The incident happened to a friend and he came to me for advice. I've never had a traffic ticket or been to court, so I wasn't much help. Perhaps some advice from this forum may be more useful.
Driver's side of the story:
The driver stopped at a red light, waiting to make a right turn. A bunch of pedestrians are crossing from both directions. A guy with a cell phone to his ear and some other device in his other hand walks off the sidewalk and ducks/kneels into the passenger side of the car and stands back up. The car was stopped before the white line, so the driver's gut reaction was that this was someone messing with his car rather than someone trying to cross the street. The driver rolls down the passenger window and asks the guy what's he doing to his car. The guy apologizes with "Sorry", and walks away in the opposite direction with his cell phone still at his ear. According to the driver, the guy's apology seemed sincere since he looked a bit embarrassed as he stepped back onto the curb. Other pedestrians are still crossing. The driver thinks the guy was just a distracted cell phone user.
After turning right, the car from behind pulls up beside the driver (on the driver's side), and the passenger in the other car says that they have the driver's plate and is calling the police. Since the guy with the cell wasn't really trying to vandalize his car, the driver waves off the other car.
The same afternoon, a police officer goes to the driver's home and informs the wife of a hit and run, and states that the victim was taken to the hospital. Severity of injury was not known. Wife calls driver, and the driver then goes to the police station and speaks to the same officer. Victim and 2 witnesses (the couple in car) filed a report that the driver did a hit and run with the front of the car. The driver gives his version of event, and asks the station to examine the car. There is no damage to front, but there is a black scuff on the passenger side. The officer's shift was ending, and no one else was free to take a look, so the driver was told to come by next morning.
The next morning, the officer said he will inspect the car later that day, but the driver was given 4 tickets then and there. The officer was a no-show for the inspection, and left it as "call back next week". The tickets:
1. Failure to report
2. Failure to remain
3. Failure to provide assistance
4. Careless driving
The advice given by the officer was to show up at court, explain what happened, and legal representation wasn't necessary. Other info given was that the witness, victim, and driver all have different stories of what happened. Also, the victim injury was a knee that appears to be swollen.
So, that's covers most of what I was told. I suggested they talk to a lawyer. This might be some sort of personal injury scam.
The driver and his wife are an older couple (50+), and the vehicle involved was registered to their mom & pop business. With those 4 tickets, I assuming he's going to lose his license. If he can't drive, they'll need to shut down shop and be in a really difficult situation.
Should they photograph the scuff on the side of the car? Does it even matter at this point if the tickets are already given?
First of all, I agree with you in that legal representation is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in a situation like this. The officer's suggestion to "just show up in court and tell your side of the story, you don't need a lawyer" is something that I absolutely do NOT agree with. The offences your friend is charged with are very serious and, in totality, will likely result in him going to jail if he gets convicted.
Yes, photograph the scuff on the car. The lawyer may suggest getting an auto body mechanic to look over everything. Some lawyers and paralegal firms have access to collision reconstruction experts who can also provide their two cents.
Orbit wrote:This might be some sort of personal injury scam.
Quite possibly. I'd get some serious, aggressive lawyer for this particular case. The lawyer will file for disclosure and get the officer's notes, the accident report, etc. Some of them will hire Private Investigators. The witness reports are not consistent with the vehicle damage. It will probably be expensive, but, unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it at this stage.
In future, your friend should stop whenever there is any contact with his vehicle, especially when some witness starts going off about how they are calling the police. It's all about CYA, even if the incident was exactly as you described.
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca
Two words: LAWYER UP!
Yes it may cost now... but it will save in the long run....
Ridiculous situation, but lawyering up is what needs to be done.
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