WHAT???!!!!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by AdamnJakesMommy, Aug 8, 2018 at 8:09 PM.

  1. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2018 at 8:09 PM

    Okay, so I'm posting this on here because I am completely floored. Bear in mind, I'm very sheltered and have no experience with anything like this.

    On July 17th, I was driving, it started raining, I slowed down, and hydroplaned anyway---hitting a guard rail.

    The police officer cited me, saying "It was totally NOT your fault, that area has just been paved---it's slick, there's nothing you could've done about it. But, we are told by the state to cite drivers with "failure to maintain lane control" for damaging state property during an accident (she even referred to it as that) in order to ensure that the damage is paid for."

    Well, today, I went to the DA's office, with my insurance letter accepting liability--hoping to pay and be done, and was told "no, you must appear in court Tuesday, you've been charged with a misdemeanor." WHAT, LIKE A CRIME? For hydroplaning? How many people spin out, hit guard rails, and drive off---I, completely honest and forthright, hydroplane, call the police, as I should, and this is what I have to deal with? I have NEVER had a record. This is insane, for hydroplaning. Unbelievable.

    I went and got a lawyer today. He is going to court for me with the likely end that the charges will be dropped. Fingers crossed. I have not had a speeding ticket in over a decade, and of course nothing else on my record, so it should be worked out.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Aug 8, 2018 at 8:13 PM

    Wow!
     
  4. TeacherCuriousExplore

    TeacherCuriousExplore Cohort

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    Aug 8, 2018 at 8:29 PM

    WTH!
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    You are not going to like this, but technically you were exceeding the speed warranted by driving conditions, which gives the officer the cause to write the ticket. Sucks, but it is true. What happens in court is out of his/her hands. I believe that you have been very fortunate to have lived a charmed life up until this point. My guess is that the lawyer will earn his money and you may have to pay the fine (and the lawyer) without the misdemeanor charge. Perhaps it would have been better if they had simply fined you for the amount of money you are going to end up spending - that would have actually benefited the state's road repair coffer more. In that scenario, all of the money would have gone directly to the people who are responsible for repairs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018 at 4:19 PM
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 1:59 PM

    But she said she slowed down when it started raining. Hmm.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 3:48 PM

    But she was still going too fast for conditions. I am not chastising her for her accident, only telling you what you can find in any driver's manual in virtually any state.
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:28 PM

    That is true, but it is very sad that so many people are being hit with criminal charges over things that were never "criminal" before.
     
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  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    I agree, but it would be considered a moving violation. In my first post, I did comment that it would have been better if every penny that OP is going to spend over this, including lawyer fees, had simply gone into one very hefty fine and points on the driver's license. Obviously this state has a different was of doing things.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:43 PM

    You can still hydroplane even at a reduced rate of speed. One thing that I’ve never liked is the vague terms used in the driver’s handbook. Exactly what constitutes “too fast” for conditions? At what speed does “safe” become “not safe”? I say this because I’ve hydroplaned before — though I was never ticketed — at 15 mph when I driving in a 55 mph stretch of road on a day when it was pouring.
     
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  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:47 PM

    I'm only the person telling you what the law says and how the accident could be viewed by the officer who responded. If losing control of your vehicle at 15 mph, probably the authors of the manuals would say it isn't safe road conditions for driving. When you were hydroplaning at 15 mph, were you in an accident that caused damage? Apparently OP was.
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:49 PM

    I cannot understand how you have been charged with a misdemeanor! Hope this is resolved quickly.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    OP, what state are you in?

    A quick search about misdemeanors yields this:

    Generally speaking, in most states, a traffic violation becomes a misdemeanor or felony if it:
    1. Causes injury to a person or destruction of property, or.
    2. Creates a real threat of injury to a person or destruction of property.
    Since the officer mentioned the damage to newly installed guard rails, one can see how the accident got to this point, legally.
     
  14. Aces

    Aces Companion

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 4:55 PM

    Depending on your tires and your vehicle weight, hydroplaning can occur in theory as little as 5mph. Essentially the way your tires work is the treads act as channels to dissipate the water. This allows your tires to maintain contact with the road, the friction between the road and your tires is what keeps you in control of your vehicle. Hydroplaning, therefore occurs when the amount of water is too great for your tires to displace, which creates a thin layer of water between your tires and the road, eliminating the friction which keeps your vehicle steady. The first rain after a period of time is more dangerous because the oil and water mixture on the highway causes issues.

    @op: technically any offense that carries less than a year in jail is considered a misdemeanor. Some states separate traffic offenses, some don't.
     
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  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    If tires are found to be worn, or almost bald, that can be considered a factor, since the channels are not present to dissipate the water. Some officers would tack on driving a car that was not road worthy.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    It’s a misdemeanor. Seems the ticket was required. With the lawywr, it will most likely just be a fine plus court and legal costs. Not much more serious than a speeding ticket, IMO.
     
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  17. Aces

    Aces Companion

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 5:10 PM

    Yup. Tires that are worn down don't have the depth to the treads that's needed to efficiently displace the water.
     
  18. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 6:59 PM

    Real quick on my tires: they are brand new, were brand new at the time (we just purchased a new set less than 10 days earlier), and my vehicle just passed inspection two days ago.

    I have a state trooper in the family, he said that there have been a lot of rain-related accidents on that onramp subsequent to the recent repaving. I'm no expert, not even sure if the two are related, but I do know my tires are and were fine.
     
  19. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 7:05 PM

    Why wouldn't I "like this."

    The fact of the matter is speed was not the motivator of her writing the citation, it was the damage to the guard rail.


    Guard rails were not newly installed. And they are riddled with dents much larger than mine. The officer even said "whether or not the DOT even repairs it."

    Now, if I were my insurance company, I would be livid at the clear racket being run by my state's DOT.

    My state is North Carolina.
     
  20. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 7:15 PM

    Interesting. The rain literally started within a quarter mile of the hydroplane, so it hadn't been occurring for very long. The speed limit was 55, and I was going 40, for those interested in the speed, and I was NOT the fastest car on the highway by a long shot ;) In fact, I bet I was the only one within a half mile in both directions who even slowed down.
     
  21. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2018 at 7:17 PM

    I'm not saying I'm not responsible for the damage. I have no problem with paying the ticket, the court costs, the lawyer, and even the guard rail (if my insurance did not foot the bill), and the likely increase in insurance premiums. What I don't want is a criminal record for something the police officer even stated was NOT my fault. I was not being reckless, texting, eating, on my phone, fiddling with the radio--my hands were on 10 and 2, I was being passed by dudes in big trucks with playboy stickers like I was standing still, and in a split second my car drove off without me. I tried to save it, it didn't work.

    It just doesn't seem efficient or warranted to pursue criminal charges for a straight-laced citizen who hydroplaned. There are people who literally commit atrocious crimes every single day, willfully, who should be the focus of the COURTs, not a hydroplane for which I'm not even contesting my damage liability.

    And what if I was a beginning teacher, would a misdemeanor conviction affect my job placement? For an accident that could literally happen to an old grandmother driving 20 miles an hour.

    And yes, hitting a guard rail at 15 mph would damage it. I slowed down EVEN more once I felt the water under my tires, and I literally drove a distance at an angle before my back end became loose, and spun 90 degrees and then into the rail. I hit the rail at no more than 20 mph. It is barely bent, but still damaged.

    I am just VERY, very fortunate that at the moment of hydroplane there were no vehicles close enough to get caught up in it---thankfully the boys I was trekking with had already sped off.
     
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