When a Speeding Ticket Becomes a Civil Lawsuit

Accidents can happen, although we always hope they don’t. Plenty of traffic accidents are relatively minor with few or no injuries, but in our litigious society, even seemingly minor mishaps can lead to multi-million dollar lawsuits. As such, if you have been issued a speeding ticket in connection with an accident it is very important that you do not plead guilty.

Once a guilty plea has been entered into the court system, that admission can be used against you in a civil lawsuit. That’s why other states such as California and Connecticut have the option of pleading nolo contendere, i.e. no contest. In essence, a plea of nolo contendere means you know you can’t prove your innocence, so you accept the consequences of the charges but do not admit guilt. As a result, the plea and the charges cannot be used as evidence in a civil suit since you never found guilty or admitted to committing the crime.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow defendants to plead no contest; you can either accept the charges or fight them in traffic court. It should be noted that being found guilty does not carry quite the same weight in civil court as pleading guilty. However, either one indicates a level of civil liability. If the odds of getting found not-guilty of one or more charges seem slim, the next best bet would be to hire an attorney to help negotiate the charges down to a non-moving violation. In addition to having less of an impact your auto insurance, a non-moving conviction can’t be used in an accident-related civil suit.

Drivers should also be cautious about verbally admitting to traffic violations, especially at the scene of an accident. Off-the-cuff statements such as “I was only going 5mph over the limit” or “I didn’t see her in my mirror” can be used against you in civil court (as well as in traffic court).

It is essential that you contact an attorney if you or someone you love has been given a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation in connection with an accident. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys with extensive experience fighting moving violations and negotiating with prosecutors. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.