Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CRIMINAL: Traffic Tickets in the Las Vegas Valley

The Las Vegas Valley has four jurisdictions within which to get a moving violation: Clark County (Justice Court Jurisdiction), Las Vegas (Las Vegas Municipal Court Jurisdiction), Henderson (Henderson Municipal Court Jurisdiction), and North Las Vegas (North Las Vegas Municipal Court Jurisdiction).

Thus, our little metropolis has four parts patrolled by police that belong to each jurisdiction. Las Vegas Metro cruises around Las Vegas and Clark County, however the cops in Henderson stick to Henderson and the cops in North Las Vegas stick to North Las Vegas.

When you get a citation, one of the first things to look for on the citation is which jurisdiction you are in. It is possible that the cop cited you outside of his jurisdiction. If so, do not argue with the "peace" officer because it could ruin your day, if not your life. Instead, smile warmly, thank him for protecting public safety, and take the ticket to an attorney who will argue the jurisdiction issue before a judge or district attorney who will likely dismiss the citation or greatly reduce the severity--say reducing it from speeding 25 mph over the limit to a parking ticket.

You should consider a few things when you receive a ticket. Yes, you are probably guilty. If you are guilty, you committed a crime. The crime is a misdemeanor, which is the least severe crime to be charged with. Even though a fine is usually the punishment, jail time and community service are also at the Judge's disposal, along with requiring traffic school, and points on your driving record--which can result increased insurance premiums.

If it makes you feel better, consider it not a punishment but a user tax. If you use your vehicle a certain way, expect to pay a tax for doing so. The jurisdictions raise revenue through these user taxes. We live in a state that has no personal income tax, so be grateful about that. However, do not ignore the court appearance date or you could be faced with a "bench warrant" for your arrest. This is not fun because you will likely go to jail if stopped again. In addition, an attorney will charge extra to quash the warrant.

Please note, the worst thing you can do is act upset with the police officer who stopped you. They may treat you very poorly, they may search your person (it's called a "Terry Pat Down Search") to look for a weapon or drugs...likewise they may search the passenger compartment of your car all in the name of officer safety. They may do these things on their own initiative, but if they ask to search, politely refuse to consent. If they have to ask, then they probably do not have the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do it without your consent. It is not wise to consent to a search because cops can literally tear your car apart as part of the search. And then there is the possibility that someone left contraband in your car that you were never aware of-try denying it is yours-I dare you. Cops, district attorneys, and judges have heard that argument a hundred billion times. The best thing to do is to not consent to a search no matter how innocent you believe you are.

Officers are sometimes known to violate Civil Rights and the law, but they have the guns and their buddies in blue to back them up, therefore it is in your interest to be on their best side. The best revenge for a traffic ticket is to hire a lawyer to represent your interest at the courthouse.

Usually lawyers can settle the ticket and you'll end up only having to pay a fine. If you are the type of person to get tickets all over the valley, you should note that some jurisdictions have much heftier fines than others do. I will not tell you which because I want you to be on your best behavior while driving at all times, but just know that a ticket in one part of town may be 5 times more expensive than in another part of town--even after the ticket has been reduced.

My public service message to you is to treat the ticket like a user tax, smile at the officer politely so that you can live to pay the fine. Most importantly, hire my firm to represent you for your traffic citation. By doing so, you will not have to appear in court-which could be an all day affair for you and I think you probably have better things to do. Call me and ask us what we charge, I firmly believe that when you know what you get from an attorney for the money you pay, you will deem it worthwhile to hire an attorney for your tickets.

Attorney Anthony M. Wright is a traffic ticket attorney with The Wright Law Offices, PC located in Las Vegas, Nevada, near Green Valley Henderson. Attorney Wright represents clients in Clark County, NV in all jurisdictions in which a person gets a traffic citation. Attorney Wright represents clients from the Las Vegas Valley, across the United States, and all over the world. Call us at 702-809-6904 if you want affordable representation for your traffic ticket. 

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