Many drivers have gotten a traffic ticket at least once in their life, but most do not hire a lawyer to defend them — a move that one attorney says is ill-advised.
That’s according to Wendy Bishop of New York Ticket Defenders, a Mineola-based law firm that specializes in fighting traffic cases ranging from moving violations such as speeding to vehicular crimes such as driving while intoxicated.
“Oftentimes, people are arrested or issued tickets solely because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or unjustifiably stopped because of the way their car looks or frankly, even the way they look,” Bishop says. “Our mission is to give people options — and to educate them. Everyone makes mistakes, and these tickets often have consequences that may last for years.”
Bishop has defended countless drivers in various New York courts over the past 20 years. In that time, she has seen it all.
“Depending on where you get arrested or are given a ticket, it varies what a lawyer can do for you,” she says. “Some courts have better support personnel than others, while some judges are fairer than others … and part of my job is to know which strategy to use in which court to get the best results for my clients.”
One of her many success stories involves a client she represented after his driver’s license was revoked because he ignored traffic tickets for more than 15 years.
“I was able to find all his outstanding tickets — and there were a lot of them — and went to each and every court with him … until we were able to resolve every single one of his tickets,” Bishop recalls. “While he was required to retake the road test and written test, he finally got his license back after not being able to drive for many years. The day that he texted me to let me know that he had his license back was one of the most gratifying days of my legal career.”
Her client’s situation is more common than you would expect.
“Sometimes people bury their heads in the sand and ignore traffic tickets, desk appearance criminal summonses, or even DWI/DUI charges because dealing with these issues seems so daunting,” she says. “But ignoring the problem only makes things worse, because it creates a domino effect of progressively more serious consequences for the motorist.”
Asked what advice she would give people handling their own cases, she issues a sober warning.
“I compare it to when someone feels sick and tries to self-diagnose their illness by looking up their symptoms on the internet,” she says. “Some of the hardest cases I handle are because the clients had already tried to handle their own tickets and made their situation worse.
“A lot of people think they can handle it themselves,” she continues. “That’s a mistake.”
New York Ticket Defenders is located at 305 Willis Ave., Mineola. They can be reached at nyticketdefenders.com or 917-952-4584