Almost 90% of the citations in Wake County are for traffic violations
According to the data I just pulled today from our website's court data feed, there were about 8,000 vehicle offenses in Wake County in the month of October 2015 (and we still have a couple days left!) I then did a search for all offenses charged and found that number to be about 9,000. Wow! So the vast majority of what the cops are doing around here concerns traffic violations. No wonder every traffic lawyer in wake county is keeping busy!
But with so many lawyers out there, how do you choose the one that's right for you? I have to say, for me it comes down to just a few things: Needless to say, the lawyer you select ought to be competent to do the job. If that ain't the case, you better keep in looking! But beyond that, what do you look at? Here's my two cents.
- First: Is he a decent guy/gal? I mean, when you talk to him or her is he an arrogant asshole? Does he even bother to take your call? Do you always have to deal with a paralegal or an assistant? When you call the office or email them do you get a pretty quick return call or is it a total dead end? All this is important to me and I believe it ought to be important to every lawyer. We have a job that is very much a “people profession”. If you don't like dealing with people, up close and personal, go find another line of work my friend.
- Second: The lawyer you select ought to be priced reasonably. And here it really is a question of what your own definition of “reasonable” is. But whatever it is, it needs to include the idea that what a lawyer charges should be related to how complicated the case is and what you need done. Maybe that's hard to answer without knowing what is involved in doing your case exactly, however, that may be one of those things that you can ask the lawyer you plan to hire. Just how difficult is your case? What precisely are you paying for? Personally, I have no problem telling my clients exactly what I plan to do in each case, and, to the extent I can do it, even tell them what they can do themselves to NOT have a lawyer. Here's a for instance: If you get a ticket for causing a minor accident, usually the DA will toss it if you can show the insurance paid the other guy. Now if you want me to get the letter and go to court, I can, but it's not any magic that I'm doing; you can easily do it yourself. You're really just paying me to stand in your place so you can go to work etc etc. But I give the client the option. He retains me (or not) based on a real knowledge of what it is he's buying.
- Third and last is for me is a really important one: Is this guy a guy who can really put your interests ahead of his own? By this I really mean pro-bono. Going back to my example of the little car accident, if you go in with the letter already in hand, on a day when the lawyer knows he has court, and you explain to him that you can't pay because of some financial hardship, would he agree to wait and get paid? Would he do it for a reduced rate? Would he do it for free? When we become lawyers, we take an oath to help the community and do pro bono when we can. My own test for “is he a good lawyer” is probably this one more than anything: can he put his own financial interests in the back seat? Be careful now: I'm not saying that all lawyers should do this in every case, but I can say that if, in a given circumstance you find a guy who can help you out when you need it, without his fee being the first thought in his mind, maybe that's the guy you should go see when you do have some dough. IMHO every traffic lawyer Wake County has to offer needs to read this blog and make it a part of his business plan:
- Be humble
- Be accessible
- Be reasonable in your fees
Be generous with your services for those who need them urgently and can't always put cash on the barrelhead. If nothing else, think of Kharma: Doing the right thing is always best. It's not always easy. But we didn't go to law school because it was easy.