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Tina, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 year experience including traffic law.
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Questions about Careless Driving section 3714a in PA.

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Questions about Careless Driving section 3714a in PA.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Careless Driving section 3714a in PA. Had a sheet of paper propped between lap and steering wheel, which I had glanced at several times. Officer claims I was "reading" for 3/10 of a mile, which is about 16 seconds at 65 mph speed limit. There was no unsafe handling of vehicle (e.g. no speeding, no unsafe following distance, no leaving lane, no accident, etc.), and I responded within 2 seconds to officer's lights and began to pull over, demonstrating full attention to operation of vehicle. I do not feel I deserve 3 points. My opinion is the officer was assigning motives to actions that were never committed, and that there was no evidence whatsoever of "careless disregard for the safety of persons or property." In fact, I have not been anywhere near an accident for over 25 years... very safe record. Can I fight the points by appearing before the local magistrate? What is my best defense?

Hello again and thank you for the additional information.

Yes, I would typically oppose this citation if the officer cannot provide any evidence that you engaged in any conduct which rose to the level of careless disregard of persons or property. If you have any witnesses to your conduct, that would typically be helpful as well.

The fact that you have not had any accidents for so long, coupled with your testimony as to what actually happened could be enough to persuade a court that the case should be dismissed.

You best defense would typically be the truth, and recounting events in as much detail as possible, which should indicate to the court that you were alert. It could turn out to be a battle of testimony if there are no witnesses or other evidence, but if the state cannot prove their case, then it should be dismissed against you.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.


There were no passengers with me at the time. I have heard that the court will not retract a citation once issued, as they need the revenue. If this is true, the suggestion was to ask the magistrate to reduce the citation to one that bears no points against my license, but which still requires payment.


Do you agree with the above strategy? If so, reduce to what charge? If not, do you believe the charge should be dismissed outright? (We are assuming the magistrate is a reasonable person, which may or may not be true).

Hello again,

I would not typically suggest to a court that their rulings are based on generating revenue and not a correct application of the law. I would request a dismissal based on the state's failure to carry their burden of proof. There was no accident and you did not violate any rules of the road, so there is a very weak case for careless driving with only the officer's testimony.

Yes, if the judge is reasonable, I would expect them to dismiss it if you contest the matter since the state's burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt just like a criminal case. Of course, that is not always a safe assumption as you suggest.
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