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Thread: Question to Plea Illinois

  1. #1

    Question Question to Plea Illinois

    I had my first accident earlier this morning. I was going 40 in a 45 and I ended up hydroplaning at a stop sign. I stopped pretty far back and I tried my best to steer my car into the grass. So I ended up knocking into this woman's bumper. We both were fine and she decided to call the police to report the accident. No damage was done to either of our cars from the accident. (Her bumper was cracked and pushed in, but I noticed that there before the accident happened since I had been following behind her down the street for awhile.) The police showed up and we did the normal run down (license and insurance). He gave me a ticket (stating that I was "traveling too fast for conditions"), told me to go online to print out my report, and told me to appear in court. He said that he'd tell the woman she wouldn't have to be in court though. After the accident and talking to a few people, they've all told me to plead not guilty, and if the police officer doesn't show up, then my citation and the fine would be removed and the case would be thrown out. As well as my insurance rates wouldn't go up with the case being thrown out. They told me that there are victimless crimes, such as hydroplaning. One thing I don't understand about that is how #1. It's victimless since I'd say we both were victims of wet roads, she didn't know my car was hydroplaning, and me not being able to regain control of my car, and #2. how could I plead not guilty to my car hydroplaning, since it was my car? What should I plea? I don't want to get in more trouble than I already am, I've never been in an accident before, and I've also never been to court either...

  2. #2
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    You have been told a variety of half truths and vague understandings.

    If you hydroplaned you WERE driving too fast for conditions. This is very settled law everywhere. If you rear end someone, you are ALWAYS at fault unless you were in a chain reaction of rear enders started by another driver. You should be driving at a speed that allows you enough control of your vehicle to stop for any obstruction in front of you. Always.

    You have a valid citation and you should plead guilty and pay it. You may be able to pay through the mail and save the time and energy and avoid going to court, where you will lose anyway. That varies by the offense and jurisdiction-look at the info on the citation. Yes, if the cop does not show up the case will be continued or tossed, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. Cops don't just blow off court appearances if they want to keep their job. But going to traffic court isn't really a big deal. Just be polite and calm and plead guilty, pay your fine, and go home.

    Your insurance will definitely be liable, and your premium will go up. For a first accident, probably not too much, although your age and the circumstances play a role in that as well.
    Last edited by ferretrick; 09-14-2017 at 07:42 AM.

  3. #3
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    As ferretrick said, whether it is "victimless" or not, what you describe is violating the law. Most traffic tickets (speeding, running a red light, illegal lane usage, seatbelt violations, and so on) aren't issued in connection with accidents and therefore are "victimless" in that sense. They are still violations and are subject to fine.

    That being said, in court it is the state's obligation to prove guilt, not your obligation to admit guilt. I don't practice traffic law but from what I have seen, the person who was issued the traffic citation usually does NOT plead guilty. If the police officer shows up, the judge will normally find the driver guilty of the offense and if the officer fails to show up, then the ticket is dismissed. Most of the time, the officers do show up because that is part of their job. Typically, all of the tickets they write during a particular period set the same court date, so they are usually in court for more than one ticket. Missing their court date costs the city, county or state (depending on who issued the ticket), so it can get them in hot water.

    In short, you really have nothing to lose by simply letting the state prove its case. But to be equally clear, driving too fast for conditions is a violation of law and don't expect to get out of the ticket by arguing that the hydroplaning was not your fault.
    David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

  4. #4
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    Or....
    You could plead not guilty, and talk with the prosecutor about finding a way to "let this go by the wayside". IOW, Deferred Prosecution. Maybe, pay the fine and tack on a few hours of community service in exchange for letting this ticket disappear. You'll be on a watch list for a year, so if you get another ticket this one and that one are automatically plead guilty too, by prior agreement. Pay a few bucks, keep your nose clean, and after a year you have your spotless record back.
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
    Don't worry, be happy.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

  5. #5
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    Cactus Jack makes a good point about talking to the prosecutor before the case is called. That way, even if the police officer shows up, you may be able to keep it off your record, particularly if you have never been cited before.
    David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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