Bentonville Traffic Violation Lawyer
What You Need to Know
Most people think there is no need to consult an attorney if you get pulled over and are given a simple traffic ticket. In some cases that is correct; it would cost you more to pay an attorney to handle the ticket for you than what you would end up spending just working it out with the prosecutor or judge yourself.
But in other circumstances, you need to think very seriously about what help a skilled Bentonville traffic violation attorney could provide that you just couldn't do for yourself. Considerations shouldn't just be short-term; generally, the attorney will cost more than the ticket. But long-term considerations are usually what people fail to consider; some traffic violations will cause you to lose your driver's license, raise your insurance rates, and even be sentenced to jail.
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Moving Traffic Violations in Bentonville
The judge has the discretion to suspend your driver's license for up to 1 year, require completion of a driver's education course, or retake the driver's test.
Generally first-time offenders of a low-level, like speeding of 5-10 mph over the speed limit or running a stop sign, can handle the case themselves. Simply advising the judge or prosecutor of your clean record will afford you the opportunity to keep the charge off your record. An attorney can negotiate the case for you if there is no defense, and conduct a trial for you if you want to fight the charge.
Punishment for speeding charges comes in a wide range, depending on how many miles per hour over the posted speed limit you were traveling at and where you were driving at the time.
Speeding Ticket Cost in Arkansas
- Less than 15 mph over the limit: up to a $100 fine or up to 10 days in jail for a first offense; up to a $200 fine or up to 20 days in jail for a second offense within 1 year; up to a $500 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail for a third or subsequent offense within 1 year.
- In excess of 15 mph: Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail.
- Speeding in a school zone: for a first offense, a fine of $25-100 and/or up to 10 days in jail; for a second conviction within 1 year a fine of $50-250 and/or 5-25 days in jail and 6 months driver's license suspension; for a third conviction within 1 year a fine of $250-1000 and/or 25 days to 6 months in jail and 1 year driver's license suspension.
- Speeding or ANY OTHER MOVING VIOLATION in a construction zone: the trial judge is required by law to impose an additional fine equivalent to the fine imposed under the moving violation's regular punishment range, thereby doubling the fine.
The faster you were traveling, or the more prior convictions you have, the more likely you need to consult with an attorney. An attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to lower the speed you were alleged to be traveling, or treat a subsequent offense like a first offense. Also, a judge who is inclined to jail a speeder may be less likely to do so if they hire an attorney. Most importantly, sometimes the charge can be kept off your record altogether.
Careless or Reckless Driving
Careless driving is often the type of citation a person will get if they are involved in a wreck, such as a rear-ending, that is deemed to be their fault because of driving in a hazardous manner. Reckless driving is more serious and is often charged in cases of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Careless Driving in Arkansas
- Careless Driving: up to a $100 fine for a first offense; for a second offense within 6 months up to a $200 fine and up to 60 days driver's license revocation; for a third offense within 6 months up to a $200 fine and up to 6 months driver's license revocation.
Reckless Driving in Arkansas
- Reckless Driving: a fine of $25-500 and/or 5-90 days in jail; for a second or subsequent offense within 3 years a fine of $500-1000 and/or 30 days to 6 months in jail.
- Reckless Driving that causes injury: a fine of $100-1000 and/or 30-90 days in jail; if a person has a prior conviction of reckless driving, with or without injury, and a second offense within 3 years occurs and causes injury, then a fine of $500-1000 and/or 60 days to 1 year in jail.
Reckless driving is serious. I do not recommend individuals charged with reckless driving to proceed without an attorney. A jail sentence is almost guaranteed if you do not hire a lawyer to advocate for you.
No Insurance, With or Without an Accident
Minimum insurance is required in Arkansas. You may not be required to maintain insurance that covers your own vehicle in the event of a wreck, but you must have insurance to cover damage done to someone else's vehicle if you are at fault.
- No Insurance: a fine of $50-250; for a second offense (without consideration as to how long ago the first offense was) a fine of $250-500; for a third offense (without consideration to how long ago the first two offenses were) a fine of $500-1000 and/or 1 year in jail. Note that the year in jail is not "up to," but 1 year mandatory.
- Inadequate Insurance with an Accident: if an accident occurs and the operator of a vehicle involved is deemed to have insurance that is inadequate as to state minimums, the person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $2500 fine and/or up to a year in jail. Additionally, the judge can order the vehicle impounded until proof of insurance is provided, and the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the impound fees.
Driving without insurance is heavily stigmatized and can result in stiff penalties. A good attorney can do damage control with you, the victim, the prosecutor, and the judge.
Driver's Licenses: Suspended, Revoked, or Never Had One
To operate a motor vehicle in Arkansas, you are require to possess a valid drivers license. That said, there are a wide variety of charges relating to not having a valid license that land people in court. The charges and their penalties will be determined based on the circumstance around your arrest.
Driving without a driver's license
- a fine up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
Driving with a canceled, suspended (non DWI), or revoked license:
- The law states that a person "shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 2 days nor more than 6 months," and may additionally be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500.
Driving on a suspended license for DWI:
- Driving while intoxicated charges lead to mandatory driver's license suspension unless overturned by Driver Control or a court. If your license is suspended for a DWI and you are caught driving during that suspension, the punishment includes mandatory jail time of at least 10 days and up to 90 days, and a fine of up to $1000.
Attorneys can often work out deals that prevent their clients from going to jail, though some charges are harder to work with than others. If you are charged with one of these offenses, don't try to go it alone.
Contact a Trusted Lawyer Today
Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. It never hurts to see what a qualified attorney has to say. You are not obligated to hire one just because you spoke to them, but putting a little effort in at the beginning could save you all kinds of headaches further down the line.
We proudly serve clients in Northwest Arkansas.
Schedule your free consultation with our skilled & experienced Bentonville traffic violation lawyer, Cody W Dowden.