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Old 07-16-2010, 12:57 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,238 times
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I was in a collision in NJ after coming to a full stop at a stop-sign. (There were no injuries.) The sight lines were so poor and the other driver was speeding so there was ~3 seconds between the time I could have seen him and the time he reached the intersection.

There were no witnesses except the other driver. (My wife had fallen asleep in the front seat.)Am I assumed to be guilty of "Failure to yield" by virtue of the fact that there was an accident (even if I did stop), unless I can prove some extenuating circumstances? Besides the poor sight lines, the other driver admitted to speeding in court and hadn't had his car inspected for over a year (I suspect that at least one of his headlights weren't working.

Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:54 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,086 posts, read 4,935,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukeny View Post
I was in a collision in NJ after coming to a full stop at a stop-sign. (There were no injuries.) The sight lines were so poor and the other driver was speeding so there was ~3 seconds between the time I could have seen him and the time he reached the intersection.

There were no witnesses except the other driver. (My wife had fallen asleep in the front seat.)Am I assumed to be guilty of "Failure to yield" by virtue of the fact that there was an accident (even if I did stop), unless I can prove some extenuating circumstances? Besides the poor sight lines, the other driver admitted to speeding in court and hadn't had his car inspected for over a year (I suspect that at least one of his headlights weren't working.

Thanks.
This is in no way legal advice, I'm the furthest thing from a lawyer, but I had a similar situation so I'll tell you what happened...

The end of my street is a "T" with a major road, which is also a hill. To the right is the crest of the hill, and to the left is the downward side of the hill. Therefore, you can see traffic coming from the left from far away, but to the right you can't see the traffic till it's about 100 ft from my street. People are supposed to slow down to 20 mph as they approach the crest of the hill (per the signs that say so) but they routinely continue to do the regular limit of 35 MPH (or more). Therefore, when turning left, I have to look left, right, left, and then RIGHT AGAIN, unlike a normal intersection, since they can be coming fast over the hill's crest.

Years ago, I was at a full stop, waiting for traffic to open so I could turn left. I finally saw the traffic to the left was far enough away, so I looked right, then left again, then right again as I started my turn, and I stopped because a car raced over the hill's crest...after it passed, I continued with the turn, but by then the car to the left was in front of me and I hit her. She had to have been speeding to get there that fast.

In any case, she was mad, of course, and while the cop on the scene didn't issue a ticket, she filed one. The cops delivered it to my home a couple days later. They even told me I should show up at court to try to get it reduced.

So I looked up the law which was, I believe, the failure to come to a complete stop. But, in fact, I had stopped - and waited for several minutes, even. So I figured I'd fight it on this, because I DID stop, but when I went, that's when I had the accident.

I went to court, the prosecutor presented his case (based on the woman's testimony), I showed pictures of the intersection to the judge, explained that I HAD been stopped, but it was when I went that I had to hesitate because of the traffic that couldn't be seen till the last minute, and that this was when I had the accident. I had to ask the woman if she had known whether I was stopped prior to her arriving to the top of the hill or not, and she had to answer that she didn't know (she couldn't have known, and my pictures would have shown that she couldn't see me long enough to have known).

The judge said that there was no proof that I hadn't stopped, that it made sense to him that I would be stopped, then continue and THEN find myself "in jeopardy", stop again, then continue with the turn. I'm sure it helps that the judge probably knew the intersection since he's from that town, and that I'm a local resident (and the woman was from NY), and the fact that the ticket was issued because of the woman's complaint and not corroborated by any police whatsoever.

Anyway, my point is that I did win my case by proving that it wasn't a matter of my failing to stop, but more an issue of a bad intersection and heavy traffic with other cars not obeying the signs and speeding over the hill which is a poor sight line and caused me to hesitate and continue within seconds.

