Apr 20

Fighting a Careless Driving Citation

It’s always stressful getting pulled over and getting a ticket. Most of us have had a speeding ticket or blown through a red light. But what about careless driving? What’s it all about? Careless driving tickets can be a bit confusing, and the statute itself is somewhat vague. Florida Statute 316.1925 states “any person operating a motor vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same 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. Failure to drive in such manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.”

Typically careless driving tickets are given in accidents such as rear-endings or one-car crashes. They’re kind of the catch-all for police. The good thing about these is that, for the most part, the police arrive after the accident and didn’t actually see anything. This means that they can’t really testify to much at trial.

So what are your options with a careless ticket? Option 1, which I ALWAYS advise against is simply paying the ticket and moving on with your life. Why is this bad? Because when you pay the ticket, you admit guilt and are automatically convicted of the infraction. Not only do you get points on your driving record – 4 to be exact – but your insurance premiums could go up. Option 2 is paying the fine and electing driving school. Option 3 is setting a court date.

Setting a court date is fairly easy and something I always do with careless driving tickets. These tickets can be fought – and won!  The biggest thing to remember at a careless driving trial is that the officer most likely did not witness the accident, therefore, he (or she) cannot testify as to anything other than their observations at the time they arrived at the scene. But what about those accident reports they fill out? Guess what?! Not admissible in trial. The police cannot report to the judge what you may have said during his investigation of the accident. The only people who can testify are those that actually witnessed the accident, such as bystanders, and the driver of the other vehicle and any passengers. If it was just you in the accident – this is even better at trial. If you don’t feel comfortable representing yourself in court though, consider hiring a traffic attorney. Sometimes when you represent yourself, you mistakenly say something to the judge that can hurt your case. Having a traffic attorney represent you means you do not have to appear in court.

Received a careless driving citation in Duval, Clay, Nassau, or St. Johns counties? Don’t simply pay it. Contact The Law Office of Tiffany H. Poore today for your FREE consultation to discuss your options and receive personalized representation.