How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JJ Your Own Question
JJ
JJ, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 4502
Experience:  Admitted Attorney 17 years experience
18691375
Type Your South Africa Law Question Here...
JJ is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Reckless Driving Charge

Customer Question

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

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

Welcome 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?

 

Regards

 

Johann

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
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.
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

 

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.

 

Regards

 

Johann

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. I have tried finding precedents online but have been unsuccessful. What kind of conviction would I be looking at?
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

 

You are a first time offender, and in my view will only get a suspended sentence for say three to four years.

 

Regards

 

Johann

JJ and other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
And what does a suspended sentence mean?
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

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.

 

Regards

 

Johann

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
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?
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

 

Yes he can continue on a civil basis. The two are totally different.

 

Regards

 

Johann

 

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
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?
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

 

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.

 

Regards

 

Johann

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
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?
Expert:  JJ replied 6 years ago.

Hi

 

It might be if you admit to the charges. No need for a lawyer then.

 

Regards

 

Johann

Related South Africa Law Questions