Steps to Contesting a Traffic Ticket

Police officer writing a ticket for woman sitting in the car

You may think a traffic ticket is merely a costly inconvenience, but some traffic violations can have substantial consequences. Being charged with a DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and other serious traffic violations can lead to a revoked or suspended license, costly fines and even jail time. Seeking the counsel of experienced lawyers who handle traffic tickets in Pennsylvania may help you get charges reduced or dismissed and lower the number of points that are placed on your license. These four steps for contesting a traffic ticket can help you understand how the legal process works when you receive a traffic ticket.

1. Pay Attention to Points

Pennsylvania uses a point system for traffic violations. The more serious the violation; the more points placed against your driver’s license. Points for multiple minor violations can also add up quickly and put your driver’s license, auto insurance coverage and even your livelihood at risk. Serious offenses such as speeding in an active work zone can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

2. Be Polite to Law Enforcement

It may seem obvious, but being rude or belligerent with a police officer will not help your case. Comply with the officer’s requests and respond politely and calmly. If you are apologetic and compliant, many officers will issue a citation for violation of PA Motor Vehicle Code Section 3111, Obedience to Traffic Control Devices instead of speeding, which will help you avoid putting points on your license.

3. Promptly Contest the Citation

If you believe you received an unfair ticket you can challenge it in court. To submit a not guilty plea, check the “not guilty” box and date and sign the citation. Mail it to the court that is listed on the citation in the specified time frame, which is typically 10 days. If you do not pay or respond to a citation within this period of time a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

4. Hire an Attorney

If you don’t feel confident about contesting your ticket yourself, it is vital to hire an experienced traffic violations attorney, which is often less expensive than paying hefty fines and higher insurance rates. Having a lawyer in your corner also increases the chances of charges and fines being reduced or dismissed.

Your attorney will review your driving record and the facts of the incident for potential problems with human error, traffic control and enforcement devices. If you are facing criminal charges such as DUI or were involved in a motor vehicle accident, criminal lawyers should handle your case.

An attorney will take care of negotiations with all involved parties, which may include the officer who issued the citation, the judge and/or district attorney; and will appear in court to handle the resolution of your case. If you are convicted, he or she can also file a summary appeal of your traffic conviction to the Court of Common Pleas to have charges dismissed or reduced.

If you have been charged with a traffic violation, our skilled West Chester criminal lawyer will protect your rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

When Bankruptcy is Not the Best Option

Concerned businessman at work looking at negative business chart with arrow going downwards.

The stress that comes with being buried in debt can be overwhelming, and many people facing high credit card balances, possible foreclosure and repossession of other assets believe that bankruptcy is their only option to repair their credit problems. In many cases, this is simply not true.

Unsecured debts such as credit card balances are typically dischargeable in bankruptcy, but some debts are not. Student loans, child support and some tax debt will not be wiped when you file bankruptcy. If you are facing financial difficulties, seeking the counsel of local bankruptcy attorneys who are knowledgeable about bankruptcy laws in PA can give you a clearer understanding of your options for reducing or eliminating your debt.

When Bankruptcy May Not Be For You

Your debt is high, but not overwhelming. There are a few ways to bring down your debt without filing bankruptcy. If you own an expensive home or vehicle, selling them and buying a house or car that is more affordable can be a viable option to reduce your debt. It can improve or keep your credit intact and allow you to finance a new car at a reasonable interest rate. Although filing bankruptcy may wipe out your unsecured debt, if the majority of your debt is secured debt like car loans, it is possible that you will lose what you have paid into the loan and the car itself. When you go to buy a new car with a recent bankruptcy in your credit history, you will have to pay significantly higher interest rates.

If you have a decent amount of equity in your home, selling your home or refinancing your mortgage could also help you pay off unsecured debt such credit card balances as well.

You qualify for a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate. With a debt consolidation loan, all of your outstanding unsecured credit accounts are consolidated into a new loan with one monthly payment. Before you apply for a consolidation loan, it is vital to consult with an attorney at a bankruptcy law firm who can help you determine which option will most effectively help you clear up your debt.

It’s also important to note that if you own a home you may be required to use it as collateral for a debt consolidation loan. If this is the case, filing bankruptcy may be a better option. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is similar to a debt consolidation loan in that it works as a repayment plan that consolidates all of your debt into one monthly payment. Although filing bankruptcy may affect your credit for a period of time, you won’t have to worry about being taken for a ride by a disreputable company or paying a lot more interest to get yourself out of debt.

If you are unsure about whether bankruptcy is right for you, our experienced West Chester bankruptcy Lawyers at Carosella & Associates can help you get your finances back on track.

7 Common Misconceptions About FSBO

The words For Sale By Owner on a home or house for sale sign put out by the homeowner who is also the seller

The number of Americans who are choosing to sell their homes by owner (FSBO) is rising. There are quite a few misconceptions about FSBO, and having a good understanding of what the selling process entails can alleviate stress and make it seem much less daunting.

1. You Need a Realtor to Accurately Price Your Home

It is easier than ever to determine how much to ask for your home. Many real estate websites list property values online–check out a few different sites to find out prices of comparable homes in your area; then come up with a reasonable number that’s not too high or too low.

2. A Realtor Has Special Skills and Resources to Market Your Home

Again, online resources can empower you to sell on your own. Most home buyers begin house hunting online, so posting your home on FSBO sites, Craigslist and other websites can give you all the exposure you need. Make sure to include plenty of good photographs of the inside and outside of your home, and include all pertinent information about your home, schools and the neighborhood.

3. Only a Realtor Can List a Home on the MLS

This is simply not true. For a flat, one-time fee, discount brokers and websites will put a FSBO home on the local MLS, which gives agents, brokers and buyers an easy way to find it.

4. FSBO Takes Longer to Sell

Regardless of whether you use an agent or broker, selling a home takes time and effort. As long as you get your home properly prepared for sale, respond to inquiries and schedule showings promptly, it shouldn’t take any longer to sell your home FSBO than it would if you used an agent.

5. It’s Easier to Schedule Showings and Open Houses With a Real Estate Agent

Scheduling showings and open houses according to your schedule instead of a realtor’s actually makes it easier. Meeting and talking with prospective buyers and their agents can also add a personal touch that may lead to a quick sale.

6. Negotiating is Difficult Without an Agent

While it’s true that most real estate agents are skilled at negotiating a sales price, a seasoned real estate attorneycan also negotiate on your behalf, and will always have your best interests in mind.

7. You Need an Agent or Broker to Draft Documents and Arrange a Closing

Many real estate agents use attorneys to draft and review real estate purchase agreements and other transaction-related documents. Hiring a skilled real estate lawyer to review contracts and draft other important documents can cost a lot less than paying a realtor a 3-6 percent commission fee while still ensuring that the entire transaction is completed accurately and all legal bases are covered.

An experienced for sale by owner lawyer can help you develop a successful strategy for selling your home and ensure that your rights are protected from listing to closing. If you are interested in selling or buying a home, our experienced West Chester real estate lawyers at Carosella & Associates can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected from start to finish.