What To Say in Traffic Court

What To Say in Traffic Court

If you are fighting a traffic ticket in court, you may be wondering what to say in traffic court.  You definately want to be prepared rather than walking in and winging it.  This is one of those times when having a solid plan will come to your advantage.  So, how do you prepare for your day and know what to say in traffic court when your day comes around?

First, take a moment to read our article on Do I Need a Lawyer for a Traffic Ticket.  

Having an understanding of your ticket and the legal consequences of how you respond to that ticket will help you decide if you need an attorney or if you can do this yourself.  While we do not advocate that you represent yourself, we realize that you may wish to do that.

  • First things first.  Whether you are going to be in physical court or on a video session, present yourself appropriately.  Wear a business type of shirt such as one with a collar.
  • Speak respectfully. Address the judge as “Your Honor” or “Judge”.
  • Use full sentences to speak.  Do not use slang like “bruh, dude, yo, wattsup, i hear ya, yup, nah”  or any other words you may use with someone you usually communicate with regularly.  This is a judge.  It’s not your friend and this person is to be treated in his or her position with respect.  You want him or her to help you, so the last thing you want to do is to offend by saying the wrong thing.
  • Speak only when asked to speak
  • Answer the question and only the question.  This is a big one and it’s the one that gets most clients in trouble.
  • Detail what happened and why your situation is an exception.  I.e, You aren’t Guilty and why.
  • Consider how you explain why you aren’t guilty before you go in there.  Was it the weather? Going less than 5 mph over the speed limit? Is your driving record perfect and this is your first traffic stop?

Here are some other helpful articles

Things to Know About Georgia Law

Reasons To Hire a Lawyer

Georgia’s Tricky Super Speeder Law

If you find yourself in this situation and would like our assistance, contact us.  You can upload your citation directly to our site for review!  David has over 20 years of experience working with clients and traffic laws in Georgia.

 

Getting a traffic ticket as an Uber or Lyft driver

Getting a traffic ticket as an Uber or Lyft driver

I think we all agree that getting a traffic ticket is frustrating.  Yet most of us have had one at some point in our lives.  We are running late, we go a little fast and just like that, we get a speeding ticket.  It’s so annoying because we knew better and should have done better.  We are cruising along and lost in thought and cruise right through the Stop sign.  We realize it just as we hear the siren and see the lights.  We are thankful we did not get plowed into by another driver but still annoyed at the ticket.  Nobody likes to get a traffic ticket.

You Agreed to That Additional Background Check

However, getting a traffic ticket as an Uber or Lyft driver can be much more than simply annoying.   When you drive for a ride share company like Uber or Lyft, you are subject to an initial background check.  You also consented to ongoing checks when you began driving for them.  This makes sense because these companies have the responsibility to protect their riders.  That’s a big responsibility.

So, you had a background check when you went to work for them and you may think that covers you going forward.  However, there are many things that can kick off another one.   A customer can leave a bad review (customers sometimes leave false bad reviews in the hopes of getting a refund on their ride.  The worse the review, the more likely the chance of a background check).  The company can decide to do a random screening.  The company may decide to update their records or change insurance companies.  There are any number of reasons they many do a second, third or ongoing background check.

Fight The Ticket

Let’s say you got a ticket that amounts to a $100 fine.  Why wouldn’t you pay that and move on with your life?  Well, because paying that ticket is pleading guilty and that ticket will then show up on your record.  On that next background check, it will show up. That ticket will affect your points on your license which in turn affects your insurance rates.  Oh, and that job you love, working for Lyft or Uber, may go away.  Uber and Lyft appear to have a policy that states you cannot drive for the company if you have had more than three moving violations in the three years prior to the background check.  However, you do not have to search far online to find people who state that they lost their ability to drive for one or more of these companies for only one violation.  In addition, being removed from one of the companies could bar you from working at the other. This may be due to insurance company requirements.

Now, you may think that the cost of hiring a lawyer outweighs paying your ticket.  Before you make that decision, contact our office.  We have a form where you can upload your Georgia citation.  We will review it at no cost to you.  As we always tell our clients, checking out your options cost you nothing.  Doing nothing may cost you everything.

Some helpful articles:

Do I need a Lawyer for Traffic Tickets in Georgia 

Traffic Stops in Georgia 

Do I Need a Lawyer For Traffic Tickets in Georgia

Do I Need a Lawyer For Traffic Tickets in Georgia

It is very common for new drivers, especially those in their teens, to get speeding tickets while driving during the first few months.   And more often than not, parents want to simply pay the ticket, believing that this will be the end of the ordeal.  Sometimes, it is not that simple and this is where an experienced criminal defense lawyer for traffic tickets in Georgia can help you save your child’s driving record and more.

