What to do about an incorrect car accident citation?
March 31, 2004 7:15 AM   Subscribe

OK...I just got in a car accident yesterday. I'm okay, my car is a little screwed. Some guy switched lanes, and i dodged and hit a concrete median, lost control, and shot back across the highway, hitting the lane switcher. A witness says I was trying to pass him in the left hand turning lane (where there was another car). Being that this is Florida and everybody else was a retiree, I got the ticket. I'm going to fight it on the grounds that I couldn't have been doing what the witness said because ITS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for me to be where the other car was at the time.

My questions: Anybody successfully fight a crash citation? Any pointers? Anybody get a police report amended? I don't know what I'm facing here...and yes, I've already contacted a lawyer. I see them Monday.
posted by taumeson to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Yes, it IS possible. A few months ago, my mom got into a car accident with a bus. It went something along the lines of my mom was making a left hand turn onto a street and the school bus changed lanes out of nowhere into the lane my mom was entering. The cop wrote a ticket for my mom ASAP, but the charges were later dropped when she explained it to the judge. Seems the best defense in these kind of situations is a reasonable judge.
posted by jmd82 at 7:25 AM on March 31, 2004

Response by poster: And a reasonable lawyer...I'm nervous that I'm going to have some unhelpful dickwad.

But fuck...at least if this happened in my home county, Sarasota, well, I'd expect a little more. But this happened in Charlotte county, which is so ass backwards the TEXAS FUCKING RANGERS moved their spring training facility on the grounds that the area was just too damn ass backwards.
posted by taumeson at 7:53 AM on March 31, 2004

A good story on fighting a traffic ticket is here; the moral is be prepared for court with pictures, diagrams and any other evidence you can find.
posted by TedW at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2004

They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:46 PM on March 31, 2004

An old friend of mine is an engineer and worked/works for a company that studies accidents for attorneys to help determine what really happened. They are based in LA and Seattle, but I assume there must be others that do something similar.
posted by terrapin at 1:25 PM on March 31, 2004

I have no advice but I wish you good luck in getting this turned around. I too live in Florida, land of scary-ass elderly drivers. I feel your pain.

PS: I hope it's within the Judge's powers to not only find you not at fault for the accident, but to make it so you can get your expenses paid by the other driver's insurance company. Even if the cost of the repairs is manageable, it's the principle of the thing.
posted by contessa at 3:35 PM on March 31, 2004

I hope it's within the Judge's powers...
While I know it is well within the judge's powers to take away the fault and ticket, the chances of completely reversing a ticket are very slim for anybody.
posted by jmd82 at 3:56 PM on March 31, 2004

fff: Having been raised by not-entirely-reformed hippies, I'm ashamed to say that I know exactly what that's from.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:59 PM on March 31, 2004

As for fighting the ticket, I can't offer much advice other than weighing the benefits versus the costs. Ask yourself a few questions... Will the ticket cause your insurance to rise? How much is the ticket? How much will the lawyer cost? Will you lose income by taking time to deal with it? What about the stress factor?

If you fight the ticket and lose, the injured party will likely sue you. If they do, your automotive insurance policy will likely cover the cost of an attorney to represent you in that proceeding.
posted by Juicylicious at 5:32 PM on March 31, 2004

As a not-entirely-formed hippy, I commend you, Johnny.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:47 PM on March 31, 2004

Oh, also consider no-lo. Depending on the accident, no points on your liscence and not reported to insurance if you pay out of pocket (and also have to pay the ticket). Of course, check with your insurance agent or a real lawyer first, but thats what happened when I used a no-lo 2 years ago
posted by jmd82 at 10:09 PM on March 31, 2004

While Canadian, this might be helpful. (Yes, it blows up regularly. Not my fault, not my site. I have an old backup, but haven't downloaded the new pages yet.)
posted by shepd at 12:36 PM on April 1, 2004

Please read Beat Your Ticket and Win before going any further. While not as good as the California version (Fight Your Ticket in California), it does provide useful information on the steps you should take to beat any ticket.
posted by calwatch at 12:06 AM on April 3, 2004

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