I received a "driving too fast for conditions" citation after I rolled my truck into the ditch due to snow. I was going 50 - 55 mph in a 65 mph zone. The road turns to a bend right before it merges into another highway. When I hit this bend, my rear end lost traction which sent me sliding into the ditch. There was maybe an inch to 2 inches of snow on the ground. It was the first snow of the year. My truck was totaled, I had to go to the hospital to have glass removed from my hand AND I have to take care of a $250 ticket with 4 points. I am most concerned about the ticket raising my insurance rates. Is it worth taking time off of work to go plead no contest with an explanation in hopes of dropping the charge? I would plead no contest due to the fact that I definitely could not take off more than one day for court. I was driving under the speed limit. My driving record is clean. I was one of about 30 cars in the ditch that morning.
If you plead "no contest" the Court will find you guilty and assess the fine and points against you. You need to plead "not guilty" if you want any chance of negotiating the matter with the prosecutor. Check the ticket - if it says that an appearance is not mandatory (it likely is not mandatory), you should be able to plead not guilty via mail. The matter would then be set for a pretrial conference at which time you can talk to the prosecutor to see if some other deal can be worked out.
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First of all, you need to slow down in the snow, especially if you have a vehicle which is primarily rear wheel drive, since those are extraordinarily prone back end spin outs any time that the road is even slightly slippery, which is well over half the time during the winter. You should also consider getting a front wheel drive vehicle for the winter, which is far safer. Either way, however, since one never knows what the future holds in terms of new violations (which tend to come in "waves"), I always recomend having your lawyer get the best deal possible on every moving violation, and trying to hopefully avoid moving violation convictions altogether. Effects of convictions go well beyond points and loss of license, affecting your insurance rates for years into the future, so if you are someone who needs to drive, you should zealously protect those rights with experienced legal representation, any time that you are cited.
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Many people belive that if you lose control of your vehicle you are automatically guilty of driving too fast for conditions. It is not automatic, but the facts you stated look as though the case against you is fairly strong. It really comes down to whether you would have gone off the road if you had been driving even slower than you were. If you would have gone off the road even if you had slowed down to a "crawl", then you probably were not driving too fast for conditions. The fact that many other drivers were in the ditch does not necessary prove your case as it is also possible that all of those other drivers were ALSO driving too fast for conditions.
This communication is for the purposes of general advice only. This communication does not form any contractual obligation on behalf of Attorney Stephen W. Sawyer or the Law Offices of Stephen W. Sawyer.
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