In October, our office was hired by the family of a 19 year old driver who was issued a uniform traffic violation for Following Too Closely. The ticket was issued to our client by a Doraville police officer as a result of a multi vehicle accident that occurred on Interstate 285.
Here are the relevant facts of the case:
According to the Doraville police officer who issued the uniform traffic citation to our client, our client was traveling on Interstate 285 in the midafternoon, on a weekday, in moderate traffic when she made impact with the vehicle directly in front of her (which was a Home Depot pickup truck), which in turn made impact with the vehicle in front of it, which happened to be a passenger van. Due to the fact that our client was traveling at a relatively low speed, there was minimal damage of the Home Depot truck and the passenger van. In fact, our client’s vehicle was actually damaged the worse, due to the fact that it was a small sized sedan. Fortunately, none of the parties involved in the accident was hurt.
So what kind of consequences was our client facing? Why did her family want to hire an attorney? If our client was found guilty of this following too closely infraction, she would be assessed 3 points on her driving record by the Georgia Department of Driver Services. In addition, by pleading guilty and simply paying the fine, our client would be admitting that she was in fact guilty of this criminal misdemeanor offense. She would always have this on her record. Furthermore, since this was an accident case, the occupants of the two other vehicles involved in the accident could have been injured and could eventually pursue a personal injury case against our client in civil court. What most people do not know is that if you plead guilty in a criminal court, that plea can be used against you in a civil case. So for our client, if she pleaded guilty to her traffic violation, then the other parties involved would already have the proof necessary to establish, in any subsequent civil lawsuit for personal injuries, that she was in fact negligent. This makes recovering money in a civil personal injury lawsuit far easier since one of the key elements has been established.
Hire A Motor Vehicle Attorney To Fight The Following Too Closely Ticket
So how did we help this client? In an effort to keep the points off of our client’s record and protect her interests as much as possible, we secured a letter from her insurance company stating that they have accepted liability for the accident and were going to pay out any property damage claims made by the owners of the other two vehicles involved, i.e., the “victims” in this accident. Because the accident was relatively minor, neither of these owners actually made a claim for the money. Nonetheless we were able to use the letter to negotiate a more favorable resolution with the solicitor in Doraville Municipal Court. The letter demonstrated to the solicitor that our client was not going to leave anyone high and dry and that any property damage would be taken care of. In return, we negotiated a non-reporting offense for our client. The citation was amended from Following Too Closely to a Basic Rules Violation, which is a non-reporting, non-point baring charge.
Now, there is no misdemeanor offense on her record. Our client paid a reasonable fine (the prosecutor agreed not to increase it from the original amount) and the case was closed with one appearance in court.