Should I Hire a Lawyer From my Hometown or Someone who is Closer to the Court?
Whenever you have a traffic or misdemeanor violation in Virginia, I always recommend hiring a local, experienced attorney who regularly handles your kind of case.
There are many reasons for this, but let’s look at a couple. The most important reason is that the judges around Virginia can be very different in how they like to handle traffic and misdemeanor cases.
Reckless driving in Virginia is a great example. Any speed over 20 miles an hour in Virginia is reckless driving, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximal punishment for going 20 miles an hour over the limit in Virginia is one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine and/or six months loss of your license in Virginia. Those are just the maximums, and they are rarely imposed to that degree. However, people do go to jail for speeding in Virginia. Some judges have very low tolerance for speed and it’s just customary in some courts to be kind of hammered for reckless driving. Whereas in other courts reckless driving 20 over might be dismissed if you go into driving school, no problem, routine case.
If you work with a lawyer from your home town, and your home town is an area where reckless driving is a routine case that gets dismissed with driving school, that is a pretty basic case. But if your case pending in a court where reckless driving is rare, you could be in a for a world of surprise and hurt in that court.
The other important factor is that the players are different in traffic and misdemeanor cases. A lot of the value in having an attorney for a traffic and misdemeanor case in Virginia is having someone who knows the officers, the prosecutors, and the clerks. Knowing all these folks means that your attorney can hopefully get the best outcome possible. For example, sometimes the only way to a reduced charge is through negotiation with the officer. That type of negotiation is more difficult for an out-of-town lawyer.
If you were to hire a local attorney, they may do a very good job in your hometown, but they won’t have relationships with all the players because they’re simply not local and haven’t been working side by side with them for years.
Those are but two reasons why it’s very important to work with a local, experienced attorney who’s local to the court where your Virginia traffic ticket is pending.
Photo by: Walmart Corporate