Articles Posted in Traffic Court

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New_Jersey_State_Police_Traffic_StopAttorney Thomas C. Nagel has been representing clients charged with Traffic Violations for over 25 years. If you have recently been charged with a traffic violation, Call us NOW. Our goal is to keep your record clean!

We regularly represent clients in Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County and Gwinnett Counties as well as all cities in each county. We regularly appear in Sandy Springs Municipal Court, Roswell Municipal Court, Marietta Municipal Court, Atlanta Municipal Court, Dunwoody Municipal Court, Alpharetta Municipal Court and Smyrna Municipal Court.

Depending on the facts of each case, you will have several options. My initial consultation will lay out all of your options. Plain language, case strategy, education of the law and reasonable fees….. I will help you resolve your legal problems. Don’t wait any longer. You need to be well prepared for court.

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You’ve been charged with a traffic violation, city ordinance violation, been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony and posted bond. What happens next?

ARRAIGNMENT Your first court appearance is called Arraignment. The judge or clerk will make general announcements and explain your basic legal rights. They read each persons name out loud, one at a time. When your name is called, you are expected to enter a plea. The three basic pleas are NOT GUILTY, GUILTY or NOLO-CONTENDERE (NOLO). However, there are many other types of pleas and legal options you may have at that time. You should have your attorney present at the arraignment of your case. Certain legal filings must be done at or before the arraignment.

If you are not sure what to plead, the judge will enter a not guilty plea for you and reset your case for trial. You can also request a reset to consult with an attorney.

NOT GUILTY If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for a trial. You must decide whether you want a judge or a jury trial. If you are charged with a city ordinance violation, you may only be entitled to a judge trial. (Also called a “bench trial”) If you ask for a jury trial, your case will be heard in the state or superior court of the county where the offense occurred.

GUILTY If you plead guilty at the arraignment, your case should be concluded that day and you will be sentenced. Your sentence may include fines and fees, probation or jail time, community service, alcohol and/or drug evaluations or other punishments depending on your charges. In many situations you can pay a fine and your case will be completed. However, if you can’t pay the fine on the day of court, you will be put on probation. Being on probation involves reporting on a regular basis to a probation officer, paying a monthly fee as well as a portion of your fine and showing proof you are complying with the court’s sentence.

NOLO If a plea of nolo is entered, you are not admitting or denying that you committed the crime you’re charged with, but you want to resolve your case without a trial or a plea of guilty. Nolo pleas are discretionary. The judge does not have to accept a nolo plea. If a nolo plea is rejected, you will have to change your plea to guilty, not guilty or another legally accepted plea.

In some situations, a nolo plea will prevent points from going on your Georgia driving record or keep your Georgia driver’s license from being suspended. If you have an out of state driver’s license, a nolo plea to an offense in the State of Georgia may be treated as a guilty plea in your home state and result in points or suspension of your privilege to drive. The nolo plea has been described as a “guilty plea dressed in a tuxedo” meaning that your fine and sentence is the same as a guilty plea. The offense still goes on your driving record but you can avoid points or suspension in certain scenarios. Please note that for individuals under 21 and drivers with prior offenses, nolo pleas may not avoid points on your record or save your license from going into suspension. Nolo pleas can typically be used once every five years per offense. You should consult with a qualified criminal or traffic defense attorney to determine if a nolo plea will benefit you.

PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE In many courts you have the option of requesting a pretrial conference with the prosecutor. This gives you an opportunity to meet with the prosecutor and hear what they are offering as a punishment in your case. You may be able to resolve your case by a mutual agreement. Note however that EVERYTHING you say during a pretrial conference can be used against you at trial or during a plea so you need to be VERY CAREFUL what you say during a pretrial conference. It is STRONGLY advised that you have an attorney represent you at the pretrial conference. There may be a missing piece to the prosecutor’s case and you might provide them with the missing piece. Finally, it is up to the judge as to whether or not he or she will accept any agreement you worked out with the prosecutor.

