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

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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