Q: My son (28 yrs old) was in an accident and was mailed a ticket for failure to yield to right away.
The box was checked endangerment of life and/or property He was turning left on a flashing yellow arrow and did not see the vehicle coming the other direction. He was clearly in the wrong. Both vehicles involved are commercial motor vehicles. The other driver was taken by ambulance and discharged same day. He has a clean driving history. It happened on a county roadway in Scott county that just recently implemented the flashing yellow. He was at fault no question. He was mailed a court date. My question is should he get representation since it is considered a criminal traffic offense?I'm being told its "procedure" when there is an injury to have to appear in court. Fault has been determined, I assume they want to hear his side of what happened to determine fine amount? Will he be offered a public defender? The letter assigning a court date says come prepared. The accident report states no clear contributing factor, not speeding, not distracted.
A: If you look at the Register of Actions for the case on the Minnesota courts website using the citation number or court file number, you'll likely see that it's a misdemeanor criminal charge. Some traffic violations are charged as crimes. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 days jail. Though few will get jail time in a situation like this, one year probation with jail time stayed under conditions is typical if convicted. Yes, he can apply for a public defender. If he has no job or otherwise is indigent and qualifies, the court will appoint a public defender. In my view, everyone should hold the government to proving its case, and try to get the best outcome possible. Traffic violations can impact employment and CDLs for commercial drivers, as well as blemish a clean criminal record, drivers' license record, and increase insurance costs.
A: The charge is a misdemeanor which is triggered by the endangered life or property designation. This makes the offense a crime which carries potential jail time. He has the option of applying for a public defender on the date of his hearing or hiring a private attorney before then. There could be consequences for him beyond this ticket such as increased insurance rates and effects on his CDL. He should make sure that he has some type of representation.
A: Having a lawyer should always be a priority for anybody charged with a crime - even if they are at-fault and want to admit they are responsible. The reality is that a lawyer can help your song work out a deal that is more favorable to his interests. Oftentimes, the benefits of a lawyer outweigh the cost.
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