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  1. #1
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation MI - Careless Driving - Details?

    State: Michigan

    Similarly to all of the other posts on this forum, I'm going to state "I have an absolutely clean driving record... this was a completely unique event," and it will be a total lie. Truth is, I have a few tickets (speeding and the likes), but the last of them is just over 3 years old. Since then I've become a better driver (both in the sense of not doing dumb stuff and not getting caught).

    Earlier this afternoon, I was leaving a gas station onto a semi-busy road at about 5:30 PM (busy time). I turned onto the road and the back end slid out (high-torque rear-wheel drive sports car... it happens). I made sure that I had plenty of room between myself and other cars before turning, I didn't cross into the other lane, I wasn't very close to any cars and I posed no real threat to any person or property. This was just a regular, coming out of a parking lot, slightly down hill slide... again, it happens.

    Traveling the opposite direction was a local police car (the fuzz, if you will). He pulled a U-Turn, and I knew it was for me, so I quickly pulled off into a parking lot. He came up to the car, made some smart ass comment about how it was raining and I should have known the car was going to slide. I kept my opinions to myself, said ok and handed him my license, registration and insurance. He came back with a ticket for Careless Driving.

    I have read over the ticket, all of the info is accurrate and legibile (this guy isn't joking around). However, there are no details whatsoever written on the ticket. It says simply "Careless Driving" under description.

    Under the state code (257.626B), it says that careless driving includes the endangerment of persons and / or property, which was not the case here. Is a defense under the premise that no persons or propery were in danger and that I was not subjectively negligent enough to warrant this infraction? If not, do I have any other defense given the subjectivity of this incident / infraction?

    That aside, should I just hope to make the date for informal hearing, hope the cop doesn't show and request that the magistrate dismiss the ticket?

    Thank You,
    Andrew Madonna
  2. #2
    Curt581 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadonna
    I turned onto the road and the back end slid out (high-torque rear-wheel drive sports car... it happens).
    No, it doesn't. Unless you make it.
    a local police car (the fuzz, if you will).
    I won't.
    He came up to the car, made some smart ass comment about how it was raining and I should have known the car was going to slide
    He's right. You should have known.
    However, there are no details whatsoever written on the ticket.
    There doesn't need to be. Details will be provided at trial.
    the endangerment of persons and / or property, which was not the case here.
    That is your opinion. It will not be viewed as objective. The officer's opinion will be.
    Is a defense under the premise that no persons or propery were in danger and that I was not subjectively negligent enough to warrant this infraction?
    Since it was a "semi-busy" road, during a busy period, and it was raining, the officer's opinion that there was a high likelyhood that you could have caused an accident will be seen as reasonable.
    If not, do I have any other defense given the subjectivity of this incident / infraction?
    Sure. You could say that it wasn't you.

    Oh, wait, that won't work, either.
    That aside, should I just hope to make the date for informal hearing, hope the cop doesn't show and request that the magistrate dismiss the ticket?
    That's about your only chance.
  3. #3
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Quote:
    He came up to the car, made some smart ass comment about how it was raining and I should have known the car was going to slide

    Quote:
    Since it was a "semi-busy" road, during a busy period, and it was raining, the officer's opinion that there was a high likelyhood that you could have caused an accident will be seen as reasonable.

    I should have clarified. When I said that it "was raining," I meant that it had been raining earlier in the day (on and off), but had since stopped. I know it's semantic.

    Separate from that issue, I was hoping that I could go to Belle Tire, have them certify that the treads on my rear tires are low (which they are) and get it changed to a mechanical violation (no points, half the fine) and then just replace the tires and get the violation removed. Is there any chance of getting them to make this change?
  4. #4
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadonna
    Quote:
    He came up to the car, made some smart ass comment about how it was raining and I should have known the car was going to slide

    Quote:
    Since it was a "semi-busy" road, during a busy period, and it was raining, the officer's opinion that there was a high likelyhood that you could have caused an accident will be seen as reasonable.

    I should have clarified. When I said that it "was raining," I meant that it had been raining earlier in the day (on and off), but had since stopped. I know it's semantic.

