What can I expect if I mistakenly ran red light and caused an accident?

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What can I expect if I mistakenly ran red light and caused an accident?

Last week early morning I ran a red light mistakenly by pushing the accelerator instead of the brake. I realised and pushed the brake but still I hit another car on the intersection. The accident wasn’t that bad since I hit the other car at about 20-25 mph. Neither me nor the person I hit was injured, although the other driver was taken for a medical check. I got a ticket issued for a red light violation and it listed on my ticket to appear in the municipal court next month. What will be the impact of this thing in the court? Will this be counted as a misdemeanor or a criminal offense? I am ready to plead guilty because it happened by mistake. Will they let me go away with a fine and points? Or do I need to hire an attorney?

Asked on May 24, 2011 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Absent severe aggravating circumstances (DUI; evidence of gross recklessness and injury to another; etc.), you should not face jail time for running a red light and causing an accident. Traffic vioalations due not result in jail time; there must be enough to elevate to a misdemeanor or felony for that to happen. So from the state's perspective, points and a fine are most likely, though it can't be ruled out that you might face a license suspension, especially if you have other driving issues on your record.

You could also be sued in civil court by the other driver and/or his insurer, to recover the cost of repairing the car, any medical costs, any lost wages, and also any pain and suffering, should injuries later manifest.


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