What to do if a reckless driver almost ran me off the road so in my anger I threw a fast food cup of tea at their car?

Their window was open a little, so the driver got wet. They went to the highway patrol and filed a complaint. I now have to go to court for throwing a substance at a vehicle. How should I go about getting the lowest punishment? I’ve never been in trouble before.

Asked on October 1, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The first and most helpful thing you could do would be to retain an attorney to help you; knowledgable, experienced local counsel, who knows the prosecutor and judge, will do more to help you than anything you can do yourself.

That said, in a situation like the one you describe, your best course of action is generally to simply, calmly, and honestly (no embellishment) tell the prosecutor (you typically have a chance to conference with him or her before court) what happened; i.e. that it was a spur-of-the-moment thing prompted by your fear at having nearly been killed and your anger at what the other driver did--and also that what you threw was just a cup of (by then, presumably not-too-hot) tea, and nothing which could injure another person or vehicle. The facts are sympathetic to you; you want to let them help you. But again, an experienced attorney will know best how to put things to maximize the chance of getting a minimum punishment.


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