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Driving, a Necessary Evil

April 6, 2011

 

Do you think Lady Justice is really blind? Or should I be sure to wear lipstick to court? You know...just in case.

I don’t particularly enjoy driving. And I’m not that great at it. Now, I’m not a bad driver. Just not a good one. I also don’t have great luck when it comes to cars and car accidents. I’ve actually been in 4 accidents in the last 3 years. Now, they weren’t my fault.

 

Okay, technically the last one was my fault.

And it happened about 2 weeks ago.

And I have to go to court tomorrow because of it.

Now I’m fine with the fact that every accident has to be declared someone’s fault. And I’m even okay with the fact that my insurance will probably go up in August because this one got pinned on me. But in a court of law I am not okay with this being declared my fault.

I don’t want it to go on my record. And I can’t afford to pay some big fine. So, my first response is to fight. Of course, I don’t want to cause more problems for myself by fighting (like I have done just about every time I have decided to blindly stand up for myself in the past), so I decided to find out what the possible consequence would be of pleading no contest and just getting this over with.

So, I Googled it. I got nothing.

Then I called my insurance agent. He said to call my adjuster. She said to call the court house. They said to call the city attorney. They said to call legal aid. And legal aid said the judge would explain it (after i called them 6 times and they FINALLY answered).

Really?

A law-abiding citizen can’t get a straight answer from any of these people before she has to go to court? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that government isn’t helpful. But I’m pissed. I pay taxes. Lots of them. And I can’t get anyone to tell me what the possible consequences are of the choices I have in this situation?

I’m pissed. And now I’m scared. Before I was just nervous. But now what if the judge doesn’t explain anything and he/she just expects me to enter a plea? Or what if the judge does explain and still expects me to enter a plea there on the spot?

I Googled the violation code again — 10.12.150 — and nothing. I still can’t find anything that might give me some idea of the possible consequences. All I have is the explanation of the violation.

I hate government. Even the government here in my little city inside my little state is far too big. And to think, I almost went into politics.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle E. permalink
    April 6, 2011 11:22 am

    I work at the State Bar of Michigan and we answer questions like this all the time. Try someone at your state’s Bar Association, they may have state laws simplified on the web or you may need to give them a call. Possibly speak with the Pro Bono Coordinator.

  2. fleury1099 permalink
    April 20, 2011 8:53 am

    hey i like your site, you should put some more writing tips up

    Guide

  3. Roxy permalink
    April 25, 2011 8:32 pm

    All shittiness of your situation aside (I’m sorry to hear about your accident!), you’ve just outlined part of the reason I am forcing myself through law school right now. An undying desire to understand a system that affects us all.

    That being said, I looked up your predicament. I don’t know the facts of your case, but I looked up the ordinance you listed and cross referenced with South Dakota Codified law.
    You evidently violated RCO 10.12.150:
    Emerging from alley, driveway or building.
    The operator of a vehicle emerging from an alley, private driveway or building into a street shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a crosswalk or crosswalk area extending across the approach, and shall not proceed into or onto the street in such a manner as to interfere with or block traffic on the street.

    Now, that doesn’t list any sort of penalty. However, I looked at similar SD laws, and it sounds most similar to 32-26-14:
    Entry of highway from alley, building or private road–Violation as misdemeanor. The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a public highway from an alley, building, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on such public highway. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

    A class 2 misdemeanor brings maximum 30 days in jail and/or a $500. In my experience, unless there is a prior record or the misdemeanor was particularly ugly, neither of those things happen. It’s hard to say what you’ll get, since it’s a city ordinance, but at least you can have a basic idea of what MIGHT happen. At least, you’ll know the worst it can get. :)

    Good luck.

    • April 25, 2011 9:20 pm

      Right on all counts, counselor.

      Actually, I had a dispensational conference with the prosecutor today and she let me plead no contest. The judge basically let me go. I just had to pay court costs. $60 — not too painful. Although I do think there should be no left turns allowed at the spot where I got hit.

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