    Separate from that issue, I was hoping that I could go to Belle Tire, have them certify that the treads on my rear tires are low (which they are) and get it changed to a mechanical violation (no points, half the fine) and then just replace the tires and get the violation removed. Is there any chance of getting them to make this change?
    You have a slightly better chance of waking up tomorrow with a 4' long tail than that happening.

    If the officer shows up at court, you're only other hope is to argue that "careless driving" provides insufficient notice to you of the offense you were charged with. If the judge happened to OD on Zanax that morning, he may dismiss the ticket. Most likely, he'll either give you a continuance, or just tell you to shut up and present your defense.

    If you're really serious about contesting it, pay the $200 and hire a traffic lawyer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  5. #5
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Quote:
    If you're really serious about contesting it, pay the $200 and hire a traffic lawyer.

    You mean to pay the $200 attorney fee, not the $200 ticket, correct? I will probably go ahead and do that.

    Thank You,
    Andrew Madonna
  6. #6
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadonna
    Quote:
    If you're really serious about contesting it, pay the $200 and hire a traffic lawyer.

    You mean to pay the $200 attorney fee, not the $200 ticket, correct? I will probably go ahead and do that.

    Thank You,
    Andrew Madonna
    Correct. Traffic lawyers are not that expensive for non-DUI offenses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  7. #7
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Attorney

    While I'm in the process of searching for an attorney, can anyone give me an idea of what to expect when I speak to them? What should I be doing in the meantime to prepare?

    Also, I spoke to the good people at Belle Tire who signed a pricing sheet indicating that the back tires on the car are, in fact, bald. They stated that the tires were in need of replacement and the treads worn. Is there any way that I can use that in an attempt to get the charge changed to a mechanical failure or defect? That way I either pay the lesser fine to get it removed with no points or I could get the tires replaced, show the invoice to the court and get the fine removed.

    Also, if I am to get the ticket dismissed, will it still show up to insurance companies that a ticket was issued, and if so, will that increase my premiums?

    Thank you,
    Andrew Madonna
  8. #8
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Another Attorney Question

    I forgot to ask my other question. If I get an attorney, is there a process that they follow to get the ticket removed, or does it follow as a court case meaning that we move forward and possibly nothing happens? I basically need to know if getting an attorney "guarantees" (understanding of course that taxes and death aside, there are no guarantees... hence the quotes) that I will get the charge lessened (if not removed).

    Beyond that, how long does it take for the ticket to go on my record for insurance companies to view and use to jack up my premiums?

    Thank you,
    Andrew Madonna
  9. #9
    Curt581 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadonna
    is there a process that they follow to get the ticket removed, or does it follow as a court case meaning that we move forward and possibly nothing happens?
    Attorneys don't get anything removed. They argue your defense in front of a judge or jury. The judge or jury decides whether it's removed.
    Beyond that, how long does it take for the ticket to go on my record for insurance companies to view and use to jack up my premiums?
    If I were you, I'd be more worried about the insurance company dropping you altogether. The way you drive... on bald tires... you're an accident looking for a place to happen.

    To answer your question, moving violations usually stay on your record for five years. Even afterward, don't expect your premiums to drop very fast. You'll be getting more tickets in the mean time, anyway.

    "It happens"... remember?
  10. #10
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    And I'm not so sure presenting a "defense" which consists of admitting your car would fail an inspection and not be legal to drive on public roads is such a hot idea either.

    Once you find & speak with a traffic lawyer, I'm sure he or she will allay your fears.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  11. #11
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Attorneys and Defense

    First of all, it is my understanding that you cannot be cited for something after the fact unless it is on your ticket. For example, if you receive a ticket going 45 in a 30 and the officer writes you up for 5 over, you CAN be given the full penalty for 15 over during the proceedings.

    However, if the ticket simply states "45 in a 30" and 5 over, you CANNOT be given a DUI if you confess to having several drinks as a part of your defense. If you walk into a police station and clearly state "I drove drunk last night," you cannot be given a DUI or sent to jail (or at least you cannot be given one that will stand up in court).

