawyer for your case.
We recommend you shop around. Speak to a few lawyers and ask them for advice about your case. If you feel uneasy, scared or uncertain afterwards, you should get a second opinion as soon as possible. A good traffic lawyer should outline all your options and help you feel more at ease with the upcoming legal process.
There should not be a fee for the initial advice. A good traffic lawyer should be able to speak to you over the phone and give you an honest assessment of your case.
Your lawyer should be a good listener. Was the lawyer interested in listening to all you had to say? A good lawyer will always listen to you very carefully to learn about your case. Only then can they give accurate legal advice. You would expect a doctor or a builder to listen to you first before giving health advice or starting works on your building project. A lawyer should be no different and must take time to listen.
Is your lawyer taking detailed notes on what you have explained? It is unrealistic to think a lawyer can recall exactly what a client said weeks or months after their meeting. If they work on many similar cases, how do they know which facts belong to which case? Detailed note taking indicates your lawyer is serious about your case and is planning further preparation based on what they have written down. It could be costly if your lawyer makes mistakes about your case in court.
What preparation will your lawyer do for your court case? Are they:
• Arranging expert witnesses?
• Asking you to obtain references?
• Negotiating with the police to have charges dropped?
• Arranging counselling or driving related courses?
If a lawyer says you will go to jail, get a second opinion immediately. For example, most of the clients at William Archer Defence Lawyers get fines. Unfortunately, some lawyers use scare tactics – be careful.
If your lawyer tells you to drive on a suspended or disqualified licence, then this advice is unethical and irresponsible. Driving whilst disqualified has significant penalties and your lawyer is actually telling you to break the law, along with putting you at further risk of going to jail.
A good lawyer can only advise you whether you should plead guilty or not guilty AFTER they have heard your story. Some lawyers will tell you to plead guilty and "make a fresh start" because it is easier for them. Do not plead guilty unless you have been fully listened to and your lawyer has read the brief of evidence from the police.
If you have several charges pending against you, they are often alternatives. The police will often agree to withdraw the less serious charges if you are going to plead guilty to the serious one. Just because your lawyer gets some charges dropped does not necessarily mean they are doing a good job. Where possible, it is more preferable to get the serious charges dropped. A good traffic lawyer should negotiate with the police, the prosecutors and get an indication about your case from the Magistrate on the day of the hearing. This takes more time which is why some lawyers don't do it.
If you do not understand something, always ask. A good lawyer will be happy to answer any of your questions. After all, you are paying them and you should be able to call them whenever you want to.
You should trust your instincts. Keep your prospective lawyer on the phone to see if you feel comfortable working with them.
If you would like any further advice on choosing a lawyer or would like to speak with an expert traffic lawyer about your case, then please call the team at William Archer for free advice on 1800 351 114.