If you don’t opt for a pretrial conference with the prosecutor and you enter your plea of guilty or nolo contendere on the day of the arraignment, it is up to the judge to determine your final sentence. In the majority of cases, if you hire an attorney, they can determine ahead of time what your likely sentence will be. That gives you ample time to prepare for court and present your case in the best light possible.

If you resolve your case at the arraignment, the court will give you a waiver of rights form to sign. The waiver of rights form lists your constitutional rights including your right to a jury trial. It also states that if you resolve your case at the arraignment, you will be giving up each and every right that you would have if you took your case to trial.

If you think you will save money by not hiring an attorney prior to the arraignment, nothing can be further from the truth. An experienced criminal defense attorney will research your case and determine what evidence is necessary to prove your case. They can identify defenses that may result in your charges being reduced or dismissed. They will shield you from admitting incriminating facts to the prosecutor ensuring you invoke your constitutional right to remain silent. They will prepare you for court. There are many other options available that your attorney may be able to negotiate on your behalf.

As you can see, there are many things an attorney can do to minimize the damage that can occur when you appear in court. Always consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney BEFORE you go to court.
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You got pulled over by Johnny Law. Now what do you do? It will take a week or so before the ticket is registered into the court system. Many citations can be paid online. However, it will probably show up on your driving record as a guilty plea. If you want to avoid this, you will have to appear in court on the date written on your ticket.

When you appear in court, you will have the opportunity to speak with the prosecutor about your case. Many courts will advise you that the prosecutor is a lawyer for the state and cannot give you legal advice. You need to have your own attorney if you want legal advice. Anything you say when you are discussing your case with the prosecutor can be used against you. If you don’t practice law, this is where an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. For example if you are charged with speeding 80 mph in a 65 mph zone and you tell the prosecutor you were only doing 72 mph you just admitted you were driving over the speed limit and violated the law. However, if you are represented by an attorney you don’t have to worry about incriminating yourself and your lawyer can negotiate a resolution of your case without the risk of admitting you violated the law.

You have many options regarding the resolution of your case in traffic court. You can plead guilty, not guilty, nolo, trial by judge and in many cases trial by jury. How you plead is dependent on the facts of your case. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense/traffic court defense lawyer to evaluate your options.

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Thomas C. Nagel Atlanta, Georgia Criminal & Traffic Defense Lawyer
People ask me every week if they need a lawyer for their upcoming traffic court case. If you have a conviction on your driving record within the last three years, you should always consult with an experienced criminal defense traffic court lawyer. Even if you have a perfect record, you should strongly consider consulting an experienced traffic court attorney to represent you in your case. Once you have a record you no longer have the benefit of a being a first offender.

Georgia CDL license holders and drivers of company vehicles should always consult with a lawyer prior to attending court. This is because insurance companies scrutinize the driving records of these drivers. Insurance companies use your Georgia driving record to determine what insurance rates you or your company pay. They typically look back three years when determining your insurance rate.

There are situations where you don’t need an attorney to represent you in court. Call me to discuss your traffic ticket and find out if it would be beneficial for us to represent you in your case.

Attorney Thomas C. Nagel has been representing clients charged with Traffic Violations for over 20 years. If you have recently been charged with a traffic violation, Call us NOW. Our goal is to keep your record clean!

We regularly represent clients in Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County and Gwinnett Counties as well as all cities in each county. We regularly appear in Sandy Springs Municipal Court, Roswell Municipal Court, Marietta Municipal Court, Atlanta Municipal Court, Dunwoody Municipal Court, Alpharetta Municipal Court and Smyrna Municipal Court.

Depending on the facts of each case, you will have several options. My initial consultation will lay out each option. Plain language, case strategy, education of the law and reasonable fees. I will help you resolve your legal problems. Don’t wait any longer. You need to be well prepared for court.

I will help you get your Georgia Drivers License or driving privileges restored. In many cases I can get your charges reduced and even dismissed. That means getting your license back and avoiding harsh penalties, jail time and further suspension of your driving privileges.
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