What should I do before I go to court?

If you have an attorney before your arraignment date, talk with your attorney in advance. The more your attorney understands about your case, the more he/she can help you.

Generally speaking, you should plan on staying at least three hours for your arraignment and in crowded courts you may be required to stay all day, until approximately 4:30 p.m. The courtroom is likely to be crowded and it may be a while before the judge gets to your case. Be early so that you will have enough time to find out where to go and to make sure you do not miss your case being called.

What are my rights?

Anyone charged with a crime has certain legal rights. You have the right to remain silent when questioned. You do not have to say anything about the facts of your case. If you do, your statements can be used against you in a court of law including during your trial. You have the right to the presence of an attorney during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Practically speaking, the appointment of lawyer for a defendant who cannot afford an attorney usually does not occur until the first court appearance. You have the right to be considered for bail except in murder cases.

Who makes the decisions about my case?

In a criminal case you decide whether to: go to trial or plead guilty, have  jury trial or a bench trial, testify or maintain your right to be silent. In a civil case your lawyer should consult with you before making any settlement decision.

How will I pay my lawyer?

Knowing when to fight a traffic ticket could end up saving you hundreds of dollars for the offense itself and perhaps even more on your car insurance down the road.  Some motorists, such as commercial drivers, should fight all traffic tickets because any moving violation can jeopardize their ability to continue working

Getting a ticket can boost an average auto insurance policyholder’s premium by up to 22 percent, so it’s worth fighting.  Speeding convictions in construction zones and school zones lead to the highest premium increases.

Typically, tickets don’t appear on a driving record until the fine is paid or the driver is convicted in court. Having an attorney’s help to dismiss or lessen the fines can keep insurance rates from increasing.

Weighing the consequences of what the costs might be if you don’t have an attorney represent your case could answer your question.