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HELP! VA accident laws
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HELP! VA accident laws - November 2, 2011, 02:11 PM

So my girlfriend lives in Arlington and was recently in a car accident where she slid into the back of another car during heavy rain (on my birthday of all days). I was overseas at the time, and still am. She said the cop gave her the ticket and said to be in court on a certain day.

I've been in an at fault accident in MD and I just paid the fine without dealing with a court date, and insurance took care of the damages. This was her first accident (which I didn't know at the time...shame on me for not knowing). Needless to say she was pissed when I told her the day before her court date that she probably could have just paid the fine. She went to the first court date and it got postponed (or whatever they call it) to December.

I thought it was pretty much the same in all states in that agreeing to go to court means you want the chance to prove you're not at fault, and simply paying is an admission of guilt. Is this not the case in VA, or am I missing something else here?


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November 2, 2011, 02:17 PM

What was the ticket for? Some tickets you're required to go to court for.
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November 2, 2011, 02:18 PM

Following too closely


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November 2, 2011, 02:56 PM

Did either one of you try calling the number on the ticket to see if it's pre-payable?


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November 2, 2011, 03:06 PM

IMO don't ever take a ticket without a fight especially if the officer wasn't even there at the time. The courts would have to prove it by having a witness state that she actually observed as following too closely. Especially if it was on a bike she can reason the accident to the fact that plastic and metal slides much more easily than rubber. The only other way to prove the following distance requires an in-depth analysis by accident investigators which I am sure was not performed because it is a very expensive process to the police department.

Who the courts deem as guilty or innocent isn't always tied to who the insurance companies deem to be at fault so that's not a conflict.

Tickets follow you for a long time both in points, in insurance rates, and if you get pulled over in the future and the officer looks up your record to decide whether to give you a break or not.
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November 2, 2011, 03:54 PM

What sucks even more is that if they didn't notify you of the continuance until you were in court you had pretty good grounds to get the case dismissed on the spot. She took the time off work to show up and the prosecution (the cop) was a no show.

Judges will often grant a dismissal in these instances if you ask for it and explain you took time off work and lost pay to appear to defend yourself and it's an unnecessary hardship for you to have to take another day off just because the cop was a no show.
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November 3, 2011, 12:07 AM

I was not there. I'm not even in the country and I have not seen the ticket. I asked her if she read the ticket and (like a typical woman) she just got all frustrated and stopped talking about it. Again, this was her first ticket and she thought if the cop told her to be in court then she had to go.

She already went to her first court appearance, which she took time off of work for. I'm assuming the cop didn't show up but I don't know. The problem is that we already bought tickets for vacation overseas and the date her court appearance got postponed to is right at that time. So now I'm trying to make her stop being an emotional wreck and take care of the situation...women.


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November 3, 2011, 04:05 AM

In VA if you rear end someone it your fault period. Pay the fine and have a nice day.


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November 3, 2011, 05:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobrains View Post
In VA if you rear end someone it your fault period. Pay the fine and have a nice day.
Pretty much this, which is why she got the ticket she did. MD is the same thing.
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November 3, 2011, 06:41 AM

Quote:
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In VA if you rear end someone it your fault period. Pay the fine and have a nice day.
Not true. It's situational. I rear ended a lady on 7 at that intersection west bound to go to the mall. She switched lanes and squeezed in front of me then slammed on her brakes to get into the turn lane. Cops gave her the ticket and her insurance paid. You cannot just change lanes and stop.
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November 3, 2011, 07:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by madwards28 View Post
(like a typical woman) she just got all frustrated and stopped talking about it.
Despite this a-hole comment...

Quote:
Originally Posted by madwards28 View Post
She already went to her first court appearance, which she took time off of work for. I'm assuming the cop didn't show up but I don't know. The problem is that we already bought tickets for vacation overseas and the date her court appearance got postponed to is right at that time. So now I'm trying to make her stop being an emotional wreck and take care of the situation...women.
Talked to a cop last night and yes, all accident tickets in VA are mandatory court appearance. So why didn't she speak up in court and say that she couldn't come for the next court date if she knew it was a bad date? Tell her to call the court and explain to them that she has already purchased a vacation out of the country and that she needs a continuance.


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November 3, 2011, 08:50 AM

Or just take the backup girlfriend on the vacation!

I kid! I kid!
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November 3, 2011, 09:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SxyRdr View Post
Despite this a-hole comment...



Talked to a cop last night and yes, all accident tickets in VA are mandatory court appearance. So why didn't she speak up in court and say that she couldn't come for the next court date if she knew it was a bad date? Tell her to call the court and explain to them that she has already purchased a vacation out of the country and that she needs a continuance.
Not true. I rear ended someone. Paid my fine and was done. I know it was my fault.


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November 3, 2011, 11:12 AM

I just went through this on my motorcycle. Since it was an accident that was pretty much due to me being drowsy, I knew it was going to be my fault. If the cop didn't show it should've been dismissed by now, but assuming he/she did and you got a second court date, it sounds like she pleaded not-guilty? In this case she's going to have a rough time to prove her innocence in a rear end case unless there's some really extraordinary circumstances causing the accident. If the court gave a continuance, yeah, definitely request to see if you can get another continuance for a different date.

In my case, I really did not want 4 points added onto my driving record and have my insurance company notified of a moving violation on top of the rear-end liability claim I had to do. This would've increased my car insurance rates as well even though it was a motorcycle accident. In the end I got a lawyer who got it reduced to a "Not Paying Attention While Driving" ticket which was a higher fine, but 0 points and no DMV report.




Last edited by soupy; November 3, 2011 at 11:18 AM..
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