Steve DuckettSteven L. Duckett, Jr. was born and raised in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. He attended Paul VI High School (1990), University of Richmond (1994) and Valparaiso University School of Law (1997). Mr. Duckett has spent the entirety of his legal career practicing in criminal and traffic law. He created the law firm of Steven L. Duckett, Jr., P.C. in April 2001.
Host: When do I need a lawyer in a speeding ticket case?
Steve Duckett: Well, you need a lawyer if you are charged with a traffic misdemeanor. Again there are two kinds of charges, traffic infractions and traffic misdemeanors. The difference is that misdemeanors are actually criminal offences, infractions are not. If you are charged with a traffic misdemeanor you could be facing jail time, significant fines, suspension of your license and major bumps in your insurance rates. Obvious traffic misdemeanors are driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, reckless driving, driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving without a valid operator's license. In other words, if your license has expired and you're car driving, that's actually a misdemeanor. Some accident cases can be charged as misdemeanor or reckless driving charges, but I would also get an attorney if you were in an accident and there were injuries that sustained by any party. The reason for that is very simple; you could be facing a subsequent civil suit and need an experienced criminal attorney, who can help you get through the initial process. The traffic case will always take place well ahead of any filing of any civil lawsuit. So, whatever happens, you'll be on you own up until the point when you are actually sued; when you are sued your insurance company takes over and they provide their representation. But, if you are just charged with a crime such as reckless driving that results in an accident, you are on your own to defend yourself and if you go in a court and botch it somehow you could really put the civil case at a disadvantage and finally even if you are charged with a traffic infraction, but you find that you are on probation with your State's DMV, it's probably a good idea to get an attorney because if you are on probation and you sustain a new conviction, you could end up getting your license suspended. So, even if there is not a great chance of success, it's always a good idea to fire every bullet in that gun and go ahead and hire an attorney to try to get out of that speeding ticket that could put you over the top and end up costing you your license.