Friday, December 5, 2014

Winning in Traffic Court: How to present a defense in traffic court and win.

Have you ever been in the position where you received a received a traffic citation?   Or perhaps you were involved in an accident that was not your fault yet were still issued a citation for careless driving or some similar offense.   That is exactly the situation that my client was presented with yesterday in Delaware Co. traffic court.

My client was involved in a automobile accident in October 10th of this year.   She was at an intersection that was controlled by a left turn signal.  As she approached the intersection, the light was green, she did what a reasonably prudent person would do; She slowed down and cleared her way before commencing her turn.   Noticing that there were no vehicles that were so close as to constitute a hazard to her, she proceeded to make her turn.   However, little did she know, there was a vehicle proceeding from the opposite direction that was travelling at a very high rate of speed.   This vehicle came upon my client's vehicle so quickly that there was little my client could do to get out of the way.    The other vehicle collided with my client's vehicle on the passenger side causing extensive damage.

Police responded to the scene of the accident after the fact.  After speaking to both drivers, the officer issued my client a citation for "careless driving."   My client pleaded not guilty and asked for a hearing.

At the hearing conducted yesterday we presented the testimony of my client and the police officer.   Since the police officer was not actually present during the accident, his testimony was based solely on what he saw upon his arrival at the scene.   This testimony was limited to the position of the vehicles and the damage each vehicle sustained.  There were no other witnesses.  The other driver was not present at the hearing.  (They almost never show-up).
The judge had no choice but to dismiss the ticket.

The case boiled down to lack of evidence.   Since the police officer did not actually witness my client driving carelessly he could not testify to that fact.  Furthermore, and most importantly, the police officer was prevented from testifying to what the other drier or any witnesses said because of the rules of Evidence against the admissibility of hearsay statements.  

In the end, I was able to establish that the officer did not have any evidence to support the charge of careless driving and the ticket was dismissed.

Let this be a lesson to all.   If you get a ticket, and you did no wrong.   Fight it!   As you do fight it please keep in mind that the police officer who issued you the ticket will most likely not have enough evidence to support the charge and you can have the ticket dismissed.

An understanding of the basic rules of evidence can go a long way in keeping your driving record clean and more money in your pocket.  

It was especially important in this case because my client sustained serious injuries in the accident. While traffic citations are not normally admissible in civil cases for personal injuries, I feel that it is important that these tickets be fought if only for the sake of removing any thoughts that my client did any wrong from the minds of the insurance adjusters.

If you need any help with this kind of issue, please do not hesitate to call or email me.    We are committed to diligently representing our clients in all matter at the Sater Law Firm.   WE look foreard to serving all your legal needs.

Dory L. Sater, Esq.  

The Sater Law Firm

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