Many people who get into a minor accident and receive a careless driving ticket for it, just pay the ticket. You shouldn’t. An accident ticket that was not seen by law enforcement requires witnesses to prove the case. This means they have to be subpoenaed and have to show up for the hearing. Often, no witnesses appear and the ticket is dismissed. In a single car accident without witnesses, this is impossible to prove.
Careless driving is the most common traffic ticket issued in an accident case. The Careless driving statute (§316.1925, Fla. Stat.) is an affirmative law. It tells us how to drive not what is prohibited.
The law requires that you
shall drive . . . in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. The terms are very subjective and all encompassing. It allows law enforcement and hearing officers to accept just about any driving behavior as falling outside of the requirements of the statute.
It stands to reason that someone was driving carelessly when an accident occurs. However, that does not mean that because you received the ticket you are the careless driver. Most accidents occur outside the presence of the law enforcement officer. This means the law enforcement officer that wrote you your ticket is not a witness.
There are two types of accidents:
- An accident involving witnesses.
- An accident not involving witnesses (e.g., single car accident).
If You Are Ticketed For Causing an Accident
If you have received a ticket blaming you for an accident you should challenge it. The burden of proof is on law enforcment. Since the police usually do not witness the accident they need actual witnesses to prove that you were careless. The Officer can’t testify about the accident unless he/she witnessed the crash. It is this fact that should compell you to challenge the citation. Don’t pay the ticket, don’t take the school – take it to court. This is especially true if you were involved in a single car accident.
The Consequences Of A Careless Driving Ticket
If you are found to be at fault in an accident case the implications go beyond the cost of the ticket. Insurance companies will often raise rates or may cancel your coverage. This can cost you financially for years. If you just pay the ticket you will be assessed points on your driving record. The standard points for the ticket plus an additional point because of the accident. If your job requires you to drive you could find yourself unemployed. These are worst case scenarios and they happen all the time.
Where You Injured In The Accident
Being injured in a car accident is another reason to hire an attorney. Did you know that your insurance company is still contractually obligated to provide coverage for your injuries? Just because you were cited as the At Fault driver does not mean you cannot seek a claim against the other driver or drivers. If you were hurt in a car accident you should contact us regardless of who received the ticket.
You Should Hire A Traffic Attorney
There are many issues during a traffic accident hearing. Challenging the basis for the ticket often results in dismissals. How do you challenge the basis for the ticket? You hire a lawyer. We have been trained in the law and are in court daily doing this. We have the knowledge that you cannot learn overnight. We make sure you are informed and your best interests are protected. Not every case is going to be dismissed. Sometimes the court will decide you are at fault. At that point we seek to minimize the consequences of that decision.
More information about tickets and driver’s licenses:
- Speeding Tickets
- Careless Driving (Accident) Tickets
- Red Light Camera Tickets
- Commercial Driver’s License Issues
- Toll Tickets
- Suspended Driver’s License Issues