WHAT???!!!!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by AdamnJakesMommy, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    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 Aficionado

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    Wow!
     
  4. TeacherCuriousExplore

    TeacherCuriousExplore Cohort

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    WTH!
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    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
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    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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    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 Magnifico

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    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 Aficionado

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    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 Magnifico

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    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 Connoisseur

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

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    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 Habitué

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    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 Magnifico

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    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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    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 Habitué

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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  22. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    um
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I hope all charges are dropped.
     
  24. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I am sorry to have misspoke about the age of the guardrail. Speeding wasn't the problem, but the law gives leeway when it adds the bit about exceeding the speed warranted by conditions of the road.

    According to the search I quoted, most states follow the same kind of rules. I never spoke about the condition of your tires. My comments about tires is about how conditions of the tires can impact driving.

    If you knew then what you know now, would you have foregone the police report? I would not hazard that guess.
     
  25. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Thank you! The people at the attorney's office seemed very confident they would be. I asked what would happen if the charges weren't, and the lady looked confused for a minute and said that she had never seen that happen unless somebody had a poor driving record with lots of tickets. I haven't had a ticket in over a decade, so barring some bizarre event, I feel they will be.
     
  26. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I have the police report. It gives the citation, but I am seriously very naïve on this stuff. I really didn't think it different than a speeding ticket. Like I said, I'm as straight-laced as they come. I really don't speed, run lights, slide through stop signs, swerve, weave, anything really. I drive a seven-passenger mini van, normally with children in tow---thankfully they were not with me that particular day. The only speeding ticket I have is from when I was 19, fourteen years ago, and a very different stage of my life.

    So basically, I literally have zero experience with police, charges, courts, attorneys, the whole shebang.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    You have assumed that because I know how the driving regs are written that I think you could change the outcome. Take a mental note not to take everything an officer says as gospel. They write the tickets that get you into the legal system, the land of bureaucracy and lawyers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  28. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I have not assumed you could do anything to or for me. What I was simply doing was venting my frustrations on Teacher Time Out to members who read this forum. I was simply venting about being blindsided by a seemingly innocuous situation really creating quite a mess of my life. Pointing out my how my innocence almost led to walking into court on Tuesday with no representation not realizing there were criminal charges against me. And discussing how shocked I am that such a huge deal is being made out of such a trivial matter when I read daily of major criminal activities getting swept under the rug.

    The only person who I have assumed will change the outcome is my attorney, who I am paying a chunk of change to do so. And I would think any sensible person would find an outcome other than charges being dismissed a ridiculous display.
     
  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I did not get into an accident, but I don’t like how laws are worded ambiguously. Why not say, “too fast for conditions such that you collide with another motorist, cause property damage, you strike/kill another pedestrian, you impede the flow of traffic, drive recklessly, etc.” That makes much more sense, but otherwise it’s left up to the officer to decide what’s “too fast,” which will almost always be the case.

    I hate ambiguity. I like definite answers and explicit, strict definitions.
     
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  30. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Maybe this is only in California, and maybe I'm wrong, but as far as I know moving violation are only infractions, not misdemeanors Obviously DUIs, etc are more than that, but an accident?

    In my opinion this whole thing is bs. you cannot be at fault for hydroplaning. Even in the event of an accident, the insurance company will faults you at half, meaning mother nature is the other half. I once had an accident, skipped on black ice, and the insurance paid only for half. It was not my fault, but no one else's either, it was mother nature, so I guess I was half responsible. But no one mentioned any repairs on my part, or getting a ticket, etc.
     
  31. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    And honestly, this was just the pinnacle of several bizarre, overwhelming events in my life---which is usually quite tranquil and uneventful. So I guess, this would also be the time to ask for prayers for the lump in my neck (I noticed this about two weeks ago).

    So you know, the car accident, the mass in my neck, the inability to move into my new classroom due to repairs with no known end date---and then I find out hitting a guard rail carries a criminal charge---it all hit me a little hard yesterday :(
     
  32. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    And this is the reason why I say at times, “Only in America.”
     
