Beware of National Motorists Association Ticket Manual

There’s no shortage of ebooks on fighting traffic tickets. Some of them are good resources, and some are simply wrong.

I recently read the National Motorists Association’s ebook entitled “Fight That Ticket!”, and I’m a bit surprised by its inaccuracies. To be fair, their ebook is intended as a general guide for anyone in the country. No book could be 100% accurate for fighting a ticket in every jurisdiction.

But I do think some of the content is dangerously wrong. That’s what prompted me to write about it. Here are some general observations I’ve had.

Laws vary drastically

The ebook starts off by claiming that “the majority of the principles and recommendations discussed here are applicable to any type of traffic law violation.” It does have some disclaimers that laws vary among jurisdictions and that you should use it at your own risk.

But I think Fight That Ticket too easily dismisses the differences. Simply put, traffic defenses and procedures vary drastically from county to county even within a single state like Virginia. They even vary from judge to judge. It’s unlikely that techniques that might work in New York will carry the day in Nevada.

Not every ticket should be fought

Page five of Fight That Ticket claims in bold: “everyone should fight every traffic ticket they possibly can.”


I always try to be up front with callers who have tickets. Sometimes there’s nothing I can do for them. I know the local judges and prosecutors fairly well, and I can usually tell if a case is hopeless from the start.

Why should that case be fought then? In my opinion, some traffic matters are better off just being paid. Be done with it.

Of course, I always recommend consulting with a local, experienced traffic attorney first. A lot of times we can do something to reduce or dismiss the ticket. But there’s no sense in waging a losing battle.

Many Virginia tickets go to trial

One incorrect assumption throughout Fight That Ticket is that tickets don’t normally go to trial. Maybe that’s true in some states, but it’s flat out wrong in Virginia.

Traffic tickets are initially handled in Virginia’s General District Courts. These are the lowest level trial courts. They are designed to handle lots of cases every single day. The courts I practice in for Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Fredericksburg might handle a couple hundred traffic cases each on a busy day. And many of those are trials.

Even when a client hires me to fight their ticket, we typically go to trial. Contrary to what Fight That Ticket claims, trying a speeding ticket (or even a reckless driving charge) is not expensive at all. It’s included in the court costs you have to pay if you are convicted (even if the charge is reduced).

Hire a local attorney

Fight That Ticket claims that local traffic attorneys aren’t your best option to actually fight a ticket:

If you want an attorney to seriously fight a ticket, one who will go to trial, hire an attorney who does not normally work in this jurisdiction and who is not fearful of the consequences of irritating prosecutorial staff. (page 18)

That’s insulting to me and the countless traffic attorneys in this country who fight every day for our clients. We don’t sell out our clients to keep from upsetting the status quo. I have never done that. I am not afraid to plead not guilty, question the officer, put on evidence, and argue that the judge should dismiss a ticket.

I recommend that you should hire a local speeding ticket attorney whenever possible.

A trial is not expensive

Several times Fight That Ticket refers to the high cost of a trial, and it even claims that hiring an attorney for a trial costs “thousands of dollars.”

Not in Virginia. As I mentioned above, going to trial doesn’t increase the costs you pay to the court. If you are found not guilty, you pay nothing. If you are convicted, you still pay basically the same amount of court costs as if you prepay the ticket.

And maybe some attorneys charge thousands for traffic defense, but most that I know do not. A basic traffic case (even for reckless driving or driving on suspended) is usually less than a thousand dollars.

Watch out

I haven’t even dug into the substantive inaccuracies in Fight That Ticket. The first volume has lots of information about discovery (obtaining information about the case). And let’s just say that Virginia’s discovery laws are extremely lacking.

The best advice for anyone who gets a ticket is to consult a local traffic attorney. Skip the ebooks.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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