Answer: Pleading guilty to an accident ticket is almost never a good idea. These tickets, more than any other moving violation, are among the most commonly thrown out tickets in any traffic court. Prematurely pleading guilty can result in paying fines and court costs that could have otherwise been avoided. It can harm your driving record as well and potentially result in a license suspension if you’ve had other tickets recently. This however is just the minor risk of pleading guilty to these tickets.
The more serious risk comes with potential civil liability and lawsuits from victims seeking financial damages against the driver. By pleading guilty, you are formally admitting that you caused the accident. This statement can and will likely be used against you in future civil litigation ensues. So how can you help prevent this from occurring?
Never mail the ticket in with payment of the fine. Doing so is a written guilty plea. Instead, be prepared to attend traffic court by following the instructions on the ticket. Traffic court gives you the opportunity to not only avoid pleading guilty to the offense but also makes it possible to have the ticket dismissed if the officer did not witness the accident and the victim does not appear in court when required. Before attending court, take time to schedule a free consultation with an attorney so we can assess the risk of civil liability that can result from the accident and analyze the best way to minimize/eliminate the impact of this ticket.
Disclaimer: Commentary posted here is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice specific to any one person’s case. If you have a ticket and would like advice as to the facts of your case, please schedule a consultation so the specifics of your case can be addressed.