South Africa Law
Ask a South Africa Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!
Here is the story in brief. I was driving home from my office on a Friday afternoon, when a car accident occurred. I did not have a license at the time, and the guy who drove into my agreed to settle out of court provided I make monthly payments to him. His payment requirements were quite high, but because I was scared I agreed to the payments and signed the documentation drawn up by his lawyer. By doing so I over-extended myself financially and as a result could only afford four payments before my other debt stared mounting and I was no longer able to make the payments. I have not received any communication from him in months, and on Thursday last week a detective from the police station in the area where the accident took place called me and told me he has a summons to appear in court which he wishes to serve me for a charge of reckless driving. I am in a better financial situation now and can afford to resume making the payments, an offer which I have made in writing to the third party's lawyer, but i have as yet not received any feedback. Should this go to court what should I expect to happen? I have made an offer to repay him for the damages, and simply can not afford to go to litigation on this. I have no assets which I can sell in order to raise cash to settle with the third party in a single payment, and can only afford the monthly payments as detailed in the offer to his legal council. I have never been convicted of any crime. Thank you
HiWelcome to Just Answer!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you.
The summons you received, is this for a specific amount or is it a criminal charge? Further, who's fault was the accident?
This is not a civil claim and is a criminal charge. This has got nothing to do with the fact whether you can or cannot pay. This is something you can be found guilty of, and have a criminal record.
You will have to get this person to withdraw the charges, or you will have to get a lawyer to represent you. Paying the damages is irrelevant herein.
Go to www.criminallawyer.co.za if you need someone to represent you in court.
You are a first time offender, and in my view will only get a suspended sentence for say three to four years.
They will sentence you with a two years imprisonment or a fine of R10 000, suspended for 5 years. This means that if you are being found guilty of the same offence within a 5 year period, that you will then to serve the jail time of pay the fine.
Yes he can continue on a civil basis. The two are totally different.
If they want to continue tommorow, then you should request a postponement in order for you to get a lawyer. The case will in all probability be postponed tommorow, and will not appoint a lawyer now.
It might be if you admit to the charges. No need for a lawyer then.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).