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Failure to yield ticket

Question:
Hi folks, looking for some advice on my situation. Back in May '04 I was involved in an accident in which I was ticketed for "failure to yield while turning left" in my personal vehicle. I was sitting at the intersection with a green light waiting for the traffic to clear to make a left turn. I saw the guy coming from way back but didn't realize he was doing about 50 mph in the 35 mph zone and my car sputtered as I pulled out and he caught the right rear side of my car right at the rear tire. He never hit the brakes before we hit (I think he was looking down lighting a cigarette, since he climbed out of his car with a broken cig in his mouth and a lighter in his hand with a surprised look) and both my car and his pickup were totaled. Sure he was going 35! I had the ticket bound over from the Alpharetta Georgia City Court to Fulton County State Court by requesting a jury trial mainly to buy some time.
Now my problem is getting info from the court clerk about what happens next. Since I have requested a jury trial does that mean someone from the District Attorney's office will act as a prosecutor or will it be more like small claims where each side presents their version. I intend to plead not guilty and hope the witness doesn't show up to the trail and it will be dismissed. I have run into some problems with a few of the caring companies about getting into their school while having an unresolved ticket. The ticket does not show up on my MVR. I currently have a class b license if that makes any difference. Do I need to hire a lawyer? At this point no court date has been set at the state court. If anyone can tell me the state court procedures in Georgia I would appreciate it. You would think you could call them about court procedures but dang these folks just don't seem to know what's going on. Thanks

Answer:

Okay. Let's work through this. First of all I must tell you that I hold an attorney's license from Minnesota. While I have a nationwide labor and employment law practice, primarily representing carers, I only practice criminal law in Minnesota. Therefore, my answers are predicated on what would be the case in Minnesota.
BusBoy said:

Answer:


Opie says: First of all there will be an arraignment. That is the initial appearance where you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. You may be able to waive the appearance by letter and enter a not guilty plea by mail or fax. Call the Clerk of Court and ask if this is possible.
After the arraignment, there will probably be a pretrial conference (sometimes called an "Omnibus Hearing") where you discuss settlement and issues of evidence supression (if any) dealing with such issues as the lawfulness of searches and seizures. This is usually a mandatory appearance. Sometime on petty misdemeanors this stage is skipped since you have no right to a jury trial under the Constitution when contesting petty misdemeanors as you cannot go to jail for a petty misdemeanor. I do not know if failure to yield is a petty in Georgia.
BusBoy said:

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Opie says: The prosecutor (either a City Attorney or a District Attorney) will represent the State of Georgia. This is a traffic/criminal matter so it is the government versus you.
BusBoy said:

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Opie says: A good move but maybe unnecessary. Call the Clerk of Court. Get the name of the prosecutor and propose the following options:
A. Ask to have the case continued for dismissal for one year on the condition that you have no moving violations and pay court costs (in an amount suggested by the prosecutor). If you have another violation then you would have to be prosecuted; or
B. Offer to plead but have the Court stay adjudication on the condition that you have no moving violations for one year and pay Court costs. This is a little different in that the Court could just enter your guilty plea if you have another offense.
BusBoy said:

Answer:


Opie says: You should if the options suggested above are not acceptable to the prosecutor. The options that I suggested above are ones that I, as a defense attorney, would try in Minnesota.
Good luck.
NOTHING IN THIS POST SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS CREATING AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Answer:

Opie, thanks for the reply. Today I did give one more call to the clerk's office to try to get information and was told that the solicitor had finally give the case over to the clerk's office and a judge and prosecutor had been assigned. The person who would prosecute the case works for the solicitors office, which surprised me as I didn't realize the solicitor had prosecutors. I have left a message for her and will discuss the options you gave. As far as "Offer to plead but have the Court stay adjudication", what would the plea be? No Contest?
Finally 8 months after requesting the case be bound over I am able to get some things done. Until this week the case had not been assigned to a prosecutor and I was on hold until then. It appears that option B will be the best one to try for as continuing the case for a year would still leave an unresolved ticket out there which has spooked some companies fron hiring me. Schneider will absolutely not hire me until the ticket is resolved.
Thanks again Opie.

Answer:

The plea would be guilty but you would not be adjudicated guilty by the Court on the condition that you had no moving violations for one year and paid court costs.
Courts will not accept guilty pleas from those who proclaim their innocence.

Answer:

Okay, makes sense. Since there were no injuries in the accident and I have an otherwise clean driving record I will try to get them to accept what you have recommended. I will post the results. Thanks again!

Answer:



Answer:


This is commonly known as a deferment and to my knowledge is not available in Georgia. The solicitor in Georgia handles all jury trials and has assistants or prosecuters that work for him. Same as DA and ADA in other states.
Depending on the statute this could be a serious CDL violation which is why they will not hire you. Another issue is the accident report. Many states will list this as an at fault accident which will hurt you just as much as the ticket. Beating the ticket does not remove this from your record. Normally you need an attorney to petition the DMV once the ticket is dismissed. Check your MVR to see if it is on there.
If it is listed as an at fault accident this will also increase your personal auto insurance premiums.
What is your home state? Any ticket will be reported back to your home state
and will be treated as if it was received in your home state. This is why you should never just pay a ticket unless you know the consequences. For example a 16mph over ticket in another state will result in a suspension if you have a NC drivers license.
If you decide you need an attorney send me an email and I can provide some resources.

Answer:

Morris, the statute I was cited under is 40-6-71:
"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an
intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield
the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite
direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to
constitute an immediate hazard."
My home state is georgia. I pulled my MVR 2 weeks ago and it is clear. I will go to city hall and get the accident report to see what it says. Sounds like an attorney is in my future!

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Answer:


This was a smart move. They are not wanting to waste their time on a jury trial for something like this where there were no injuries. If your MVR is clear now it should stay that way. You can clarify this with the DMV.
This particular violation is also not listed as a serious CDL one so you are OK on that point. My suggestion, which is not legal advice, would be to offer to plead guilty to speeding under 14mph with a written agreement that it would not be forwarded to the DMV.
All CDL tickets are supposed to be entered but my information is that most Georgia courts File 13 any ticket that is for 14mph or less over the limit. That means no points, no record, no ticket insurance hike. Then as far as your MVR is concerned the accident never occurred. Of course it will still show as a loss on your record at your auto insurance company. The good news is that rates are dropping for the first time in years so now is a good time to shop around.

Answer:

I appreciate all of the replies. If I can ever get the prosecutor from the solitors office to call me back I will see what I can negotiate.
Funny thing is my insurance rates haven't gone up one bit. Both cars involved in the accident were insured by State Farm and State Farm concluded I was at fault, but my rates still reflect safe driver discounts!
When I get a resolution I will post the results.
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