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Most people fighting a speeding ticket can do so without the assistance of an attorney. However, there are circumstances when hiring a lawyer makes sense. For example, if you face losing your license or your car insurance, fight the charges. Doing so with an attorney on your side significantly improves your odds of winning this battle.
How Traffic Law Attorneys Charge for their Time
Rates vary based on the size of the law firm and the size of the city or town in which you live. Lawyers in larger firms and larger cities typically charge more. The three main fee structures are hourly, flat, and capped rates.
In addition to attorney fees, expect to pay legal costs. These may include court costs, travel expenses, and administrative fees. Bring a pen and notepad to your initial consultation. Ask the attorney for a complete list of costs you can expect, as well as any other questions you have. Take detailed notes to refer to when making your decision.
How Much Are Traffic Law Attorney Hourly Fees
Attorney's hourly rates vary widely, from around $150 per hour to around $400 per hour. Typically, hourly attorneys charge in increments of time, not for a full hour. For example, you may see a charge for 15 minutes for a phone call. At $150 per hour, this would cost you $37.50.
Hourly attorneys request a retainer to begin working on your case, amounting to a set number of hours at his or her rate. A 10-hour retainer for an attorney charging $200 per hour means you pay $2,000 up front. He or she deducts payment for time spent on your case from the retainer. Upon depletion of funds, you either pay for another lump sum of hours or the attorney bills monthly.
For a case like a speeding ticket, most attorneys charge a flat fee.
How Much Are Traffic Law Attorney Flat Fees
Lawyers often charge a flat rate for work they do routinely, which means they understand the typical costs. A flat fee is what it sounds like – a set cost that won't change no matter how long the case takes. This fee schedule is common in speeding tickets. Flat fee rates for simple cases start at around $500 and go up from there.
Most flat fee attorneys expect the full payment up front, but some offer a payment schedule.
How Much Are Traffic Law AttorneyCapped Rates
A capped rate fee structure works as a hybrid of the hourly rate and the flat fee. The attorney charges you an hourly rate, including a retainer, but sets minimum and maximum amounts. This ensures the attorney receives a minimum payment, but protects the client from spiraling legal costs.
Should I Fight a Speeding Ticket?
Simply receiving a speeding ticket is not proof of wrongdoing. What's more, a number of states allow drivers to exceed the speed limit (slightly) if they can prove they were driving safely.
Paying a ticket is an admission of guilt, meaning it may come with consequences. Before paying, ask yourself some questions.
How will this affect your insurance? If you've had a number of speeding tickets in a relatively short period of time, you typically pay higher insurance rates for at least three years, and up to five years.
Will you lose your driver's license? Too many tickets in too short a time may result in a suspended license.
How much will this ticket really cost me? The fine listed on the citation is only part of the cost. Consider as well filing fees charged in some states, increases in insurance premiums, and any traffic classes you take to avoid receiving points against your license.
If this speeding ticket threatens to do more than add a few points against your license, fighting it may be in your best interest. Hiring a lawyer may even be the cheaper option, depending on your circumstances.
Choosing a Traffic Ticket Law Firm
There are pros and cons to both large and small law firms.
A large firm typically charges more for its services. However, most large firms hire top attorneys, ensuring their clients receive excellent representation. Smaller firms come with lower rates than their big name counterparts. However, this doesn't mean that you won't get great service, as their smaller client loads typically mean they have more time to devote to your case.
In the end, choose the lawyer you feel most comfortable with after your initial consultation.Schedule a Free Consultation
If you want to fight a speeding ticket, schedule a free consultation with an attorney. He or she will explain the laws and penalties in your state and offer advice on your unique case.