What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Minnesota
OK, so I recieved a ticket in Ramsey County, MN, for Inattentive driving. The statute listed is 169.14(1) which I later read has to do with speeding and the use of "due care." The incident actually involved my failure to yield to a bicylist in a crosswalk. The street I was on (University Ave. in Saint Paul) is a large road divided by a median. The traffic on the other side (which included a city bus and a police squad car) was stopped, but I didn't see any one trying to cross at first and figured there was some kind of altercation surrounded by rubberneckers. Then a guy on a bike rode out from the other side and stopped at the median. I didn't feel I had enough room to make a reasonable stop, so I kept going. So did the car immediately behind me (which is why I didn't want to slam on the brakes like the car to my right did). The police officer on the other side started squacking, did a u-turn, and pulled over myself and the car behind me. The officer seemed real aggressive and didn't ask me any questions. I did ask him about rules governing bicycles, but he told me it didn't matter. He told me he was giving me the Inattentive ticket because it was cheaper than the failure to yield ticket. I got home and found that my insurance will regard it as a major 3-point violation. It is, however, a petty misdemeanor which means I won't be entitled to a jury trial.
Now, what I would like input on is: What kind of burden of proof does the state have? From what I've read, this ticket is usually associated with an accident or some kind of property damage, which isn't the case here. The language of the statute seems so vague that I don't know if I'll have much of a case when its just me vs. the police officers' testimony (there were two in the squad car, both VERY senior). I wish I would have just got the misdemeanor failure to yield ticket. It only counts as two points!
Just so it is known, I did research the statutes regarding bike operation. They have the same right and duties in a crosswalk, but the law also states that a pedestrian (which I guess they are in this case) cannot run or dart into traffic so that a vehicle has no opportunity to stop. Would I want to even use this line if the ticket isn't about right of way?
I seems that these officers issued this ticket because its harder to defend, not cheaper to pay.