What do I say at my court hearing about my inattentive driving ticket?

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What do I say at my court hearing about my inattentive driving ticket?

I got into a car accident involving 3 cars, someone 2 cars ahead had slammed their breaks, I happened to be at the tail end and wasn’t able to stop in time and hit the back of the person in front of me. I had no insurance. I also told the policeman that my eyes had flicked over the car in the lane next to me a second before. I got a ticket for no insurance, and a misdemor charge for inattentive driving. Should I plea guilty or not guilty?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Accident Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As to what you should say at the hearing--tell the truth. Not only is that your legal (and moral obligation), but in my experience, not telling the truth in court tends to come back and bite you. (For example: if you said A to the officer and B in court, the discrepancy may come out and can be used to undermine your credibilty and sympathy.)

As to whether to plead guilty or not--there is no way to answer this in the abstract. It depends on a myriad of factors, such as whether you might be given a better deal or less punishment if you plead, the strength of the evidence against you, whether you already have points on your license and how badly you need to avoid other points, the sorts of punishments handed out by this court  for similar offenses, etc. Retain an attorney with experience representing clients cited for traffic or driving infractions in this court, who knows the prosecutors and judges, then follow his or her advice; knowledgeable counsel who knows the local players can guide you in what to do.


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