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  33. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    That sounds like the way it should be. I presume it's "so serious" in North Carolina (and I believe someone said 23 other states) in order to ensure people don't skip out on the bill from the DOT. The officer told me that was the reason/purpose for the citation, the state wants the citation issued to ensure either the driver or his/her insurance company pays for the damages. What I didn't realize during our conversation is that it was more than a "regular ticket." Which is why, when my insurance company said they were accepting liability, that I tried to present my letter, pay my fine/court costs, and be done. T

    Which is, I guess, the thing that upsets me. The citation was ONLY given to ensure the guard rail will be paid for. I guess that bit makes sense, so then my insurance company confirms its liability for damage, thereby fulfilling the purpose of the citation. So, why is the driver left to fight the criminal charge in court? It seems like a huge and steep punishment if your only purpose is to get the money out of the driver, who isn't even contesting his/her responsibility to pay. And given that I have an attorney, the charges will likely be dropped---but what about people who are clueless? Maybe people aren't clueless. Maybe I was and will be the only one, *shrugs*
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  34. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    seriously, I wish I could back out of a double post.
     
  35. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    They are trying to make more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  36. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    You mentioned it was new asphalt, right? Between that and the light rain is why you lost control. So let's start with the rain. On roads and highways, there's always a bit of oil, dirt, and general grime both from the road itself and from cars that go over it. When it rains, all of that mixes with the rain to create essentially a slush of nastiness on the road. It takes time for the rain water to wash all of that away. I believe you can even check your drivers Ed manual which will confirm this.

    The other thing is that new asphalt hasn't had the chance to be scratched down yet. The surface is still smooth from where they steam rolled it flat. Under normal circumstances, it's not that big of a deal, the rubber on your tires gets enough grip. Under wet conditions, however, new asphalt can be quite slippery because of how smooth it is. Think about it like this: when you pick out a pair of shoes, which is better for being outdoors a pair of slick soles or some with some tread? Of course the tread. Same reason you can walk on snow but on ice you might be in trouble.

    Get yourself a lawyer, take a deep breath, I don't think you'll catch a criminal record.

    I wanted to share this story with you. This past winter my husband got four points on his license after ice fell on our vehicles. We had our vehicles parked in the driveway more or less up against the house. They weren't in the garage like normal because we were having company over the next day so we had stuff set up in the garage. We were in the house and we heard this awful crashes out side. We go outside and massive chunks of ice had fallen off the roof and slammed my vehicle and lightly damaged his.

    On mine there was damage from the front bumper to the back, the roof was compromised, glass broken, mirror missing. And these chunks of ice were probably 30-40lbs each. On my husband's truck it was only the hood, broken head light, dented bumper.

    We call the insurance company, mine is a total loss no questions asked. Guy went ahead and Authorized the pay out on mine, and the repairs for hubby's truck. We get the check in the mall for mine, we use it for a down payment.

    Fast forward two weeks and a Massachusetts State Police officer shows up at the house, tells us he needs to do an accident report. Ok great no big deal. Three weeks later we get a citation in the mail stating that hubby was responsible for the accident and they were charging him with the accident. He got 4 points on his license for that. Called a lawyer, first words out of his mouth was "did you guys go monster truck rally in your driveway?"
     
  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Once again, only in America... Good grief.
     
  38. Missy

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    I don’t understand the context of your reply. Are you saying that only in the US are people charged for events that occur?
     
  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    No, just the level of ridiculousness associated with them.
     
  40. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Wow. I'm sorry you have had this aggravation.
    I hope you will find that your record is cleared.
    Like you, I would hate that on my record.
    I'm glad you were not hurt. Money can be replaced, but you can't!
     
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  41. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Update:

    My attorney went to court for me on Tuesday and all charges were dismissed. I didn't even have to pay court costs. I ended up saving money by having a lawyer!!!
     
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