Georgia Law on Speeding Tickets

You may not realize it, but in Georgia, traffic offenses are criminal offenses.  That means that when an officer issues a citation for speeding, failing to yield, or any number of traffic based offenses, these are criminal citations which require a court appearance unless the fine is paid in advance.  There are some citations that cannot be paid without a court appearance such as driving without insurance.   For those where there is an option of paying a fine,  payment of that fine is an admission of guilt, and in many cases, those charges can add points to your child’s driving record.  For a young, or newly licensed driver, that means higher insurance rates and possibly a suspension of the license, depending on the charges.  In addition, there are specific laws that govern speeding.  You can read more about that law in our article on Georgia’s Super Speeder Law here.

Teen Driving Laws in Georgia

Because Georgia has very strict laws for teen drivers, this can add to the complexity of the legal situation and consequences.  What’s really important is that all of the options are explored BEFORE anything is done.  It’s best to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer for traffic tickets in Georgia before you pay the ticket or attend the court hearing. Teens have limited hours of driving and any violations can affect their record going forward.  These things may not seem like much right now.  However, when your child needs to drive to their first job, the last thing you want to do as a parent is haul them back and forth to work because of a mistake they made which wasn’t handled properly.

How To Help Your Teen

If your child has received any citations, or arrests, contact us.  David knows Georgia law.  He will work with you to find the best solution for you and your family.  Contact us here. 

 

Jussie Smollett – Pretrial Diversion

Jussie Smollett – Pretrial Diversion

Sometimes facts are truly stranger than fiction and the Jussie Smollett case is strange indeed. If you are following the news, you have heard that all charges have been dropped against Smollett without any explanation. How can this be the case, many are wondering. Most likely it is a process similar to what attorneys refer to as “pretrial diversion”. In this article we will review what we know of the Smollett case and if pretrial diversion was possibly the avenue chosen for the case disposition.

The Story

Jussie Smollett is a well known gay black actor from the hit series “Empire”. On January 29, he reported that he was attacked around 2 am while walking home from a sandwich shop. He told Chicago police that his attackers threw some type of chemical on him, looped a rope around his neck and beat him up all the while hurling racial and homophobic slurs and yelling “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” 

As a result of his police report, which went public immediately, many entertainers, activists and politicians were enraged, demanding action.  Smollett himself went on camera discussing and confirming the event. Television networks issued a statement and stood ready to support him in any way possible for this awful crime.

Throughout early February, Smollett continued to publicly denounce his “attackers” and defend his story. His friends, family and supporters stood by him, vowing to find those responsible.

However, as the police continued investigating this as a hate crime, another story began to emerge, indicating that the entire thing was a publicity stunt. Smollett had created the story because he was unhappy with his pay at Fox Studios.  He believed this hoax would generate the publicity to promote and build his career.

The Arrest

Authorities were furious.   There are true issues in this country and Smollett violated the trust of so many.  As a result, he was charged and arrested by the Chicago police.  But just as quickly, he was released, charges dropped and he was exonerated without explanation.  The Chicago police and Chicago Mayor as well as many other leaders stood baffled, uninformed by and unaware of what was taking place or why it took place.

Although the State’s Attorney has provided no details on why they allowed this to happen, Smollett continues to assert his innocence. What is interesting, however, is that he is no longer crying foul about hatred and racism everywhere he goes. He is no longer vowing to get those responsible for attacking him. He has gone completely silent as if the attack never happened. And as if that isn’t suspicious enough, the Chicago police released the public records regarding his arrest.  Immediately following the release of those records, Smollett’s attorney’s and the State’s Attorney asked for the Court to seal any future records, including the agreement.  The court stopped the release of anything further.

We do know that Smollett had to pay back the bond of $10,000.  The State’s Attorney also stated that he did community service although there is no mention of details on the community service.  If he did community service and paid money, why are they stating that the charges are dropped? This seems that money and privilege just bought himself out of trial, doesn’t it?

Pretrial Diversion

In Georgia, pretrial diversion is an alternative to the traditional court process. It allows those who qualify, to complete requirements prior to a court date in exchange for their case being completely dismissed. Although Chicago may not have this program, it seems as if they have something similar and that Jussie Smollett received some form of this program.
He agreed to some terms, completed them prior to a court date and his case was completely dismissed. 

