For those of you who are too young to remember, back in the 1970’s there was a popular game show on television called “Let’s Make A Deal,” hosted by Monty Hall, whom the show billed as “America’s Favorite Dealer.” The premise of the show was simple. Contestants were picked at random from the studio audience. They were given a series of
challenges to win cash or prizes. As they progressed through the game Monty Hall would offer them a deal. He would add to what they already won and they could walk away, or they could risk what they already have and the additional offer and continue on to potentially win much more than they could walk away with, yet they were risking that the next “prize” that they turned down their offer for was really a worthless “booby prize.” The show was the classic great risk / great reward scenario.
In reality, traffic court is no different than the game show “Let’s Make A Deal.” You, the motorist, are picked at random to play. The “game”, if you will, is that of a adversarial contest called a “trial” between you and the prosecuting authorities as contestants, where there is great risk yet great reward. If you win the trial you get to walk out of the courthouse with absolutely no consequences, but if you lose the full weight of the judicial, regulatory, and insurance consequences will rain down upon you with fines, points, surcharges, insurance increases, and depending on the circumstances license suspensions or revocations. Like “Let’s Make A Deal great risk / great reward.
If only there were a way to resolve this matter without so much risk…
Actually, there is a way to resolve your ticket without the risk. This is where we come in as your own personal Monty Hall deal maker. Before demanding a trial, we always attempt to negotiate a deal for a reduction with the prosecutor. This is called a “plea bargain.”
What is a Plea Bargain?
Before you can understand what a plea bargain is, you first need to understand what a “plea” is. In normal everyday English, a plea is a way of expressing that someone is asking for something. In court however a plea is an affirmative statement. When you receive a traffic ticket the first thing you have to do is “enter a plea.” There are only 2 pleas you can enter, “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” Of course if you enter “Guilty” the case ends and you are pummeled with all of the above described penalties. If you enter a plea of “Not Guilty” what you are communicating to the court is that you are exercising your rights to make the state prove it’s case at trial. If they are able to prove the case then you will be found guilty by the judge, and if they are unable to prove their case after a trial then you will be found not guilty by the judge.
A plea bargain is an alternative way of resolving your case. It is the process by which your lawyer talks to and negotiates with the prosecutor in an effort to avoid a trial. The goal of a plea bargain is to enter a plea of guilty to a violation that does not carry points, cause an insurance increase, and if you are facing losing your license avoiding that outcome as well.
The plea bargain process can be best illustrated in the following situation. Suppose you are charged with speeding at 23 MPH over the speed limit. If you are found guilty “as charged” that carries a fine of up to $393.00 as well as triggers an DMV administrative penalty of $300.00 and also can cause an insurance surcharge for 3 years. However, not all traffic infractions carry such high fines, carry as many points, and trigger insurance increases. For example, a conviction for improperly parking on the pavement carries fines and surcharges of no more than $175.00, carries no points, and does not trigger an insurance increase.
Consequently, it is our job as your traffic court Monty Hall to settle your case with that deal, or one similar to it. Doing such a deal also helps the prosecution and the court, as they ensure a conviction and a collection of a fine, do not run the risk of an acquittal, and most importantly do not clog the court system with trials.
Our office strives to settle most of our client’s cases with the certitude that a plea bargain has to offer. In those cases where the prosecution refuses to make an offer then we take your case to trial. Nonetheless, we are successful most of the time in resolution by plea bargain, and more about how we negotiate a plea bargain can be found by clicking the link above, or by calling us anytime toll free at 1-877-99-No-Tix (1-877-996-6849).