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
Settled out of court but could not maintain the payments as agreed upon. I have now begged the third party to please allow me to resume payment to him.
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?
Its a summons for a charge of reckless driving. The third party claims that I was trying to make a u-turn which caused him to collide with me. When we initially agreed to settle I signed an acknowledgement of debt. Like I mentioned in my initial brief I am willing to repay him for damages and can not afford to let this go to court.
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.
Thank you for your answer. I have tried finding precedents online but have been unsuccessful. What kind of conviction would I be looking at?
You are a first time offender, and in my view will only get a suspended sentence for say three to four years.
Admitted Attorney 17 years experience
And what does a suspended sentence mean?
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.
Thanks again. Just one more question if I may. Since the 3rd party has now elected to take it to the criminal court, will they still be able to sue me civilly?
Yes he can continue on a civil basis. The two are totally different.
Hi Johann. Thank you again for your advice. The court date is tomorrow. Will it make any difference if I have a lawyer with me tomorrow morning or not?
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.
So there is no chance of the case being opened and closed tomorrow then? I don't plan on contesting the charges. Really just want to get it all out of the way. Do you practice in Pretoria perhaps?
It might be if you admit to the charges. No need for a lawyer then.
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