Mailing in a Traffic Ticket? Not So Fast…

Your heart starts racing while your stomach drops. The steering wheel feels a little harder to grip as the sweat suddenly appears on your hands. Blue lights continue flashing in your rearview as you pull over and put your car in park. Traffic tickets happen, and most of us have the same visceral reaction, even if we aren’t the one who caught the officer’s attention.

Blue Lights

Blue Lights on Police Car

Once it’s over, your body starts to return to normal, but your mind has a new question to answer. What should I do about the ticket? Simply paying it online, in person, or through the mail seems quick and painless. Just get the whole ticket thing behind you, right? Wrong. Read on to learn three potential consequences to pleading guilty to that ticket.

Consequence 1: Pay the ticket, and you might have a new misdemeanor on your record. Yes, you read that correctly. Depending on the speed charged and possibly other charges on your citation, you could actually be pleading guilty to a misdemeanor criminal offense when you pay your ticket.  A misdemeanor is a criminal conviction that will become part of your official criminal history. In many instances, it may need to be disclosed as part of a background investigation for employment.  Finally, if you are convicted of other crimes in the future, this may potentially impact the severity of your sentence.

Consequence 2: Pay the ticket, and you might lose your driver’s license. There are a number of circumstances in North Carolina where paying the ticket as charged results in the suspension of your driver’s license, even if it is your first speeding ticket.  You would quickly find yourself in the unfortunate position of being unable to drive to work, visit the grocery store, or even pick up your kids from school. Don’t make that costly mistake in exchange for skipping time in court to resolve it.  

Consequence 3: Pay the ticket, and you might be paying extra to the insurance company for years. A citation of any kind can have a substantial impact on the cost of your insurance for a significant amount of time.  While there is certainly a cost to hiring an attorney, in most cases, it will offset or negate any long-term expenses associated with increased insurance premiums due to your ticket.

So what can you do to avoid these? The best route is to consult a trusted attorney for proper legal advice. Remember, no attorney, including those at Yadkin Valley Law, can ethically promise any particular result in a criminal or traffic matter.  So, you should never do business with an attorney who does so.  However, an experienced traffic attorney has built the knowledge needed to help you. They are familiar with the court system, the District Attorney’s office, and how to negotiate on your behalf.  In most cases, they can go to court in your place.  They can save you time, money, and unnecessary outcomes. So maybe the next time lights flash in your rearview, your hands won’t get nearly as sweaty. Well, maybe.

The Most Important Reason For An Estate Plan Might Not Be What You Think.

Photo of Woman Thinking
Photo by Matt Reiter on Unsplash

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a prominent French scientist named Jean-Baptiste Leroy, and today, we still may quip to a friend one of the most well-known lines from that letter – “[…] in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And while we joke about this certainty, it remains the one formidable opponent against which no human will stand. But the beauty of this certainty is the ability to plan ahead. But what exactly makes planning your estate so important? Well, we’re glad you asked.  

When confronted with the idea of an estate plan most people think only of death.  However, when you create an estate plan with an experienced attorney, you should be working through the challenging scenarios that can occur before death.  As attorneys, we like to call these the “what if” scenarios. 

What if a car accident leaves me in a coma? What if I have suffered from a stroke so my mind is not functioning normally? What if an injury leaves me unable to communicate, but I’m expected to recover soon?

When asking what if, lots of other questions naturally rise to the surface like, “Who will pay my mortgage and bills?”  “Who will make medical decisions for me?” “Who will care for my children until I am better?” While difficult to ask, these questions need answers.  That’s what your estate plan does. It answers some of life’s most important questions using four important documents: a will, a power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and a living will.  Your individual circumstances may require more, but these four documents are foundational to this advanced planning.

The most important reason for completing your estate plan is to provide a measure of peace that simply cannot be attained otherwise. While the last year has shown us so much, it definitely clarified the importance of preserving mental health in an oftentimes chaotic world. As humans, when we face a difficult situation directly and do so with a well-devised plan, we gain some of the peace necessary to a life well-lived. The stress and anxiety so often associated with being unprepared simply dissipates.  Instead, we rest easy knowing we have asked the hard questions.  We looked ahead, we developed a plan, and we are ready.  In doing so, we preserve not just our own peace but gift it to those whom we love the most. And that’s one certainty we can all live with today.