In the case of an auto accident resulting from following too closely, can a police officer cite you even if they did not witness the act?

Is a “following too closely” citation able to be “thrown out” if: a) the police officer did not witness the accident, or the driver following too closely, b) if no conflicts exist between both drivers involved, and c) if the police officer is unprofessional and uses profanity towards the drivers involved in the accident when unprovoked?

Asked on January 17, 2013 under Accident Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

To answer your other two questions (b and c):

b) It is irrelevant whether or not  a conflict exists between the drivers; the state (i.e. the goverment) not the other driver is the other party in a traffic citation (or, for that matter, in any criminal case) and so can bring the case regardless of the relationship between the drivers or  whether the driver who was hit wants the case brought or not.

c) Police officer unprofessionalism  or profanity may help if a case goes to trial, because it can be used to try to show that the officer was biased or did such sloppy work his investigation and conclusion can't be relied upon. However, all it is evidence that can be used to "impeach" or weaken the officer's testimony; it is does not in any way autmatically invalidate the citation.


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country it is entirely possible with respect to the matter that you have written about for law enforcement to issue a traffic citation to a party to an automobile accident even if the citing officer did not witness the mishap. The basis for the citation would be review of the accident scene and speaking to witnesses of the event.

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