I am in my late 20's, driving since being a teenager and got my first accident.
It was a cold day with blowing snow on the road. I was driving on a road with 80 km/h limit at about 60 km/h. The road is a smaller road with one lane each direction. Because of the snow, I was following the tire tracks on my lane where there was less snow due to cars driving prior to me. However, the tire tracks started getting too close to the inside part of the lane so when I saw cars approaching from the other lane, I shifted my car to be more centered on my lane. However, when my tires left the tire tracks and hit the snow, I felt right away the loss of traction on my tires and control of my car.
My car started bobbing (dont know the correct term) a bit and I felt like maybe it might spin. In fear of possibly falling out of my lane and hitting a car in the other oncoming traffic lane, I decided to do what I thought was the safest thing and turn to my right, which faced a farm area (no other lane, sidewalk or anything of that nature on my right). I hit the snow bank on my right, then I hit a wooden hydro pole, which was damaged and bent against my car. The hydro company had to come in with a truck to hold the pole in place to remove the car before fixing the pole the next day.
I did not feel much of an impact and my airbag was not deployed. If the pole was not there, I probably would have just gone up over the snow bank and into the farms clear field.
When the police arrived, I was charged with careless driving because he said in a case like this, he must issue me a charge and this is the only charge applicable.
Do you think I have a good chance to win in court? Is a paralegal advisable? Thank you for your help.
edit: one more detail, the police officer said I must be having driving somewhat carelessly because I would have had to be driving at a considerable speed to break the pole. However, I did not hit the pole very hard and was surprised at how much it was damaged (perhaps because it is wooden and old?).
Also, you can ask for disclosure anytime after being charged. So if you plan on seeking Early Resolution you can request disclosure before that meeting to see the evidence that will be used against you; perhaps to make a more informed decision about your best options. This would also allow you to see if there is any evidence to back up the offer's view that your driving behaviour was "somewhat careless".
A conviction on careless has serious implications to your insurance, and I would not consider going to trial without representation.
With the view of defence, I do wonder if you would have met the definition of "driving"? When there is movement, but no control (if you had control, you would not have likely chosen to hit the pole), has it been successfully argued the defendant was not driving? Note: i have no experience here, just posing the question.
I am glad you were not hurt.
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