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Old 01-20-2012, 02:53 AM
 
7 posts, read 14,760 times
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[SIZE=2]Does anyone know how I would go about filing a motion for discovery with the Prince William County general district/traffic courts? I got a traffic ticket and need to know if there are any witnesses. I only have a day or two or three before my court date. I only had two weeks until court from the time I got the ticket and I wasn't sure I was going to fight it until yesterday. Are there forms somewhere that I could fill out?

Are there any other ways to find out if there are witnesses?
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,065 posts, read 9,440,695 times
Reputation: 4714
Sounds like you will need to request a continuance if you plan on filing a discovery. The discovery has to make it to the PD and they have to get it to the officer. If this officer is on days off it may be a week or so before they get it. You could always call the officer and ask them if there are any witnesses. Nothing says the officer has to give you the info but you never know unless you ask. The General District Court is located at 9311 Lee Avenue on the 2nd floor. Once you go to court make sure you do not take your cell phone in with you if it has a camera on it as they will make you take it back to your car.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:34 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,760 times
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Thanks.

I requested and received a copy of the police crash report (yes, it was a car accident). This doesn't list anything about witnesses. If there are witnesses, would they be listed somewhere else? Is there a way to just call and get the info?

I'm trying to avoid tipping anyone off that I intend to fight this in court. I'm hoping none of the involved parties will bother to show up. Yes, it's wishful thinking but it doesn't hurt. I figure that it's better to take my chances in court without a lawyer than just to prepay the ticket. I can't see what harm could come from going to court.

The only problem is that I don't know what to expect. Someone told me that the judge will simply ask me what happened and that I should be allowed at that time to present my evidence. But then I heard that I may have to cross examine the other driver and police officer and that scares the crap out of me. I wish I could let my buddy do the talking, he's a great public speaker.
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,065 posts, read 9,440,695 times
Reputation: 4714
Quote:
Originally Posted by pup3333 View Post
Thanks.

I requested and received a copy of the police crash report (yes, it was a car accident). This doesn't list anything about witnesses. If there are witnesses, would they be listed somewhere else? Is there a way to just call and get the info?

I'm trying to avoid tipping anyone off that I intend to fight this in court. I'm hoping none of the involved parties will bother to show up. Yes, it's wishful thinking but it doesn't hurt. I figure that it's better to take my chances in court without a lawyer than just to prepay the ticket. I can't see what harm could come from going to court.

The only problem is that I don't know what to expect. Someone told me that the judge will simply ask me what happened and that I should be allowed at that time to present my evidence. But then I heard that I may have to cross examine the other driver and police officer and that scares the crap out of me. I wish I could let my buddy do the talking, he's a great public speaker.
Don't listen to your friends. The policy in PWC Courts, unless they've changed since I retired, is that you show up and the officer will be there. If there are witnesses they will NOT be there. If you plead guilty or no contest it's all handled there. If you plead not guilty then it's continued to the officers next court date for trial and the witnesses are subpoenaed. I know this is aggravating but the courts made this change years ago to keep so many witnesses from coming in for no reason.
If you hit someone then that is one witness right there. The officer, unless he witnessed the accident, would need witnesses unless you gave incriminating statements at the scene. And the officer will not care if you are going to plead not guilty and fight it. He or she has to be there anyway and a not guilty plea on an accident is nothing. Once past the rookie stage officers could care less if you plead not guilty and the judge dismisses the case after hearing it. This does not mean the officer didn't do their job necessarily it just means there was some reason the judge wanted to dismiss or find you not guilty.
As I said you can call the officer and leave a message. He does not have to provide witnesses info though. And no, the accident report does not list the witnesses.

What was the charge?
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Old 01-21-2012, 03:36 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,760 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks so much for responding.

I don't want to say what the charge is, for privacy reasons. My understanding is that I need to prove that I'm not at fault. I think I have evidence (pictures of skidmarks and debris) that the other drive was at fault because if he hadn't done what he did, the accident would never have happened. However, I'm not sure this evidence will hold up and I think that even if the other driver is at fault, a judge will still find me guilty because it was my responsibility to make sure the road was clear of traffic. The road was clear at the time, but then the other driver did what he did (broke the traffic law) and that caused the accident. So it will probably still be my fault. Even though what the other driver did actually caused the accident, he wasn't charged because I was too shocked to remember anything when it happened.

I'm not sure it's worth pleading not guilty though. I can't afford an attorney. If the court gives me one and I lose, I think I still have to pay for the attorney. If this goes to trial, I'm not sure what the court costs would end up being at the end ($100? $500? $1000+?) and that may not be worth it. My record is clean and I've been driving for many years. I guess I feel like I should plead not guilty because I think this may help prevent me from getting sued later on and because I know the other driver caused the accident, even though I'm sure a judge won't see it that way.

Do you happen to know how much a traffic attorney might cost? Or where I could get one pro bono? Too bad they won't let me work off the debt, I would be willing to do some office work to pay for their services.

If I plead no contest, do I get to explain my side of the story and show my evidence?

Thanks again.
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,065 posts, read 9,440,695 times
Reputation: 4714
If you plead No Contest you can tell your side but not present evidence. And you will not get an attorney appointed to you for General District Court. You can't receive jail time (unless charged with Reckless/Suspended OL) so no lawyer appointed. And the commonwealth has to prove your guilt, not the other way around. You never have to testify if you don't want.
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