In a pretrial diversion, requirements may include community service, a specific type of class, or counselling. Pretrial diversion may be available for you if you were arrested in Georgia for drug related crimes, charges related to domestic abuse and more.   A criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable with the court can negotiate your case for a potential from prosecution altogether, resulting in your case being dismissed.. 

Contact Us

David has years of experience working with clients with felony and misdemeanor cases and having them successfully “diverted” prior to trial and cases dismissed under Georgia’s pretrial diversion program.  No two cases are alike and each county or jurisdiction handles the program differently.  It’s important that you have the right attorney working your case from the start.   You can reach us here.

Failure to Appear

Failure to Appear

A failure to appear in court in the state of Georgia can get you locked up.  That means jail time.  When you receive a traffic ticket, you are asked to sign the ticket.  Your signature states that you will appear in court unless the ticket is paid before the court date.  In some cases, you MUST appear, and cannot pay your way out of a court appearance.  Either way, if you are required to appear but miss your court date, you will be charged with a failure to appear and a bench warrant will be issued.

After a failure to appear, you lose the option to pay the fine and make the ticket go away. This will most certainly result in a criminal record if not handled properly.

When you receive a citation, it’s always best to consult an attorney to learn your options.  Some citations allow you to simply pay.  However, paying is also a statement of guilt and can have an affect on your driving record,  your insurance rates and more.  And although it can be tempting to drive without a license, it will make your situation even worse.

If you are facing any of these issues, or know someone who is, contact David Crawford.  He will work with you to clear your record, help you in your court appearance or resolve your traffic related issue.

Read what David’s clients have said below and then give him a call.

Testimonials: https://legalpatriot.com/testimonials/

How Facebook Posts Can Hurt Your Case

How Facebook Posts Can Hurt Your Case

Facebook is still the most popular game in town.  Although it began with teens, it has now become the most popular online app across the world with young and old, alike.  People use it for a variety of reasons, personal and business.  Think about the ways we use Facebook today.  We use it to stay informed about our friends and acquaintances, to meet new people, to learn about events, listen to music, to shop, promote political or other views, share stories and photos and vent about our lives.  While Facebook has become so utterly entrenched in our lives (imagine a day without it), and it can be a valuable tool for sharing news and information quickly to a large group, let’s take a look at how Facebook posts can hurt your case if you have a pending legal matter or are under investigation.

False Sense of Security

We often think that when we are on our computer or our phone, we have safety and privacy in our posts.  This has led to a false sense of security.  Recent events in the news regarding Facebook have shown that there are many companies that have access to our data.  When something is placed online, whether it’s Facebook or another social media platform, we do not know who is viewing our content.  But one thing is for sure, EVERY company can allow law enforcement to view the content.  Social media companies actively participate with law enforcement to create a safe environment online.

Examples of Evidence

If you have a criminal case ongoing or there is an investigation that involves you, here are some examples of ways law enforcement may use social media that can affect you:

  • Announcements of your behavior – ex: “I got arrested yesterday for driving without insurance!”
  • Descriptions of your recent or past actions – ex: “I been driving without insurance for 2 years! Finally got busted!?”
  • Descriptions or photos of your drug use – ex: “Glad they didn’t see these laying in my seat. LOL” (with photos of a bong)
  • Images or information that suggest more serious crimes or additional crimes – ex: “I am really freaking out! I think I hit someone but I was drinking and I left the scene.  How can I find out if he is ok?”
  • Information that may support or negate an alibi  ex: photos showing him with his friends drinking at the time of the hit and run in the vicinity of where there was a person hit
  • Information or conversations that indicate a planning of the crime (goes to premeditation) – ex: “Dude, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  I was supposed to just hit a car.  There wasn’t supposed to be a person in it.  How did this happen?” (written in a private message on Facebook)

What To Do?

Many people realize they have posted something that may harm their case and delete the post and any comments.  Unfortunately, this does not erase the information.  If law enforcement has already begun to investigate, chances are they have seen the information, and your deletion of it only makes you appear more suspicious.

Here are the recommended steps to take in these situations:

  1.  Do not panic.
  2. If you have NOT yet posted about your legal situation (criminal or civil), DO NOT.  We know it’s tempting to vent.  Do not do it online.
  3. If you have posted about it.  Leave it alone and do not post anymore about it.  Do not even comment on it.
  4. Most important – Obtain some legal advice from an attorney.

Contact Us Now

If you, or a loved one, finds yourself in a situation involving traffic tickets, a DUI, driving without insurance or other criminal matters, contact our office.  David Crawford has the knowledge, experience and compassion to help see that your rights are protected.  There is no reason to let a mistake or a bad decision affect your entire life.  Attorney David Crawford’s will fight for your rights.