Bucks County Traffic Offense Lawyer
Traffic tickets may not seem like a matter for a criminal defense lawyer, but the penalties and fines associated with traffic tickets can build up and become a serious problem. Especially when traffic ticket charges involve reckless driving or drunk driving, traffic offenses can even lead to potential license suspensions and jail time.
Working with a lawyer can help you avoid fines and points on your license. If the police officer that pulled you over had uncalibrated speed testing equipment or if there were problems with the signs or signals they claim you violated, our attorneys can challenge your tickets and fight to get tickets dropped.
If you or a loved one has traffic tickets that you need help within Bucks County, contact Young, Marr & Associates today. Our Bucks County traffic offense lawyers work to help our clients get their tickets and other traffic charges dismissed. For your free case evaluation, call us at (215) 372-8667.
What to Do During a Traffic Stop in Bucks County
Traffic stops must follow certain procedures, and your rights must not be infringed upon. Knowing these procedures will put you in the best position to protect yourself without hindering the officer’s ability to do their job. Our Bucks County traffic offense lawyers can help you fight any traffic violations.
One thing you should avoid is becoming combative with the officer who stopped you. Many drivers feel their traffic stops are unjust and that the officer is being unreasonable. It might be tempting to argue with the officer over your ticket, but this is not a good idea. Police officers wield a lot of authority and discretion during traffic stops. It is not unheard of for officers to issue harsher tickets to drivers who become argumentative. While you can certainly tell the officer you do not believe you violated any traffic laws, do not push your luck.
You should also not provide consent for anything you do not have to. For example, the police might stop you for speeding but also have a hunch that you are dealing drugs. A hunch is not a valid reason to conduct a search, but the officer can still ask you for permission to search your vehicle. If the officer asks, say no. Do not allow the officer to gather incriminating evidence against you. If you are unsure if you have the right to refuse an officer’s request, ask them. This is something the police must be honest about. Otherwise, they are deceiving people into waiving their rights, which is unlawful.
You can also ask the officer if you are free to leave. Generally, when the police pull a driver over, the driver must stay put for the duration of the stop. The stop is considered a detainment by the police. However, the stop must be reasonable, and the police cannot draw out a stop without good reason. If you are unsure whether you can leave, ask the officer if you are free to go. Again, they cannot lie to you and say you cannot leave if they legally cannot hold you.
How To Fight Traffic Tickets in Bucks County, PA
When you are faced with any criminal charges or citations, you have the right to your day in court. With traffic court, your case is not always taken as seriously by police and judges who clear dozens or hundreds of these cases each day. However, when your finances, your license, and your freedom are on the line, you can certainly hire a traffic offense lawyer to help with your case and take the charges seriously.
Fighting a traffic ticket will be different for each driver based on the type of violation for which they were cited. Some tickets are based predominantly on the observations of the officer rather than measurable evidence. For example, an officer might cite you for running a stop sign, but they do not have to present video evidence of the event to support the citation. Other offenses, like speeding, must come with measurable evidence, like the results from a radar gun. Talk to our Bucks County traffic offense attorneys about fighting your tickets.
Going to Court
When you are given a traffic ticket or citation, it usually has a court date written on it and tells you what court to go to. This will be important information for you and your lawyer to know where to fight the case. When you arrive, the judge will have a list of cases and will run through the list. If no one is there to challenge a case or if the ticket has already been paid, you effectively plead guilty. If you are present and wish to challenge the ticket, you may be given a hearing.
At a traffic court hearing, the police officer has to be present to testify. Often, if the officer does not show up or is called away to duty, the judge may be able to drop the ticket because there is no one to testify against you. If the officer does testify, your lawyer can cross-examine them and ask questions to help poke holes in their testimony and challenge the evidence presented. Our Bucks County traffic offense lawyers can represent you at your traffic court hearing.
Ways to Dismiss Traffic Tickets
Often, judges throw out traffic ticket cases if the officer’s testimony or evidence has any of the following problems:
- Speed testing equipment was not properly tested or calibrated
- The officer has wrong or inaccurate information (e.g., wrong day, wrong weather, the wrong color of your vehicle)
- The officer admits to not having seen the violation take place
- The officer cannot identify the defendant
You can also present your own evidence that might cast doubt on the officer’s testimony or the possibility of the charges. For example, if there was a tree obscuring your view of a traffic sign or traffic light, it could be difficult to fairly enforce that sign/signal against you. Photos of the sign and other evidence – such as your testimony – could be presented. Talk to our Bucks County traffic offense attorneys about what evidence is needed in your case.
