If an Albuquerque police officer stops you for committing a traffic violation, your first instinct may be to apologize, accept the ticket and pay it. While doing so may be the easiest way to resolve the matter, it is not the most beneficial. The team at Simon A. Kubiak, Attorney At Law, PC, is familiar with the consequences of a traffic violation and how they can impact a person’s finances, driving record and, possibly, career. We are also familiar with the best defense strategies to traffic violations and have helped hundreds of clients work toward the best possible outcome.
Pleading Guilty at the Roadside
In New Mexico, when an officer stops you for a traffic offense, you are faced with an immediate decision: Plead guilty at the roadside and accept the fine or elect to appear in court. If you choose the former option, an automatic conviction will go on your record. Notification of the conviction will go directly to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, which is likely to result in points on your driving record. Points on your driving record can have three possible consequences:
- Increased insurance rates
- Harm to your credit score
- Loss of employment
Unfortunately, if you plead guilty at the roadside and sign the ticket, you cannot take it back. However, if you opt for a court appearance and later change your mind, you can always plead guilty later. You have nothing to lose by telling the officer you want to take the matter to court.
Request a Hearing
If you do not plead guilty at the roadside, you must then make another choice: To request a mitigation hearing or request a contested hearing. A mitigation hearing gives you the opportunity to seek a reduced fine. At the very least, the judge may order community service in lieu of the fine or devise a payment plan to make the fine more manageable. You cannot appeal the judge’s decision.
You may want to request a contested hearing if you want to plead “not guilty” to the alleged violation. Before you decide against this, know that one in four tickets is issued in error, yet only 5% of drivers contest them.
Consult With an Attorney
Before you decide how to proceed, consult with an experienced Albuquerque traffic violations defense lawyer. Simon A. Kubiak, Attorney At Law, PC, has a reputation for protecting the rights of the accused regardless of how trivial or significant the charges are. For the knowledgeable and aggressive representation your case deserves, contact our firm today.