A car stopped in front of me on I96 i swerved to avoid it, lost
control and wrecked my car on the shoulder. Michigan St. Police show
up and write me a ticket for driving too fast for conditions.
Conditions were clear and dry daytime and I was doing about 65 in a
70. Can I get out of the ticket since the cop didn't see what
happened. No witnesses but me.
1st off, the fact that you had an accident is prima facie evidence that
you were, indeed, driving too fast for conditions. "Conditions" include
other traffic and stupid drivers, etc.<g>
Here in Illinois, whether or not a ticket will fly when the officer did
not witness the violation and only has the motorist's word upon which to
hang him out to dry varies by the judge.
Guessing that you could likely beat it with an attorney but that's $$$.
The other thing that seems to have taken hold - not only in Illinois
but elsewhere - is that if you go to court and lose, in addition to the
fine you will also incur a boatload of court costs. Here (NW of
Chicago) a $75 pay by mail ticket which is contested and lost can easily
crowd or exceed $200 by the time you walk away from the clerk's cash
No way out. The condition is that your are to be in control of your
vehicle, you were not. Even if your story is not true and there was no
other car you were not in control, you wrecked. If it is true you
still were no in control of your car.
Now the good part, if there were deer that ran out in front of the
other car and they did a panic stop to avoid them you may get a pass
(deer hunting season). The bad part of that is that it should have
been stated in the first report. You need a good liar to say he was
the car that jammed on his brakes and he is glad you were able to miss
him. Look for an unemployed Democrat to lie for you.
Myself I'd have a hard time believing anyone that told me they were
driving 65 on I96 and have you tested for drugs.
Not to worry your no fault insurance will take good care of you. Yeah,
Just an opinion, as IANAL.
Those who say that the fact that there was an accident proves you were
not in control of your car are foolishly generalizing. Perhaps in many
cases, that is true, but not in all cases.
Proof by contradiction: a deer jumps leaps over the center barrier in
front of your car on the turnpike while you are driving at an
appropriate speed for the conditions (e.g. traffic, weather) - this
happened to my brother, BTW - accident, yes; not in control? no.
Several cops at the scene agreed.
If it's the principal of the thing, then I'd get a lawyer who knows
how to deal with this.
Got to agree with you, you have foolishly generalized about people
foolishly generalizing. Where I live and the three states I drive in
the most, there is no ticket for driving to fast for conditions when
you hit an animal or if an animal hits you. The deer in the scenario
you use would be charged the toll to the furthest toll gate as they
normally don't have a toll ticket.
If you read an earlier post in this thread it was pointed out that a
deer was maybe a way to avoid the long arm of the law. Since it wasn't
said that it was a deer that caused the first car to abruptly stop in
traffic he may not be a good enough liar to make a judge believe it
wasn't his fault.
Generalizing, yes. Foolishly, no. It's what is known as a rebuttable
presumption under the law. Just as it is presumed that you have failed
to yield the right of way at a stop intersection if you pull out onto a
through street from a side street controlled by a stop sign. You can
beat that ticket too if you can prove that the car you collided with was
invisible, traveling at 500 miles per hour or, MAYBE, dropped out of the
WTF you talking about, Willis?
Your brother benefited by the officer's use of discretion. From
experience, it could just have easily gone the other way. Most coppers
have common sense and use it despite what many of us may think. Same
scenario on a two lane, state route with farm fields or woods? If he
gets a ticket for hitting a deer (unlikely unless he has attitude or is
drunk) he'll eat it unless the prosecutor or judge dumps it out of
sympathy. It's the next best thing to an "absolute liability" charge
that you'll find. Absolute liability charge? Think speeding: doesn't
matter if you knew you were speeding, wanted to speed or not. If you
exceed the speed limit you are guilty. End of story.
Also get a lawyer who knows that it's the principle of the thing. If
he's going to argue about principals, he should stick to contract law<g>
I'm not sure where the advice here originates - maybe it makes sense
or sounds good on TV - but it is wrong. (at least in my state)
You go to court and say
"I ask for dismissal of the ticket based on lack of evidence"
Period. Done. Over. Don't say anything else.
Unless the prosecutor can produce an eye witness (cop, etc),
expert testimony, or similar they have no case.
Let us know how it goes.........
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