    So, if I make an agreement with the prosecutor or the magistrate that states that I will be willing to accept a mechanical violation (and I will not fight it), he can agree to remove my careless driving ticket. In that situation, if I pay the mechanical violation and move on, it's case closed. However, in the situation that I decide to fight the violation, then in the proceedings, they can bring up that my ticket states careless driving and I will receive the full penalty. However, simply telling the prosecutor that I have bald tires cannot be written as a separate violation (unless he sends an officer to follow me to my car and follow me home and pull me over when I leave the parking lot).

    This is what I understand of the law from attorneys (family friends in different areas of the law) with which I've spoken and what I have read on the Federal government and Michigan's website. My curiosity simply lies in what an attorney that specializes in traffic law will most likely have me do and what my chances are of different things happening (if they are even possible). I know that there is no law that states "Magistrates can/cannot change the citation to a lesser violation." This means that it is up to the subjective opinion of the magistrate and I have no experience with that (nor can I find it anywhere online) and am curious if anyone has experience with that.

    On a personal note, I do not feel guarantteed that I will be receiving more tickets as I have improved my driving habits. As I learned in my tempestuous youth, there is no way to "not get caught," because if you have poor driving habits, you will eventually be caught. Finally (believe me, it took a while), I have improved those habits making this a relatively isolated incident.

    Final point is insurance. I have had tickets before (none in over 3 years) and I do know that insurance companies have to disclose how far back they look on your record and it is usually two or three years. Progressive chooses 3 and State Farm chooses 2. I have also found now that my insurance rates are reasonable compared to other drivers of similar age/area/vehicle but with better driving records. I found these results around 2 years after my final ticket (however, I did change insurance companies at the time). That said, I am not concerned about being dropped.

    Thank you,
    Andrew Madonna
  12. #12
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation RESULTS ARE IN!!! (includes pot-shots at Curt581)

    Well, I went today to argue my case with the magistrate. I put together a couple of diagrams of what happened. I had my invoice with me and some pictures of the tires. I took some pictures on site and got some traffic statistics for the time of the accident.

    I was also sure to have a well-formed and practiced argument.

    I first set down precedent for where I felt the event didn't constitute "careless driving" and explained my side of the story. I used the diagrams to demonstrate. I used the statistics to show the difficulty the officer must have had navigating while spotting me for all the time that he must have. I followed it with an explanation of how the low tread on the tires and the adverse road condition could cause sensible driving to result in what may appear a small loss of control.

    The result of the case was that the 3 point, $200 careless driving ticket was reduced to a 0 point $85 mechanical violation (with the option to repair/replace the tires and have the fine removed).

    Responses:

    You Are Guilty:
    I used my defense of low tire tread, but didn't venture as far as to say they were insufficient for driving and that I was a hazard to all. Despite your suggestion, I thought denoting a medium amount of responsibility would be more helpful; though I do appreciate your concern. Luckily, I didn't grow that 4' tail you were talking about. Also, I did speak to a traffic attorney briefly, but in Michigan, you don't use a traffic attorney unless you go to a trial with a judge, and my case didn't make it that far. So, I never got to actually discuss my case with him. However, that piece of advice I do appreciate.

    Curt581:
    After reading your responses here and amongst other sites, I can only imagine just how inbred you have to be to be so retarded. Often your advice is unresearched and a lot of hearsay that people talk about, but isn't really true. Saying things like watching out for the insurance company dropping me because I have bald tires is as foolish as telling me that because of this ticket Santa will give me coal this year. People come to these forums looking for help handling a ticket. I am yet to see one post that says "I messed up and the cop said I did something stupid, can someone please confirm that?"
  13. #13
    Curt581 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadonna
    Curt581:
    After reading your responses here and amongst other sites, I can only imagine just how inbred you have to be to be so retarded. Often your advice is unresearched and a lot of hearsay that people talk about, but isn't really true. Saying things like watching out for the insurance company dropping me because I have bald tires is as foolish as telling me that because of this ticket Santa will give me coal this year. People come to these forums looking for help handling a ticket. I am yet to see one post that says "I messed up and the cop said I did something stupid, can someone please confirm that?"
    You would have looked much less juvenile if you'd have posted a crayon drawing of yourself sticking your tongue out at me.

  14. #14
    amadonna is offline Junior Member
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    Uploading

    The site won't allow me to upload a picture. I figured that if I posted a link, less people would see it.

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