Yes, the Law Applies to You, Too

Sometimes, a blog post isn’t as much about providing relevant legal information to help the public and to bolster my SEO; sometimes, a blog post is about me ranting. I hear it’s called “catharsis,” so if there’s a fancy word for it, it must be OK.

One of the reasons I’m thinking about not handling traffic tickets in Orange and Chatham and Durham Counties anymore is because people think they’re special. Thankfully, for the most part, my clients are understanding, patient, and humble human beings who understand that they’ve been caught breaking a rule that’s there for the safety of all of us and there are going to be some consequences. Those clients I love! They hire me to help mitigate those consequences, guide them through the process, and soften their landing on the other side of it. That’s something I’m happy to do as an attorney. Those clients are grateful for the help I provide and glad I could make the outcome better than it would have been. What I’m not happy to do anymore is to explain to a 40 year old white man that the law does, in fact, apply to him and he must, in fact, comply with it or he will, in fact, face consequences, despite his social standing and delusion that his white mediocrity somehow insulates him from the social contract.

Here is the reality: Speed limits are enforceable by law. Speeding is a “strict liability” offense, meaning your intent isn’t a necessary element of the crime. In order to prove in court that you were speeding (and therefore breaking a law) the ONLY evidence necessary is for the law enforcement officer to say he saw you driving and it’s his/her opinion that you were speeding. That’s it. That’s admissible evidence and sufficient to prove the commission of a crime. If a judge hears that they can, and often will, convict you of speeding.

So let’s say you’re charged with, I don’t know, let’s say a 66 in a 45. That’s 21 mph over the speed limit. If you’re convicted of that, DMV will revoke your license. You’ll also have a huge increase in your auto insurance premiums. What sounds better, that outcome above, OR you doing a driving school online for a few hours and having your charge reduced to a non-moving violation that won’t get you any DMV or Insurance points and your driver license will be saved? CLEARLY the latter is the better outcome, right?

The problem with the entitled members of our population is that they think they’re too special to do a driving school. They think, at least subconsciously, that they should be insulated from consequences because of whatever their mom or society has so far told them and that they shouldn’t have to face any repercussions for their mistake. The irony is that if you talk to many of these folks about crime and punishment in the abstract, they’re generally all for super strict law enforcement and draconian punishments for other people who break laws, but when they are the ones in trouble, all of a sudden the “system is broken,” or “this is bullshit.” Maybe both of those are true, but welcome to reality, friend.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’re wrongly accused of a crime, I am all for you getting a solid defense and having your day in court. But speeding tickets are, for the most part, fairly written. And in terms of relative effort, the path of compliance – getting me to work a plea deal out to save you money and save your license – is FAR better and simpler then you facing a trial for a ticket.

The bottom line is that there’s a segment of the population that thinks that the law shouldn’t apply to them. They think that other people should have to obey the rules but they should, for whatever reason, get a pass when they screw up. That’s what’s wrong with banana republics, my dude. When the law doesn’t apply to some, it help anyone. The best legal system fairly and reliably applies to EVERYONE.

If you get a ticket, suck it up and get some help. Hire a lawyer who knows the lay of the land and can help you mitigate the consequences of your mistake. Do what the lawyer says. Do not call the lawyer or email the lawyer and whine about “But it’s my first ticket!” or “But I only bumped into that old lady!” or “But it’s SOOOO easy to do 80 in my Lambo!” or you’ll run the risk of sounding like an entitled 5 year old. Let the lawyer guide you, follow their instructions, jump through the goddamn hoops like a responsible adult, and understand that the law does apply to you, too, pumpkin.

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Contact Jeffrey

Jeffrey Allen Howard, Attorney at Law, PLLC
1829 E. Franklin St. - Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(P) 919-929-2992
(F) 919-636-4779

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