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Careless Driving Citation-for what?

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i live in kentucky and late at night a few days ago i was driving with a friend and i decided to try somthing in a rain slick parking lot. i pulled in and spun arond once, stopped, and tried to drive away but hydroplaned on a huge puddle and skidded across an access road into another parking lot. A cop just happened to see this and pulled me over and issued a citation for careless driving. I have a couple questions about this.

First of all, can the cop even issue me a ticket for careless driving b/c the kentucky definition of the violation states the violation should occur on a "public highway" and I was in a private parking lot.

second, the parking lot i was in was about the size of a football field and totally empty, so can i plead innocent saying that i wasn't endangering anyone/anything. (i made sure to check that there was no one close)

the cop didn't even ask what happened and I was too nervous at the time to explain to him that i had hydroplaned across the road, and now I suspect that is why i got a ticket instead of a warning, can i plead that as well

also the cops written description is misleading, he says I was traveling at a high rate of speed, and i was at 25 max, 20 when I hit the puddle. and he also made it sound like i was in the middle of a crowded parking lot, which i wasn't. Normally I would just pay the fine and take driving school, but if a student at my school gets a moving violation they lose their parking spot, and i can't afford to have that happen.

Thanks for any input


Senior Member
"and tried to drive away but hydroplaned on a huge puddle and skidded across an access road"

once you lost control and went onto the access road you were on a public highway.

high rate of speed is relative. you were going fast enough to hydroplane from one parking lot to another.


Senior Member
You can try the public highway argument. If the cop was not specific enough on the ticket, you might be able to argue that the careless driving he observed occurred in a private deserted parking lot. Since you looked up the violation, you should focus on the definition of careless driving. Are any behaviors careless per se? Is it just what the cop thinks is careless?

Like Stephen said, high rate of speed is a relative term. If you were going fast enough to hydroplane, you were driving too fast for conditions. Ergo, you were driving at a high rate of speed. Look up the definition of high rate of speed while you're looking up careless driving. How does the statute define it & can you argue that your driving didn't meet the definition of high rate of speed?


I understand what you are saying, I admit that I was probably driving a little too fast for conditions, but the puddle I hit was not a "typical" one, it was like 2 or 3 inches deep and about 10 feet long by 15 feet wide. I feel that while the cop might see the driving in the parking lot as careless, however harmless, but what happened on the road was not on purpose, could not have been forseen, and did not present a dangerous situaton.

Also I found that there is a provision in ky law that allows police officers to monitor parking lots if the owner of the lot has filed a written agreement with the department, so that could be bad.

Looking up some of the other reasons why people get careless driving I am wondering why this ticket seems so harsh, I think a warning would have been very adequate. Is there some way to claim that the activity was totally harmless and had no potential for risk? (that is why i decided to do it there in the first place)

Couldn't find a specific definition for high rate of speed, but the ky def. for careless driving is: "the operater will operate the vehicle in a manner that is careful, and safe and convenient for pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway"

Thanks for your help


Senior Member
Careless driving is considered a serious offense by the courts and the insurance companies. My suggestion would be to retain an attorney. Pay him a little now or pay the insurance company a lot for the next three years.


Senior Member
You got a ticket instead of a warning because you were driving like a punk kid who thinks cars are fun toys like in video games. I agree you should hire a lawyer. If you don't, you'll need to brush up on the rules of evidence. You want to keep out any evidence of how you were driving in the parking lot (prior act is not admissible to prove another act). If you can reduce the state's case to 'guy was driving the speed limit on a deserted road & hit a relaly deep puddle' you might win. However, I highly doubt your ability to successfully argue your case without a lawyer.

Pony up the bucks or at least explore a plea with the state's attorney. (Don't admit to careless driving while negotiating.)


I can see where you are coming from. My point was that I specifically did this in a deserted parking lot instead of the real road because I didn't want their to be any danger. I guess I just thought that everyone would differentiate between doing it in an empty parking lot and on the road with all the danger. I am usually a very good driver with a clean record, but I guess that it is true that the one time you do something bad/stupid, they will catch you. I am going to hire a lawyer to help. Thanks for all your advice!

p.s. now I find out that that area is a high juvenile crime area, not the best place for a random act of stupidity :)
(not that any random act of stupidity is a good idea)

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