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Don't downplay a seemingly minor traffic or criminal offense

Sure, most young people duly appreciate -- and quickly -- the need to promptly secure effective legal counsel when they are targeted by law enforcers who allege their involvement in a serious criminal matter.

That same level of awareness and dispatch is often far less on display, though, concerning a claimed violation of a law that on its face seems to be comparatively insignificant, both regarding its commission and consequences.

Put another way: a traffic violation is not murder, obviously, and a college student or other young person might understandably fail to respond to a speeding ticket or other moving offense in a notably proactive way.

They should.

And here's why: Even a seemingly trivial citation or charge can be followed through on with relative force by criminal authorities. Moreover, a pattern of such offenses can eventually bring a truly adverse result, such as the loss of driving privileges or required presence before a judge meting out an unexpectedly harsh outcome.

With matters like speeding, texting while driving, improperly passing a school bus, underage drinking, possession of a false ID, shoplifting and myriad other offenses, all too often the tendency of many individuals is to simply respond to authorities as minimally required "and forget about it."

That is often a costly proposition, though, which should be resisted by any prudent young person focused on manageable insurance costs, the retention of driving privileges, unfettered school and career opportunities in the future.

A timely and purposeful response that eschews inaction, indifference or a fatally resigned attitude can optimally limit the potential downsides and promote a best-case outcome in any matter involving traffic offenses or summary criminal charges.

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