What to do if an officer charged me with speeding a month after an accident but without witnessing it?

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What to do if an officer charged me with speeding a month after an accident but without witnessing it?

Somewhat over a month ago, I was involved in a traffic accident. I was driving northbound on a road and passing through an intersection. The light turned yellow as I was passing through, and a car in the southbound lane accelerated from a stopped position to turn left while I was in the intersection. The other driver hit my front driver’s side corner with the front of his car, totaling my vehicle and quite likely his as well. I remember driving at, if not somewhat below, the speed limit, due to traffic volume. The officer on scene was not present to witness the accident, arriving several minutes later. Given the evidence at hand, my insurance company and the other driver both stated the opinion that I was not at fault. This brings me to the summons I received charging me with a

Asked on April 10, 2016 under General Practice, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

While it would be unwise as to assume there is no validity to the officer's report--as a presumably trained and experienced officer, his conjecture as to what happened, based on the circumstances of the accident, is entitled to a certain amount of respect--based on what you write, he has no direct evidence: only his conjecture. Generally that is not enough in court: even when there is expert testimony in support of a case, that testimony needs to rest on a basis of facts; particularly facts personally witnesssed by someone who will testify at trial. Without the officer having personal knowledge (e.g. through having been there at the time) of what happened, his opinion lacks an evidentiary basis. There is a reasonable chance that, based on the lack of any actual witness to what occured, that you can get the ticket dismissed, either at trial (i.e. by the judge) or possibly before trial (by the prosecutor, after you speak to him after checking in that day at court for trial) on this basis.


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