Challenging Serious Traffic Charges: Reckless Driving, DUI, and Vehicular Assault
If you are charged with any serious traffic charges, there could be criminal penalties associated with them. Charges for reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI), and vehicular assault are examples of these serious charges.
Reckless driving is a separate offense from other charges. This means that something like speeding alone should not be charged as reckless driving, and there must be some additional factor that makes your actions “reckless” and not just another simple traffic violation. If the police officer cannot testify to an issue that satisfies this element, our attorneys can challenge the reckless driving charges and have them reduced or dismissed.
Driving under the influence is a very serious charge that often comes with fines, license suspensions, and jail time. Most first-time DUI defendants in Pennsylvania can qualify for ARD, a program that allows them to seek treatment and participate in courses to avoid future drunk driving. This may still come with a license suspension, and there is no guarantee that you will be accepted to ARD. If ARD is not an option, our attorneys can also fight the charges by challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the evidence used against you, and the police officer’s testimony.
If you hit someone with your car while doing something dangerous, it is possible you could face charges of vehicular assault, recklessly endangering another person (REAP), or other associated charges. These charges can come from serious accidents, and you should seek the help of an experienced Bucks County traffic offense lawyer to help you avoid jail time and fines.
Challenging Unlawful Traffic Stops in Bucks County
There could be multiple grounds on which you can challenge a traffic ticket. Although sometimes it does not feel like it, traffic tickets must be supported by articulable evidence or reasoning. Even if there is evidence to support your citation, the stop must adhere to specific legal procedures and protocols to be valid.
You can challenge a traffic citation if you believe the officer stopped you for an invalid reason. Law enforcement may not stop any driver at any time. They must have a reason to conduct a stop. For example, the police could stop you if they watched you run a traffic light.
Invalid reasons for traffic stops include a driver’s race or ethnicity. Racial profiling is a serious problem in the field of policing. Even today, many drivers report being pulled over because of their race rather than for a traffic violation. Similarly, the police cannot conduct traffic stops based on purely arbitrary reasons. For example, an officer cannot pull you over simply because you drive a red sports car and the officer believes drivers of red sports cars are more reckless.
You can also challenge a traffic ticket if there is no evidence to support the ticket. For example, you can challenge the ticket for lack of good evidence if you are cited for speeding, but the officer did not use a radar gun or merely estimated your speed. However, some tickets are based primarily on the observations and word of the officer and may be more challenging to dispute. Even so, our Bucks County traffic offense lawyers can help you dispute your citation.
Traffic Ticket Points in Bucks County
If you are convicted of a traffic offense, you could have points against your driver’s license. Most moving violations come with points. If you accrue 6 points, you will be given a warning and be forced to take an exam to keep driving. If you accumulate 6 points a second time, you could have your license suspended for 15 days or be ordered to take your driver’s test again. A third accumulation of 6 points will result in another hearing where your license could be suspended for 30 days. Failure to attend these hearings will result in your license being automatically suspended.
If you have accumulated several points, they will not be there forever. It is possible to have points removed from your license over time. For every 12 months of driving that you are not issued a citation, 3 points will be removed from your license. This means if you have 5 points against your license, you must drive safely for 2 years to avoid a 6th point that might suspend your license. Talk to a Buck County traffic offense lawyer early on for help avoiding tickets with points and for help getting points removed from your record.
Traffic Tickets for Out-of-State Drivers in Bucks County
Even out-of-state drivers must follow the traffic laws in Pennsylvania. Whether you are visiting Bucks County or simply passing through, you can be cited for a traffic violation just like an in-state resident. However, the way your license is affected might be a bit different.
Pennsylvania does not have the power to suspend assessed points against a driver’s license issued by another state. However, that does not mean that out-of-state drivers can disregard their traffic tickets issued in Bucks County. Nearly all states are members of the Driver’s License Compact, which provides reciprocity for traffic violations. Under the Compact, if you are ticketed in Bucks County, your home state will be notified and issue penalties against your license.
This might complicate things for out-of-state drivers who want to challenge their traffic tickets but do not want to return to Pennsylvania. Our Bucks County traffic offense attorneys can represent you while you remain at home. Most traffic violations are minor infractions or summary offenses, and courts do not usually mind if you have an attorney plead your case in your absence. However, more serious violations, like DUIs or criminal charges for vehicular assault or manslaughter, will likely require your presence.
Call Our Bucks County Traffic Offense Lawyers for Help
If you were pulled over for a traffic offense in Bucks County, the Bucks County traffic offense lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates can help you with your case. Call us at (215) 372-8667 today to schedule a free legal consultation.