One thing I did was that I insisted over and over that I DID come to a complete stop, I mentioned that for years I've made that turn and I'm well aware how dangerous it is and that's why I never had an accident there before, and that it is really impossible to make that turn without stopping without getting into an accident, and that it's so bad that it's entirely possible for someone to have an accident DESPITE having come to a complete stop.

Take pictures - mine were hardly used but it made the point that there was more to the situation than whether I stopped or not, and that the accident was more caused by other circumstances since I had stopped as I claimed. By brining pictures you are helping to make your case that you're not just making something up out of thin air in a desperate attempt to fight off the charge.

I did it without a lawyer, I probably could have or should have gotten a lawyer, but whatever - I won the case. This is years ago - 1998 or so. My dad went with me and he just laughed after the case, and said I should have been a lawyer, lol. I don't think I did anything special, I just stated the law, stated that I did not break that law, stated the other very real reasons for the accident, and they believed me. I think also without their having better evidence than just the woman's claims it's my word vs. hers, so by putting forth a rational reason the judge couldn't dismiss my claims and had no solid proof to convict me; you may find the same to happen with you.

Last edited by BergenCountyJohnny; 07-16-2010 at 04:07 PM..
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:23 PM
 
157 posts, read 329,479 times
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You will be given the option to talk to the prosecutor before your case is called and he'll lower it to "unsafe operation." You can do this twice before you have to wait 5 years from your first unsafe conviction to use it again. It'll be $250 plus the maximum fine for the initial infraction plus court costs. Usually runs $300-$400.

There is no way to win in munincipal court. The only way to win is to not be there in the first place. You won't be successful defending yourself and a lawyer will run you the same price as the unsafe plead.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:30 PM
 
Location: NJ & NV
3,566 posts, read 5,358,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Flossin' View Post
You will be given the option to talk to the prosecutor before your case is called and he'll lower it to "unsafe operation." You can do this twice before you have to wait 5 years from your first unsafe conviction to use it again. It'll be $250 plus the maximum fine for the initial infraction plus court costs. Usually runs $300-$400.

There is no way to win in munincipal court. The only way to win is to not be there in the first place. You won't be successful defending yourself and a lawyer will run you the same price as the unsafe plead.
I had heard a few months ago that they no longer reset the 2 per 5 years count anymore, in other words you can only get 2 of those unsafe driving tickets, if you get get a third it's something like 4 points. Legislature changed it. I'd say try for a reduction to something else if you can.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoboker View Post
The details are really very simple, he was not directing traffic (other officers several blocks away were directing traffic), but was claiming to be acting as a pedestrian and was crossing the street at the intersection when he had a red light and myself and other drivers had a green light for a while. He was present in the middle of the road at for a while before I got there (I saw him there when the car 4 ahead of me passed through the intersection). He did not ticket me for going through a red light because the light was green for me. He gave me a ticket for not yielding to a pedestrian, which is completely wrong since he tried crossing the street with a red light in his direction and I had the right of way.

I know that what he did is actually a ticketable offense, and I'm sure he would have given a pedestrian a ticket for "not yielding to a vehicle" if they were crossing at an intersection with a red light for the pedestrian.

Any new thoughts now that I cleared it up a bit?
Do you know the new pedestrian law says you cannot cross until the pedestrian is totally across the road, not just out of your lane? If he is saying he started across when the light was green and wasn't fully across when it turned red, then technically under the new law he is in the right if you didn't stop despite your green light (even though I don't really think it's fair). I saw on the news today they were using pedestrian "decoys" to catch people. They want to come down hard in the beginning of it so people take it seriously.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas
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I guess the original poster was sentenced to prison for life. He/she never returned.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Do you know the new pedestrian law says you cannot cross until the pedestrian is totally across the road, not just out of your lane? If he is saying he started across when the light was green and wasn't fully across when it turned red, then technically under the new law he is in the right if you didn't stop despite your green light (even though I don't really think it's fair). I saw on the news today they were using pedestrian "decoys" to catch people. They want to come down hard in the beginning of it so people take it seriously.



