Local Traffic Tickets
Westlake Ticket Dismissal - Tougher Than It Used To Be
As defense attorneys, our holy grail is to get an outright dismissal of the charges against our clients. Of course, trying to get an outright dismissal applies to traffic tickets as well! An outright Westlake ticket dismissal is always our first thought when approaching a new case. However, getting a Westlake ticket dismissal is harder to get than it used to be and doubly tough if you represent yourself without an attorney.
In Westlake, it used to be a lot easier. Frankly, in the past, some municipal courts were a mess and in disarray. For example, as of four years ago, you had about a 50-50 chance of getting a dismissal of a Dallas ticket very easily.
However, that was then. Recognizing a problem that needed to be fixed, most municipal courts have made investments and a long-term effort to modernize and improve the courts and the whole process of how tickets are adjudicated.
Several things in the revamped municipal court process make Westlake ticket dismissals harder to get. For example, the radical improvements in the courts' information systems means police officers are better scheduled for their court appearances and therefore miss far fewer court dates. Also, video evidence is now much more common as well as other technical innovations that result in more efficient court operations and even higher conviction rates.
Outright Westlake ticket dismissals are much harder to get now.
In another example, in fiscal year 2012, the rate of dismissals in Dallas municipal courts was 48% but will drop to only 11% this fiscal year. A chart contained in a report to the Dallas Public Safety Committee clearly shows the story:
Similar trends are common in many other municipal courts.
Also note that the number of tickets being written are much lower recently but is still around 200,000 tickets per year (74% of them are traffic tickets). While fewer tickets are currently being written, there are indications that those that are being written are what the police consider "higher quality tickets" with better evidence, better information and commitments by police to schedule court appearances; and therefore more likely to end in convictions.
Outright dismissals are indeed getting much harder to get.
Elsewhere in this same report are other significant news about people who get tickets and either forget about them or ignore them:
- There is now a renewed focus on quickly issuing warrants for people who forget or ignore their tickets, and more resources being added for warrant enforcement. This includes hiring additional city marshals in many cities to expand the existing sworn force of officers whose job is to actively seek out people with open municipal court warrants and make arrests. The expansion of the City Marshals services aren't for a once-a-year warrant roundup but a continuous 365-day-a-year enforcement effort. Also, there will be an increased use of new technology such as automatic license plate readers and cameras in police cars to automatically identify people on the road with outstanding arrest warrants so they can be stopped as they are found simply driving on the streets. Those arrested will be taken to jail.
- Also, there is a much more effective contracted collection agencies focused on sending letters, postcards and making telephone calls to people whose tickets have gone into warrant status but haven't yet been arrested. This is not only irksome for you to be on the receiving end of a collection effort (also a collection effort with the power of arrest behind it), but it will also significantly increase the fees you will have to pay to clear your ticket. In addition to the ticket fine and normal court costs for tickets going into warrant, you will also face warrant fees and collection fees for each ticket. These fees are significant.
Bottom line, it is getting much more expensive for a ticket going into warrant and there is a much greater chance of you being arrested for one or more open warrants.
With outright Westlake ticket dismissals harder to get and increased costs and risks of ignoring tickets, you need a skilled and experiences traffic ticket attorney to protect your interests more than ever.
You Need a Skilled Attorney To Help With Westlake Ticket Dismissals
As Westlake ticket dismissals get tougher and tougher to get, you will need the help of a skilled attorney experienced in getting dismissals. We want to provide every chance that your ticket is one of the 11% that will be dismissed this year!
You simply can no longer depend on the police officer who wrote the ticket not showing up in court. Now, they almost always appear when scheduled. Also, police training and technology has all but eliminated defectively-written tickets. In other words, you simply won't "luck into" a Westlake ticket dismissal any more. Someone on your side will have to actively work (and work hard) for a Westlake ticket dismissal.
The deck is stacked against you already by the improvements in Westlake policing and municipal courts, so you will need all of the help you can get to even have a chance of a dismissal. Pro-se representation (representing yourself) takes a lot of your time and may result in a conviction despite your best efforts and you paying higher fine amounts.
