Well, after getting about 30 postal letters from lawyers in the area telling me how serious a “reckless driving” charge is, I decided to hire a lawyer. I didn’t call on any that had sent me the advertisements. I went online and did some research and found Mark Nicewicz, Esq.
I called Mark’s office and his receptionist put me through to him. Mark and I talked and he suggested that it was such an easy case that I didn’t really need a lawyer. But I asked what the benefit would be and he said “peace of mind that you will won’t get caught up in misrepresenting yourself in front of the judge which might lead to a postponement and a search to find witnesses.”
So, after talking to Mark I thought he seemed genuine and so I hired him. The fee was $600 flat rate and he took all of the information about the accident. I paid the $600 to his receptionist over the phone and he sent me a retainer letter.
On March 15, I drove to Leesburg and found the courthouse. I went up to the court and it was locked so I sat outside on a bench. Officer Lake was there in a small room preparing his documents. Other people that had accidents in the same area were all there so this session was probably just Officer Lake’s citations. Turns out that just about everyone that was there had an almost identical accident to mine.
At 8:00 the court opened and we all went in and took seats. AT 8:30 the judge didn’t show but the prosecuting attorney did as did the bailiff, the court recorder, and Officer Lake. Mark (my lawyer) went straight into the office of the prosecuting attorney and told me to tell the Judge that I have a lawyer and would like to pass if I get called before Mark returned.
At about 8:40 the phone on the bench rang and we all overheard the bailiff as he answered the phone and told the judge that we were in court 2F and not 1D. So, we waited a bit longer. By the time the judge got to the court, my lawyer had finished up and came into the court room to sit down beside me.
Mark explained that the prosecutor had read the report from the officer and my statements and had reduced the charge to “general equipment failure” which carried a $250 fine and 0 points. I didn’t know what to think but I figured that it was better than I would have done had I tried to talk on my own.
Then the judge arrived and they called the first person. Same exact accident as mine on the same day. It was raining, someone stopped short, the person ran into them and was charged with reckless. The woman pleaded “guilty with explanation” and the judge listened. He then said “I will reduce the charge to “improper” which carries a $50 fine and 3 points. How do you plead?” and the lady said “guilty”. The next guy was called and the exact same scenario played out.
Then the prosecutor came into the court and handed the bailiff a yellow piece of paper. The bailiff handed it to the court recorder who then put it on the top of the stack. Mark leaned over and said “that is your case”.
They were going in alphabetical order by last name and were still in the “A’s”. But as soon as they finished the next case, they called me up. Mark and I walked up to the bar and the judge said “How do you plead on the reduced charge of general equipment failure with a $250 fine and 0 points” and Mark said “guilty your honor”. The judge then told the bailiff to give me a card to pay the clerk and then dismissed us.
Mark walked with me down to the clerks office and explained that $250 and 0 points is a lot better than $50 and 3 points and that now my insurance wouldn’t be affected. That is when I realized that the lawyer was well worth it.
We were done by 9am and I went to work.