Legal Thursday – Alabama Traffic Citations Advice

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Question:  I got a traffic ticket the other day.  What should I do?

Answer:  First, make sure you mark the date for your court appearance on your calendar so that you do not miss your court appearance.  A failure to appear can lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest and additional fines and court costs.  The citation will tell you the date, time and location of your court appearance.  Citations issued by State Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies are heard in the District Court of the County of issuance.  Citations issued by police officers are heard in the Municipal Court of the city of issuance.  Do not miss your court appearance for any reason!

Almost all courts; including Helena, Pelham, Alabaster, and Hoover, allow first time traffic offenders the option to attend a defensive driving school class. The court upon completion of the class will dismiss the citation.  This means that you will not incur points on your license and your insurance provider will not raise your premiums.  Simply go to your court date and request defensive driving school or follow the Judge’s directions usually given at the beginning of the session.  The class is usually 2-4 hours long depending on the jurisdiction.

If it is not your first offense you can always elect to pay the traffic citation either by mail or in person.  This is an admission of guilt and will result in points added to your license and likely higher insurance premiums.  However, you will save the payment of court costs and the time involved with going to court.  This is your best option if you are going to plead guilty at court.

If it is not your first offense and you want to dispute your citation you may have a trial where you may offer evidence and witness testimony.  You should contact a local attorney familiar with that court to represent you for any court proceeding especially trials.

Send your legal questions to Brian Davidson at



Lawyer Thursdays – Neighbors, On-Line Wills & Annexation

Welcome to the first edition of Lawyer Thursdays!  Thank you to Helena’s own Hewy Nosleep for allowing the Davidson Law Firm to answer your legal questions on his daily blog.  No Sleep in Helena Alabama : The Events of Helena Alabama: Groundhog, Giving and Legal Thursday is the link to his blog and this edition.  There were some really great legal questions asked.  You can submit your legal question to any time.  Please put “Lawyer Thursdays” in the subject line as I also receive many emails through my website at www.  You may also call Davidson Law Firm at 685-4822 or come by the office located in Old Towne Helena.  Without further ado:

Question: My neighbor’s across the street have visitors who park on the sidewalk next to my house.  They drive across my yard at the edge of the street where the sidewalk ends leaving ruts.  What can I do?

Answer:  Parking on the street is a violation of Helena’s Municipal Ordinances and is a typical ordinance violation in most municipalities.  A simple call to the Helena Police Department (663-6499 – do not call 911 for this type of problem) will get the offender a citation and a date with us at Municipal Court.  I would have to check our ordinances to be sure but parking on and/or blocking a sidewalk is most likely not legal either.  There are several other legal options at your disposal as well.  Damaging your property is actionable both civilly and criminally.  The civil action would be a Small Claims Court case for the cost to repair the damage.  Criminal actions would include trespass and destruction of property.  You should write down a description of the vehicle(s) and the tag number(s).  My suggestion is that you place a large, decorative stone, planter or tree at the corner of your property so that they cannot drive across the edge of your lawn.


Question:  Are online, do-it-yourself wills a good thing?  Will they hold up in Court?

Answer:  No, I do not believe that online, do-it-yourself wills or any other do-it-yourself legal documents are good ideas.  They might hold up in Court.  Then again, it is far better sit down with a local, knowledgeable attorney to draft that document and be certain that it meets all of the legal requirements and all of your legal needs? The online legal documents that I have seen (as well as the $200.00 divorces) have been in the context of litigation to either invalidate the document or to fix the document.  That $70.00 will you did suddenly becomes a $10,000.00 will contest for your heirs because the legal requirements were not met or it was not executed properly.  That $200.00 uncontested divorce now becomes a $10,000.00 fight because the original decree didn’t adequately address all of the issues that will eventually arise.  It is far better to pay the $300.00 for a professionally drafted will or $750.00 (at the Davidson Law Firm) for that uncontested divorce than to pay the price in the end.


Question: I would like to know how to get our Helena subdivision that is located in Jefferson County annexed into Shelby County.

Answer: Counties cannot annex land of the county next door as that property already falls within the legal domain of another county.  Similarly, Helena could not annex the rest of Port South or Apache Ridge subdivisions because they are already part of Alabaster.  The Alabama Legislature has to vote to approve the very expensive redrawing of county lines and it is subject to a vote of the entire State.