I was at a magistrates hearing Thursday for a young geologist who was charged with careless driving.
It involved a road rage incident where the fella behind him tried to pass my client and clipped my client’s mirror while doing so.
The police officer who did NOT witness the incident arrived and took statements from the parties. My client who was driving a standard gear transmission said he accelerated to get away from the guy who was tailgating him.
The officer cited both my client and the other guy with careless driving. That carries with it 3 points if you’re convicted.
The officer offered to reduce the charges to something that did not involve points in lieu of a hearing. The other fella jumped at the opportunity.
I explained to my client that if we had a hearing it’s entirely possible that he’ll be found guilty of the careless driving.
I told him he should at least consider taking the reduced plea because it does not carry any points to it.
After hearing all this my said to me I just can’t do it. I know I wasn’t in the wrong here.
So I told the Judge we were going to have a hearing.
Now in most stories like this you assume there will be a happy ending and justice prevails..
Not in this instance.
At least not yet.
The fella who hit my client’s car from behind testified that he sped up to get around my client.
He admitted on cross-examination that he passed my client on a double yellow line. He admitted that the law says you’re not allowed to do that.
I then had my client testify with pictures about what happened.
I thought we were golden and that surely a true reasonable doubt existed.
So what happens?
The judge found my client guilty of the careless driving charge which carries with it points.
She based it on my client saying he accelerated while the guy was trying to pass him on the double yellow line.
The fellow who clipped my client and admitted to passing on the double yellow line was allowed to plead to the lesser charge.
And no points
This is what often happens in the criminal justice system. A defendant is offered a plea to a lesser charge.
If he does not take the plea there’s no guarantee that he will be found not guilty of the more substantive charge.
And that’s what happened here.
I truly admire my geologist client who stood by his principles and would not take a plea to a lesser charge even though it would’ve been less costly for him.
But maybe this can have a happy ending anyway.
Because there’s an appeal process from the magistrates decision.
And the appeal wipes out the judges decision.
And that’s what my client is going to do.
We will file the appeal and have a hearing before a Common Pleas Judge.
I even told my client that if he was hurting financially, he should file the appeal himself and not pay me attorneys fees and do his case himself before the Common Pleas judge.
In the end though we agreed that I would represent him in the appeal for a reduced fee.
He paid our office the agreed upon filing fee even before I got back to my office…
I will let you know how it turns out.
The point of these blogs is not to only tell you the stories where I win my cases, but to tell you the stories of ones that do not.
At least not yet…
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the attorney