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xavierjd
xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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I live in the country where the roads are without any lighting.

Resolved Question:

I live in a country where the roads are without any street lighting. A policeman on this road was investigating an accident. I had seen his flasing lights from afar. I reduced my speed as i approached. Unfortunately on this very dark road the police car was positioned past the accident scene. Cones were set up before the accident scene. The cones possitioned DID NOT reflect . I veered off to keep from hitting the cones, and a flagman was on the far left on the opposite side of the road. The officer gave me a ticket for wreckless driving. I feel that he did not properly take steps to secure the accident scene. Am I resposible for his poor judgement?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for using JustAnswer.com

 

Is "reckless driving" the only violation that you were issued?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes. What I am concerned about is that he wanted to know where I was from before he wrote the ticket. I only spoke to him very shortly before he wrote the ticket
Expert:  xavierjd replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the information.

 

It is not uncommon for an officer to ask where a person is from, where s/he is going, and s/he know why s/he was being pulled over.

 

Reckless driving is a serious offense in Alabama. Specifically, Section 32-5A-190 of the Alabama vehicle code states:

Section 32-5A-190

Reckless driving.

(a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.

 

(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five days nor more than 90 days, or by fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and on a second or subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and the court may prohibit the person so convicted from driving a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state for a period not exceeding six months, and the license of the person shall be suspended for such period by the Director of Public Safety pursuant to Section 32-5A-195.

 

(c) Neither reckless driving nor any other moving violation under this chapter is a lesser included offense under a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

Further, upon a conviction, 6 points would be assessed to your driving record.

(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §9-101.)

First, if there is not a specific court date written on the ticket, you absolutely must call the court (the telephone number should be on the ticket) and get a court date. You must appear for the court date given/mailed to you.

 

It may very well be that the cones were not properly reflective. Also, the flagman may not have had reflective gear or equipment that would have allowed you to see the accident sooner. Either of these would be a defense to the original charge of reckless driving.

 

If you have a good driving record, you may be able to speak to the prosecutor prior to your hearing. It is possible that if you have a good driving record and/or the circumstances warrant it, you may offered a plea bargain to a lesser offense which carries no jail time, lesser fines and less points.

 

If you do not want to accept any plea bargain that may be offered, you have a right to have a trial. The officer and any witnesses will testify under oath as to what they believed happened. You can question them based upon their testimony. You can also call witnesses and question them (ie; any passengers in your car, etc.) and the prosecutor may also ask them questions. You may also testify on your own behalf, but you are not required to do so. If you do testify, the prosecutor will cross examine you. The judge will make a ruling based on the testimony.

 

Given the serious nature of the charge, you may want to consult an attorney who specializes in traffic law. You can contact your local bar association for a referral. It will probably give you 2 or 3 names. You can contact the attorney(s) for a telephone consultation, or ask to set up an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case. Sometimes, these consultations are free.

 

You, I am sure, will want to limit the number of points assessed to your driving record, limit or eliminate any required driver license suspension, and limit, or eliminate any jail time. In this regard, you really should seek the consultation of an attorney.

 

I wish you the best of luck. I hope everything works out in your favor.

 

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Exactly how is it my fault if a police officer who doesn't use proper and neccessary steps to secure an accident sceen under those conditions? The people involved in the accident should expect that YES? , and not to be subjected to a TRUELY wrectless driver. I am a resident of ALABAMA for 15 years. NOT one mark on my driving record. yet by the way the officer brought that to my attention. If you truely believe he is not in the wrong then you are of no help to me with the way you think. I'M glad it did'nt happen to you. You might have a change of heart.
Expert:  xavierjd replied 5 years ago.

Please, I think that you got the wrong impression. Let me clarify.

 

I provided you the law on reckless driving and the penalties that attach.

 

In order for you to be found guilty of the offense, the prosecution has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. That means that they must prove each and every element of reckless driving.

 

You are correct. The officers and/or flagman should have properly secured the scene by providing proper reflective gear and/or cones. Their failure to do so is NOT your fault.

 

I am taking one side or the other. I want you to know the law under which you have been cited, and the possible penalties if found guilty.

 

I also indicated to you that the facts as you stated them are possible defenses to the charge of reckless driving.

 

I also wanted to give you options--meaning other ways of attempting to resolve the ticket short of a trial. You do not have to consider any of those options. I just wanted you to be aware of them.

 

I also wanted you to be aware of your option to speak with an attorney. As indicated, sometimes consultations are free. You can present the facts of your specific incident to the attorney and let him/her advise you. You can choose to take the attorney's advice or not. You can represent yourself. I just wanted to make you aware of the option.

 

I in no way believe that the officer is "not in the wrong". I tried to provide you information and possible options.

 

Thank you for allowing me to clarify my answer.

 

xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience: Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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