ShouldI plead guilty or not guilty in traffic court?

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ShouldI plead guilty or not guilty in traffic court?

Made an improper U-turn towards an on-ramp from the right lane; didn’t see car in my blind spot in the left lane and they hit into my driver-side door. Should I definitely plead guilty because of how obvious the fault is mine and risk my licence getting suspended? Or should I plead not guilty and go to the hearing to possibly reduce the charge?

Asked on May 29, 2011 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you *should* do is to get an experienced attorney to advise and represent you--preferably one who practices regularly in the court before which you are scheduled to appear. In a case like this, as much depends on the personalities of the prosecutor and judge as on the law--does the prosecutor offer deals, and if, what sort of deals? Will the judge inclined to encourage negotiated agreements; is he or she sympathetic to otherwise good drivers who've made one mistake? Etc. Experienced counsel can advise you as to what would be a good outcome and help you reach it. If you don't retain experienced counsel, then wait to decide what to do to see if you are offered anything prior to the actual trial (e.g. many times defendants in traffic court will have a chance to talk to the prosecutor or a mediator before going before the judge).


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