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My 78yr old father was cited when he pulled out in to traffic and a metro city bus clipped his rear end.

Phoenix, AZ |

What's worse is he received a criminal ticket as well for not wearing his corrective lenses. He is not a very sensible person in his older age & we worry about his behavior in front of the judge. Any suggestions or ideas on what we can expect?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

I'm going to chime in here only because an Arizona attorney hasn't answered. I'm not a criminal law specialist, and only run into vehicular crimes as a personal injury attorney.

Your father was likely cited with A.R.S. 28-3480, which is operating a motor vehicle in violation of a drivers license restriction. That is a class 2 misdemeanor, meaning possible outcomes are 4 months jail-time, probation, and/or a 750.00 fine which will be more like $1,500.00 after all the surcharges. Even if your dad has a prior misdemeanor for the same behavior, the maximum jail time that could be prescribed should still be 6 months. There might also be restitution ordered for any property damage caused to the bus, which may (hopefully) or may not be paid by your dad's insurance.

The good news (in a way) is that if jail time is a potential outcome, and your father is indigent, a public defender could be assigned to help him. I'm not sure how it works specifically in Maricopa county, but usually the city prosecutor has to indicate if he intends to seek jail time so you and the court know whether this right could be triggered.

Likely, your father is a nice person with strong ties to the community. A prosecutor might be amenable to seeking only a fine for the Class 2 and perhaps restitution, though any of the above outcomes is certainly possible. With an attorney, you might be able to plea the class 2 down to a lesser offense, in exchange for relieving the prosecution of its burden to prove a case against your dad ("plea bargain").

As with any criminal case, your dad doesn't need to say anything to the prosecution, and should probably locate an attorney that can give him specific advice.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

This is printed in response to a general question, without knowing the specifics of your case. If you are in a eviction/detainer action, please disregard the above and see the Rules for Eviction Actions, using the same link posted above.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, this is very helpful. I'm a little confused though... I figured if he pleas guilty he has a better chance of them reducing the charges?

Jules August Grandjean II

Jules August Grandjean II

Posted

If he just pleads guilty at his appearance, then the charge he was cited with is the charge that will stick, and the court will then decide how to sentence him on that charge (the prosecutor will make a suggestion on how to sentence as well). If you plea bargain, which is something initiated outside of the courtroom between attorneys, you essentially agree that your dad will plead guilty, but only to a lesser charge. Because your dad sounds like he needs someone to help him, you should really seek an attorney to do so. You should be aware that even though you are a good a son, you are prohibited from appearing on his behalf in criminal court or making arguments for him - that is considered the unauthorized practice of law as you are not an attorney. If you have any other questions, please ask. But please secure a criminal/traffic lawyer to advocate for your Dad.

Asker

Posted

His court date is this coming Friday. Should he hire a lawyer for the initial court appearance or do people normally plea not guilty and then bring the lawyer to the next court date?

Jules August Grandjean II

Jules August Grandjean II

Posted

There is no normal. But given that your dad appears to be confused at times, you will probably want someone to act for him in all ways. You should remember that once you get into the courtroom, this becomes about the State and your Dad - You will not get to stand up and inform the court that your Dad pleads not guilty, or advocate for him at the proceeding. If he's in the condition you suggest, you'll probably want to have an attorney there to take the reins.

Posted

Hire him a traffic ticket lawyer to fight the charge.report the claim to his insurance company.

Posted

Hire an attorney to fight the ticket for a couple hundred dollars. It'd be worth the money.

Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.

Posted

Spend a couple hundred bucks for a local traffic court lawyer to fight it.

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