You need a professional attorney working on your side who knows not only the law, but court procedures and the prosecutors as well.
We have a large municipal bar practice and work with these courts and prosecutors every day. This experience means we can give you every advantage in seeking a Westlake ticket dismissal.
Also, we can use some of the recent improvements of the courts systems to work in your favor. The recent improvements now give Westlake traffic defense attorneys more tools to work with on your behalf such as specialty dockets and pretrial hearings. Even the pretrial process puts a premium on having an attorney representing you who is experienced with dealing with prosecutors in the court procedures.
We will try for a dismissal, even aggressively defend your rights. Working hard for your Westlake ticket dismissal is just something we do.
Other Favorable Outcomes
Even with our experience and knowledge of the law, court proceedings and the prosecutors, we may not be able to get your Westlake ticket dismissed. In some cases, the evidence may be too strong and the witnesses too credible.
Contrary to a popular urban legend, no attorney can "fix" a ticket; it is actually against the law to use anything except the law and court procedures in seeking a Westlake ticket dismissal. Also, by the cannon of ethics of the Texas Bar, we can't even promise you a guaranteed outcome. What we can promise is that we will aggressively enforce your rights under the law and see that the letter of the law is observed in all respects in your case.
If we can't get an outright Westlake ticket dismissal, we do have other alternatives that are far better than "just paying the ticket" that will save your time, effort, money and save your driving record as well.
First, we can seek, and often get, reduced fines and fees that are significantly less that the window fine if you just paid your ticket.
Second, in addition to reduced fines, we can also seek deferred adjudication so that if you abide by the terms of the court for a specified period of time, disposing of the ticket won't result in a conviction and it will not adversely affect your driving record. The State of Texas has a “Point System” that affects your right to hold and maintain a Texas driver’s license. You are charged “Points” against your driving record if you are convicted of certain traffic violations. The number of “Points” charged varies depending on the type of traffic violation you are given, but ranges from one (1) to six (6) points. A Texas driver gets 2 points for most traffic violation convictions (3 points if a crash is involved). “Points” remain on a driver’s record for 3 years. Accumulating points on your driving record can result in huge “surcharges” assessed by the Texas Department of Public Safety and a possible driver’s license suspension. If that happens, you cannot legally drive an automobile in Texas. Protecting your driving record through an outright Westlake ticket dismissal or some sort of deferred adjudication is important
Deferred adjudication not only protects your driving record, it can save you money as well. First, keeping your driving record clean saves any increases in your insurance rates resulting from a conviction. Also, not having a conviction can save you from being charged significant Department of Public Safety surcharges that are on top of the court fines and fees. If you "just pay" your traffic ticket, it automatically results in a conviction on your driving record; you are pleading "guilty" of the ticket offense. You might have a very unpleasant surprise down the road when you find out, after you have paid your fine and court costs, that you still owe the State of Texas several more hundreds of dollars in surcharges which, if unpaid, means you can't renew your drivers license or your vehicles' registrations.
While not an outright Westlake ticket dismissal, these other favorable outcomes are significant, important and a much more desirable outcome than if you simply paid the window fine for your ticket.
Westlake Ticket Dismissals and Other Favorable Outcomes Are Still Available Even If Your Ticket Is In Warrant
If your unpaid ticket (or tickets) are in an active open warrant as "alias warrants," outright dismissals and other favorable outcomes are still available to you.
If you have one or more open alias warrants for your arrest, we will immediately post an attorney bond and have your warrant (or warrants) lifted so you are no longer in danger of being arrested. We will also send a notice of representation to the court, enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf and set your traffic ticket case for a court pretrial hearing.
We will then meet with your case's prosecutors in the pretrial process and try for an outright dismissal based on the facts of the case and the law. If we can't get a Westlake ticket dismissal, you will have two options:
- We can go to trial and try the case on its merits, or
- Seek a settlement of the case with a reduced fines and fees and even attempt at deferred adjudication to keep any conviction off your driving record so it doesn't increase you insurance rate or make you subject to expensive state surcharges.
In every event, your rights will be protected and we will seek on your behalf the most favorable outcome possible.