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Thomas Gallagher’s Traffic Lawyer guide to traffic defense.

Should you pay a ticket, fight it, or get a traffic lawyer?

After a traffic citation most people want to keep it off their driver’s license record.  And that’s because we don’t want to lose our license or pay higher insurance rates.  Though fighting it won’t always get that result; not fighting it never will. 

So whether it’s worth it to you to hire a lawyer, is a question only you can answer.

But in the long run, it might be cheaper to hire a traffic lawyer.

What is a uniform traffic citation?

A citation is a “summons” to respond to court on a “tab charge.” And it can allege a petty misdemeanor violation or misdemeanor crime.

People often refer to this as a “traffic ticket.”

A “tab charge” is a criminal or petty misdemeanor charge that simply the names the charge and statute. But it does not have sworn facts alleging probable cause.  So in other words, a tab charge is not a written “Complaint.”

Almost all traffic violations are tab charges, by citation. And a traffic lawyer can help you fight them.

Traffic or motor vehicle crimes and violations range from felonies like Criminal Vehicular Homicide down to petty misdemeanor equipment violations.  And an experienced traffic lawyer can help you fight all of them.  We discuss some of these on these pages :

Other common traffic tickets:

  • Red light
  • Stop sign
  • School Bus violation
  • Window Tint

Traffic Lawyer: Moving Violations vs. Equipment Violations

Convictions for “moving violations” and for driving conduct, no insurance, or no license, generally go on the driving record. 

And those convictions can lead to a license revocation, suspension or cancellation.

You have the right to a traffic lawyer for your Minnesota traffic defense case
You have the right to a traffic lawyer for your Minnesota traffic defense case

But in general, equipment violations will result in a fix-it ticket or a fine only.

So most people only want a traffic lawyer for the charges that will affect their driver’s license, record and insurance.

“Will I lose my license if I get a traffic conviction?”

A traffic lawyer can help protect your drivers license.

For some felony traffic crimes, the state revokes the driver’s license right way.  These include Felony DWI and Criminal Vehicular Operation.

But the state won’t revoke a license for most traffic misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors unless the person has priors. DWI is a big exception though.

What is Minnesota’s “habitual violator” rule?

Minnesota Rules for the Department of Public Safety label repeaters “habitual violators.”  Rule 7409.2200.  So the Rule tells us how many convictions, trigger how long a license revocation.

The state will revoke a habitual violator’s driver’s license.  So if you have priors, you can prevent losing your license by preventing a conviction on a traffic charge.  And remember, the “conviction” is the trigger for the driver’s license consequence. So a disposition that avoids a “conviction,” will avoid a driver’s license consequence.

And this is another reason some may wish to hire a traffic lawyer for their traffic defense case.

Why do people hire a traffic lawyer?

The most common reasons for hiring a traffic lawyer are:

  • stop a conviction from going on the driver’s license record
  • prevent future traffic tickets by keeping it off the DL record
  • keep car insurance rates from going up
  • protect credit and health insurance
  • avoid employment-related issues
  • prevent revocation of driver’s license, and
  • prevent jail time for misdemeanor and other criminal traffic charges
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