What happens when you are charged with a traffic offence usually depends on whether you plead guilty or are found guilty by the court. It also depends on how serious the charge is. Not all charges result in jail time. It is a good idea to consult with criminal lawyers to find out what will happen and whether you will need legal representation at the trial.
For less serious charges you may not have to attend court, but then it is possible that you may be convicted. If you don’t go to court you will have to phone the court registry after the hearing to see what the verdict was. If you get a Notice of the court hearing, that means you don’t have to attend, but can if you want to.
If you receive a Summons for the court hearing, then attendance is legally required. Also, if you receive paperwork entitled Police Bail or Court Bail, you have to attend court.
It is possible to go to court and represent yourself if the charges are not serious enough to result in jail time. For instance, you might be disqualified from driving for a certain time, or you may lose points from your licence, or even be required to do community service of some kind.
However, if it is a serious offence that will very likely attract a jail sentence, it is imperative that a criminal lawyer represent you. You should take advice from the lawyer even before you enter a plea. They will advise you of the best plea to enter; guilty or not guilty. They also know legal ways to argue in your favour and may be able to ensure you are given the minimum sentence rather than a harsher one.
You can find out what charges various traffic offences attract by contacting a lawyer or researching the matter online. The court is required to apply the minimum penalty for the offence and they may even sentence you to a harsher one, depending on the circumstances and whether you have had any prior convictions, but they cannot legally give you a lighter sentence.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can ask for a Duty Lawyer to represent you on the day of your court hearing. If none are available, you can ask to have your case adjourned until one is available.
Being charged with an offence and having to go to court is not a pleasant thing. Worse still, it can affect your future in many ways and may even prevent you being chosen for that dream job. That is why it is a good idea to take care when driving that you don’t commit traffic offences, then you won’t have to worry about it.