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College student, traffic offenses, please help ASAP!

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Florida

I was arrested for reportedly getting into an traffic accident and leaving the scene. When I was arrested I was told my license was suspended because my insurance company cancelled my policy (never informed me for non-payment which is false) and informed the florida dmv. I have never been arrested before. I'm in college (senior Economics major 3. 9 gpa) with 3 professional job offers upon graduation (1-wall street, 2-real estate). After getting bailed out and using the services of a lawyer that specializes in traffic offenses, a plea has been negotiated with adjudication witheld and 6 months probation or until #X community service hours are completed. I have two traffic court offenses: hit & run-misdameanor, and driving with a suspended license-misdameanor. My lawyer called me today and said that I have to take the plea or go to trial by wednesday (by way of the judge).

My questions are: (1) Will these offenses show up in future background checks (of prestigous firms) and adversely affect my employment opportunities if I take the plea? (2) What is the probability of getting my record sealed (& to what extent) after meeting the terms of the plea (assuming I take it)? (3) Given that I have no prior criminal history, is this plea considerable? (4) What other advice would you give me in this situation?

P.S. Is my career in financial services (wall street) and real estate on the line or am I over-analyzing this situation?

Thank you in advance for your consderation and reponse.


Senior Member
We all do or have done stupid things at least once in our life. But you are right, the charges against you are reasonably serious, and a conviction -- much less a double conviction -- could hurt your career prospects, as state licensure is needed for many securities industry and real estate positions, and there also are SEC and NASD discosures that have to be made. At the very least you'll be having to relive and explain this for the next 20 years.

The plea deal seems reasonable. But that's for you and your lawyer to figure out.

I there was a hit and run, I don't know what defense you or your lawyer could mount. The prosecutor shows there was an accident, gets a witness to say you left the scene, and that's it. What's your defense. If you already admitted there was an accident and/or you left the scene, that's also just about it.

As for the insurance, that involves several matters of fact. Was your auto insurance cancelled for non-payment? Will the carrier ackowledge it was paid? Did it send the letter to DMV in error? In that case does it mean the license was erroneously or improperly cancelled? (State laws can differ on this.) Does the FL statute require that you have personal knowledge that your license was cancelled when you drove, or is it a per se matter so that if it was cancelled (even erroneously) and you drove, you're guilty?

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