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Onpointlegal, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 545
Experience:  Attorney with 20+ years of experience
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Do you need to be a licensed attorney to represent somebody ...

Customer Question

Do you need to be a licensed attorney to represent somebody in traffic court in the state of California? (San Diego County)
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 8 years ago.
As in most legal proceedings, you can represent yourself, without an attorney in traffic court. Whether you should hire an attorney is another issue...generally traffic court is pretty straight forward and, assuming the charge is an infraction (as opposed to a midemeanor), the potential consequences of being found guilty are low enough (a fine and some points on your license) that the expense of an attorney is not worth it. But, if the consequences are higher (for example, if the number of points you might get are enough that you might lose your license), you might want to consult an attorney.

Certainly, if it is a misdemeanor charge (e.g., reckless driving, DUI, open container), you might want to get an attorney. A misdemeanor conviction is serious and will impact you for life. And the punishment could include jail time.

I don't think it could be a felony charge in traffic court... if it is though I would very, very strongly suggest getting an attorney.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Onpointlegal's Post: I understand that. I was wondering if I was allowed to represent somebody in traffic court despite the fact that I am not a licensed attorney. The charge is an infraction.
Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 8 years ago.
Are you the parent of the person who received the ticket?

If you are the parent, I am certain the court would allow you to be present and to speak. In fact, the court would probably appreciate it. The court may still require hearing from your son/daughter, but would also allow you to be heard.

But, otherwise, generally no. Only attorneys can represent a party in court -- even traffic court.

Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 8 years ago.
Hi, I hope I have answered your question.

If need any additional information, please let me know.

Otherwise, I would appreciate your pressing ACCEPT so this question can be closed and I can be paid.

I wish you the best.