U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-27-2010, 04:40 PM
 
261 posts, read 1,220,039 times
Reputation: 141

Advertisements

Very strange way to put it - really driving at unsafe speed, however...

Thursday night my son got one of these. He was changing lanes, hit some ice and ended up in a snow pile. Airbags didn't deploy, he wasn't hurt, but car has some front end damage. Cop turned up (Ross Twnp) immediately after it happened, call a tow truck and gave him this ticket (a $109.50 fine plus 2 points).

What I'm trying to discover is if there is any point in attempting to fight this? After all, I would think the point was: you had an accident therefore you "must" have been traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions (light snow, but apparently clear roads).

I have googled like mad, but the only thing I have found specific to PA is a situation where it was the middle of the day and sunny - unlike DS when it was 11pm.

My interest in this? It was my car and my insurance.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-27-2010, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Boardman, OH
602 posts, read 1,851,409 times
Reputation: 368
My mom got stuck with one of these tickets when she got rear-ended after someone in front of her came to a complete stop to make a turn. She ended up having to pay the ticket, its a racket if you ask me.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Sh-ittsburgh, PA & Lancaster County, PA
1,017 posts, read 1,949,872 times
Reputation: 292
There are all kinds of infractions, driving too fast for conditions, driving at unsafe speed, etc. You could contest it, but it probably won't help. Being the cop got there right afterward leads me to think he wasn't too far away. Your son may have passed him somewhere not even seeing him and may have been driving a little too fast/reckless at that time, he left it "slide", but then after he wrecked, he cited him. Who knows?

The bottom line the way the law/commonwealth sees it is "you must have complete control of your car at all times or do whatever necessary to make sure."
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 05:39 PM
 
261 posts, read 1,220,039 times
Reputation: 141
Actually the cop was behind him, and coming up fast in the left lane, so my son assumed he was en route somewhere and started to change lanes to let him pass and at that point got into this skid. He was doing about 30 in a 35 limit (just stopped at a red light), and the cop was going sufficiently fast that he had to pass the accident site and turn around.

My feeling is that from what I've read, and how the statute is written, that the fact that you had a an accident means that you couldn't have been in control of the vehicle. Thus you are guilty. I have even heard of people getting these tickets after an accident occurred when the police didn't even attend. Normally I would suggest he go to the magistrates court and be respectful, but I suspect in this case there would be no point. It's not so much the fine as the points.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
12,088 posts, read 15,232,621 times
Reputation: 10007
Put him in a coat and tie, have him tell his story, and at the very least I bet they drop the points. Maybe cut the fine in half.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 06:54 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 98,135,386 times
Reputation: 30523
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferprestia View Post
Actually the cop was behind him, and coming up fast in the left lane, so my son assumed he was en route somewhere and started to change lanes to let him pass and at that point got into this skid. He was doing about 30 in a 35 limit (just stopped at a red light), and the cop was going sufficiently fast that he had to pass the accident site and turn around.
I think this is subjective to how prepared a car is for the weather. I'm sure police cars have winter tires with studs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferprestia View Post
My feeling is that from what I've read, and how the statute is written, that the fact that you had a an accident means that you couldn't have been in control of the vehicle. Thus you are guilty. I have even heard of people getting these tickets after an accident occurred when the police didn't even attend.
It's always disappointing when the police show up without being called.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferprestia View Post
Normally I would suggest he go to the magistrates court and be respectful, but I suspect in this case there would be no point. It's not so much the fine as the points.
It's always worth a try.

The magistrate will rule in favor of your son if the police officer doesn't show up for the hearing.

If the police officer does show up, he still has a chance of getting some points knocked off.

It's always a gamble always worth taking.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 07:02 PM
 
261 posts, read 1,220,039 times
Reputation: 141
Do you think? Because the car DS was driving had snow tires on it (which was why he was driving it).
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,425,988 times
Reputation: 29741
What a dicky thing to do to write a ticket for a minor single-car accident. Sounds like your son was lucky enough to have a run-in with a real Barney Fife that day.

Do they have a "court supervision" provision in PA where it won't show up on their driving abstract (which is what insurance companies use to determine your rates) if you agree to plead guilty and then don't receive another ticket within 6 months or so? If so, that might be your best option.

As for getting the ticket dismissed if the cop doesn't show up for the hearing... not true. The hearing is not a trial, it's only a hearing. If you plead not guilty, a trial date is set. Then if the cop doesn't show up for the trial the ticket is dismissed -- maybe. The D.A. still has the option to ask for a continuance but probably wouldn't on such a meaningless ticket. And trial dates are typically set up so that the cop only has to show up for one day and all of the tickets he wrote that are being contested are all heard on that same day, so it won't be like he'll have to decide whether it's worth making a special trip just to testify at your son's trial -- he'll be at the courthouse on other business already.

Last edited by Drover; 02-27-2010 at 09:22 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 22,048,152 times
Reputation: 5131
I've fought a speeding ticket once, I guess about 5 years ago now, and I got it lowered to a zero-point offense (5 or less over is zero points). My dad was certain he wasn't speeding, went to court, and lost (different location but in PA).

What I found both before and after is you never really know what's going to happen when you go into those district magistrate courtrooms. From what I could tell, it's not the kind of place where you can really go in and observe the proceedings. In the one I was in (William K. Wagner, district 05-2-12, which I don't think will be the one for Ross from what I found) that would have been weird. I mean, if you have to go to traffic court in the city, maybe you can go observe, but out in those little court shacks, not so much.

The other thing I've since learned is that those guys, the district justices, are most often no more lawyers than you are. They're elected, they don't even have to have any legal experience, and they take a month of training or something. If you can get yourself elected, you can be a district justice! What that amounts to is a HUGE variance in your experiences in different courts at this level. Ultimately, I don't think it can hurt to go. The worst that happens is that he's found guilty of the original offense at the original fine and points. At best, you tell that story about getting out of the way of the cop, and the judge decides the accident is penalty enough. Who can tell?

Good luck with it.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-27-2010, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 22,048,152 times
Reputation: 5131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
As for getting the ticket dismissed if the cop doesn't show up for the hearing... not true. The hearing is not a trial, it's only a hearing. If you plead not guilty, a trial date is set. Then if the cop doesn't show up for the trial the ticket is dismissed. And trial dates are typically set up so that the cop only has to show up for one day and all of the tickets he wrote that are being contested are all heard on that same day, so it won't be like he'll have to decide whether it's worth making a special trip just to testify at your son's trial -- he'll be at the courthouse on other business already.
This confused me a lot when I read up before my own court date. The reality is, while that is the case in most states, in PA the first court date they give you IS a trial as far as I understand it. (But, if you appeal, the appeal is to a fully new trial at the next court level up; the outcome of the first trial is completely ignored.) The trial dates are indeed set so that the cop can spend one day and get through all his tickets. I didn't bother trying it, but asking for a continuance is a strategy for a better chance at the cop not showing. That's still no guarantee they'll dismiss, but if the cop's not there you certainly ask for dismissal (citing the right to confront your accuser, etc.)

Note I am most assuredly not a lawyer. It's just I read a LOT of crap before going to my court date, and I remember a fair bit of it.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:



Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh
View detailed profiles of:

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top