Is It Worth Hiring a Lawyer for a Speeding Ticket?
Did the police recently stop you and give you a speeding ticket? Are you considering fighting the ticket but need help knowing where to begin? You might wonder whether it is worth hiring a lawyer for a speeding ticket. You likely have several other questions running through your head. If you or a loved one just received a traffic ticket, you know the ticket price in Washington State is high. But did you know that the cost of a ticket can be even higher?
When properly dealing with traffic tickets such as speeding infractions and answering whether a Traffic Lawyer is worth it, it’s essential to understand the difference between price and cost.
At first glance, these terms might seem interchangeable, but they each highlight different aspects of the financial impact a traffic violation may have. The price is the initial fine attached to the ticket—a one-time payment that seems straightforward. However, the cost goes beyond this immediate expense. It encompasses the long-term financial implications, including increased insurance premiums, a potential license suspension, and indirect effects such as time spent in court or away from work.
Below, we’ll delve into the cost of hiring a traffic ticket attorney, assessing whether their ability to navigate the legal system, negotiate reduced penalties, and provide peace of mind can outweigh the price of their services. We’ll determine if hiring a lawyer for a speeding ticket is worth it.
How Much Does a Traffic Lawyer Cost?
In Washington State, the cost of hiring a lawyer for a non-criminal traffic ticket varies from lawyer to lawyer. However, the going rate, among most attorneys in the greater Puget Sound, ranges from $200 to $350. The traffic lawyers that focus their practice on fighting traffic tickets are usually on the higher end of the range. While lawyers who dabble in traffic ticket defense or brand new attorneys will be on the lower end of the spectrum, just as with anything else, you get the representation you pay for. Remember, these are flat rates and should cover the representation in court, but additional costs may arise depending on the outcome of your case. As the saying goes, you buy nice, or you buy twice.
Price vs. Cost
With some additional context, we can decide if hiring a traffic ticket lawyer to handle your speeding or other traffic tickets is worth it. Before we do, we must remember the price is the one-time payment for the ticket, but the cost includes potential long-term consequences.
Suppose you receive a speeding ticket for exceeding the limit by 11 mph. The price you’ll pay as a fine is $165. But the cost? Because of the ticket, your insurance rates might increase by an average of $22 per month for the next three years. This increase can add up to $792. You might even risk a license suspension, leading to additional financial hardship if you rely on driving.
Here is a quick breakdown:
|Avg. Price of Traffic Ticket (Speeding 11 mph over)
|+ Avg. Increase of Insurance Rates (+$22/month x 3 years)
|= Total Cost of Traffic Ticket
|Our Attorney Fees for Fighting the Traffic Ticket
|+ Avg. Court Fees
|= Total Cost to Fight Traffic Ticket
|Total Money Saved by Fighting your Ticket
In our example, the initial speeding fine is $165. If you simply pay the ticket, you can anticipate an increase in your insurance rates because the insurance company would now see you as a riskier driver. In Washington State, tickets stay on your record for three years. The average annual cost for full coverage in 2022 in Washington is $1,313. Over three years, you could see an approximate increase of $792 in your insurance coverage. This makes the actual cost of your traffic ticket $957.
Now, consider the alternative. If you hire a traffic ticket attorney, their fee would be around $265. If they get the ticket dismissed, no extra costs would be due. If they can negotiate the ticket down to a non-moving violation, you might have to pay about $150 in court fees. Therefore, challenging your traffic ticket could cost approximately $415. This represents a savings of at least $500, potentially up to $700 if the ticket is completely dismissed.
Wondering how much it costs to fight your ticket specifically? Get an instant quote based on the location and type of infraction.
How Much Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After a Ticket?
Estimating the precise increase in insurance rates after a traffic ticket can be challenging. This is mainly because each insurance company employs unique formulas to calculate rates for their clients, and these formulas are not publicly disclosed. So, predicting a traffic ticket’s exact impact on your insurance rates is impossible.
Despite these challenges, Insurance.com closely analyzes quotes and rates from various insurance companies and provides average increases based on their study of hundreds of thousands of policies over the years. The following are the average percentage increases they found for common infractions:
|Speeding 30+ MPH over the limit
|Speeding 16-29 MPH Over Limit
|Improper or Illegal Pass
|Speeding 1-15 MPH Over Limit
|Following Too Closely
|Failure to Yield
|Failure to Stop
|Talking on a Cell Phone
These increases apply to drivers with no other infractions on their driving record. However, these percentages can significantly escalate if more tickets accumulate on your record. For example, individuals with two moving violations ended up paying 34% more for their insurance, while drivers with three tickets on their record experienced a staggering 53% increase in their rates.
How Long Will a Ticket Affect My Insurance Rates?
In Washington State, a traffic violation stays on your driving record for three years. But it’s important to note that this three-year period doesn’t start when you receive the ticket. Instead, the clock starts ticking once the traffic ticket is resolved in court through a hearing or when you accept guilt—either by paying the fine or entering into a payment plan. Therefore, it’s not just the immediate aftermath of a traffic ticket that one must consider but also its long-term impact on things like insurance rates.
Average Car Insurance Cost in Washington State
The average car insurance cost in Washington State is $1,313.00 per year for a single driver. However, rates are significantly more expensive in cities like Seattle and Tacoma. In both cities, the average price is over $1,500 per year.
Hiring a Lawyer for a Speeding Violation Pays Off!
In conclusion, receiving a traffic ticket can feel like an unwelcome hassle. However, hastily paying the fine could lead to unforeseen consequences, potentially escalating a simple inconvenience into a more severe burden. Bear in mind the initial fine is just the starting point; the actual cost of a traffic ticket is often concealed in the long-term effects, such as increased insurance rates.
This is where our experience at Garguile DUI & Traffic Lawyers, PLLC, becomes invaluable. Our team of seasoned traffic lawyers understands the complexities of traffic laws, and we’re here to guide you through each step. Our help can simplify this process and potentially save you significant money in the long run.
Don’t feel compelled to navigate these choppy waters alone. Contact us for a free case evaluation and let Garguile DUI & Traffic Lawyers, PLLC, steer you towards a more favorable outcome.