What to do about a careless driving ticket?

My husband who is 78 years of age made a left hand turn into a medical facility parking lot. I was not in the car so have no idea what actually occurred. He said he saw the other car but thought he had time to make the left turn into the lot. He heard the other driver brake and impact with the front of his

automobile. Both cars were towed to the same lot and after speaking with the insurance company I have learned both cars were totaled. Both car’s airbags deployed and the other driver was driving alone. Aside from some bruises my husband is fine. At the accident scene the other driver was walking around and stated they were OK but took the ambulance to the hospital which was across the

street. I have no idea if this driver had any injuries. It is clear to me that my husband caused the accident and displayed poor distance judgement. Even he said he has no other explanation for what happened. He keeps up with his medical examinations and is physically and mentally OK. We are not going to ask for a zero point unsafe driving ticket as our insurance company still sees this as a ticket and stated our rates will not go up for a first time accident. I cannot see how a lawyer will be able to have the ticket downgraded since my husband turned in front of the other driver on a dry clear day with no traffic. If money was no object I would hire a lawyer. My daughter-in-law got a careless driving ticket for hitting another car when she entered a circle. She paid just under a thousand dollars for a local lawyer and the only thing he was able to do was downgrade the ticket to unsafe driving which cost her a lot more in fines and fees and her insurance company still raised her rates. So I am

thinking the best way to go is to pay the ticket and call it a day. The worst that could happen is the other driver sues and insurance will cover this. I am asking my husband to attend AAA driving classes.

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You have analyzed the situation well. Attorneys can help most when there are multiple tickets at the same time, since they can generally get some of them to be dropped and/or consolidated, reducing the number of infractions. They can also help with some of the more technical (but still potentially expensive) "paperwork" violations, like driving on a suspended or expired license. But with a single straightforward ticket like one for careless driving, there is relatively little an attorney can do that you could do not do for yourself by speaking directly to the prosecutor. And for a ticket like the one you describe, the main alternative would be to plead to the 0-point unsafe driving, which can still result in an insurance increase and which expensive. Going for this option is best if you have other points already on your license, since if you hit certain numbers of cummulative points, additional penalties or charges kick in--in that case, it's worth spending the extra money to avoid the points. But if that is not a concern, your plan is a good one.


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