I don't believe that you are right about this. Well, you are correct about that aspect of the law, BUT it doesn't apply in this case since he was standing near the middle of the road as if he were directing traffic. Several cars passed him in front of me (and he made no attempt to stop any of them, and I'm not sure how or why he singled me out), and the light was green for a long time before I arrived there. Besides, he completely crossed when he had a red light, and as per the law, the pedestrian is not supposed to be attempting to cross the road when they have a red, especially when cars are traveling through the intersection and he could have been ticketed for not yielding to motorists in this particular case.

If the judge tries to say that I still should have stopped for the officer or any pedestrian in a case like this (if that's his opinion), then my response will be that this aspect of the law that doesn't allow pedestrians to cross intersections when they have a red light is there for a reason, and that is to prevent chaotic situations where pedestrians just walk into intersections when it is unsafe and cause traffic or accidents to occur. I'll ask him if by his statement or position he is saying that he supports going against the written law and is supporting chaotic situations where pedestrians can cross the street under any conditions, even ones that the law that he is supposed to be upholding clearly prohibits.

Montclair, NJ is one of those towns that is using decoys as you said, and unfortunately it is really like highway robbery since it's a large revenue generator... It's completely unfair for them to do that to people who are driving by not doing anything wrong, only to have someone basically jump out into the street and pull them over claiming they didn't yield to a pedestrian. That's exactly how I feel about what happened to me, as if the police department in that town just reached into my pocket and stole a huge wad of cash from me. It's like getting mugged, except when you get mugged the thief may only get $20 to $50 from you. In these cases, if you negotiate a deal without points it costs you well over $400 in fines under the new laws, and if you accept the points, your insurance premiums are sure to go up even higher than the fine would be due to the 2 points... So I'm fighting it and am determined to win at all costs for the point of the matter. It's really a shame that the same people that are supposed to be keeping us safe are also essentially stealing from us with these BS tickets and practices.

I am going to fight this to the bitter end, and I am 100% in the right. If they still find me guilty of this, I would be very surprised, but it would also prove to me just how crooked the court system and police really are. What they don't know is just how persistent I can be and how I'll go to the ends of the Earth to prove a point and get justice. Yet at the same time, if I truly did something wrong, I'd also be the first one to admit it and just pay the fine and accept it.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:43 PM
 
157 posts, read 329,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoboker View Post
The town is Montclair, NJ and you can easily find out who the prosecutor is if you do the right search on google for "Montclair NJ prosecutor". He was a huge jerk and for no reason as I was completely polite and respectful. I don't feel as if it will be a fair trial with him on the other side after that he made that surprising comment to me in court...

The judge seemed like a decent and somewhat fair guy, but you never know how things will turn out. He seemed like he didn't want to let this go even after hearing my story and facts and said it seems to be a matter of opinion. Not sure how it's up to opinions if it was clear I had a green light, especially since the officer didn't write me a ticket for going through a red light or put anything in his notes about going through a red light since it did not happen...
Does this guy have slicked back hair, rottenish teeth, and sounds like he smokes a hell of a lot? Very thin, wearing a frumpy suit from what I recall...yes?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Weehawken
316 posts, read 676,152 times
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Hobokener, I admire your stand and wish you success. Even if you don't win you could have an impact and draw attention to the misuse of decoys. I actually support the new law, but not abuses of it.

You make me think of the Kleist story Michael Kohlhaas.
Michael Kohlhaas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:32 PM
 
27 posts, read 29,409 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Flossin' View Post
Does this guy have slicked back hair, rottenish teeth, and sounds like he smokes a hell of a lot? Very thin, wearing a frumpy suit from what I recall...yes?
Not sure if you are talking about the judge or the prosecutor, but that doesn't describe either of them... The judge seemed like a decent guy and you can't see how he is dressed under his judge garments, but the prosecutor was overweight/obese and didn't fit into his suit very well. He wore glasses and had a terrible attitude in general.
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