Given a traffic ticket even though the other driver admitted fault?

by Robbin
(Texas City, TX)

I was leaving a shopping center parking lot and entering a feeder road. I stopped behind the stop sign. But because my view was obstructed by high grass, I had to pull up slightly to get a better view. After several cars passed, it appeared I had clear view to pull out. As I pulled into the right lane, I saw a car coming and commented to my mom "that car is going fast".

The other driver ended up on the curb and struck his left front panel (Nissan sedan) into my right front tire (Toyota tundra). We pulled into the right turning lane that entered the parking lot I was leaving. The other driver pulled off the curb and ended up in front of me.

I asked my mom to tell him to pull in the parking lot because he was out of the car and vehicles were going by on the feeder road.

He immediately apologized and said he was speeding at 60 miles an hour. He took all the blame, because it was his fault. If he had not been speeding, I don't believe he would have hit the truck. The driver told us his uncle was a cop in this town and had received the call but they'd send someone else.

I told the cop my side, but he was immediately condescending to me. I told him the driver was going 60 in a 50. He responded to me sarcastically, "well, it's a feeder."

A few seconds later, I told him the driver was speeding. The cop responded, "you can't estimate speed." I said "I don't have to. He confessed to going 60." The cop responded "that doesn't matter." My mom asked the cop, "so it doesn't matter that he was speeding... a driver can go as fast as they want on the feeder?" The officer responded "yes."

The cop gave me a Texas ticket, "Failure to Yield 545.155". What chance do I have in fighting this? I'm worried that because of the ticket I'll now be held responsible for the collision, even though the other driver admitted fault. What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Given a traffic ticket even though the other driver admitted fault?":

Robbin (Texas City, TX):

Whatever you do, don't pay the least not for now. In most cases, paying a traffic ticket is tantamount to an admission of guilt. Instead, notify the municipal court or justice of the peace office in Texas City.

In Texas City, tickets can be heard before a municipal judge or a justice of the peace. Tell the clerk you do not want to pay the ticket, but instead want to plead not guilty and have your ticket set for trial.

In Texas, a person fighting a traffic ticket has the right to request their ticket be heard before a judge alone, referred to as a Trial Before the Court (TBC), or by a jury of six (6).

If the municipal judge, or justice of the peace, hearing ticket cases in Texas City has a reputation for siding with the police, then you will be better off requesting a jury to hear your case. Finding out if the judge or justice has a reputation for siding with police officers will be difficult.

Speak with friends and family members who may have received a ticket and contested it. See what they have to say. You aren't required to retain an attorney for your trial. You can probably handle the case yourself.

There is an alternative. If you go to trial and are found guilty, you will have a conviction on your driver's record. Once the conviction is there, you won't be able to have it removed.

To be sure you won't lose at trial you might consider asking the clerk of the court if instead of a trial, you can enter a plea of "No-Contest" and receive a Deferred Adjudicated Sentence. In Texas, a deferred adjudicated sentence means once you successfully complete a drivers education course, your ticket will be dismissed.

Having your case dismissed in this matter means the insurance company can't rely on a conviction to penalize you. Unfortunately, the insurance company, whether its yours or the other driver's, will do what they want, regardless of the existence of a ticket, its dismissal, or a conviction.

Whether you decide to go to trial or not, contact your insurance company and tell them you have no culpability for the collision. Explain everything which happened at the collision site. From there you can only hope for the best.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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