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How does fighting a traffic ticket differ from fighting an accident ticket?

On the surface, it may seem like a speeding ticket and the citation you received after a car wreck would be the same, but they’re actually quite different. 

They are treated differently by the judge and prosecutors, so the strategy for fighting an accident ticket is distinct, too.

That’s why it’s so important to get a dedicated New Orleans traffic attorney who is experienced at fighting accident tickets on your side. Our traffic attorneys at Crescent City Law have been helping New Orleans citizens (and tourists) fight their tickets for years. Read on to learn how these two types of tickets differ, and how we can help you fight either one.

How does fighting a Speeding Ticket differ from fighting a Careless Operation Ticket in New Orleans?

The main difference between fighting a moving violation ticket and fighting a car accident ticket is the evidence that must be presented to the prosecutor and judge– and the possible consequences of pleading guilty.

  • Traffic tickets: When you fight a traffic ticket, you only have the ticket itself to worry about and the repercussions of having the incident on your driving record. If you plead guilty to a speeding ticket or other moving violation, it goes on your driving record and is reported to your insurance company by the DMV. Insurance companies will often raise your rates. This is why many people choose to fight their ticket in traffic court.
  • Accident tickets: Louisiana law requires that police respond to the scene of a car accident and write a police report based on the investigation at the scene. Unfortunately, in most cases the responding officers write a ticket to the driver they “feel” was “at fault”. In most cases, the police write a ticket for careless operation of a motor vehicle or failure to maintain control of a vehicle. In some cases, they give both drivers a ticket!

New Orleans Accident Tickets Can Quickly Become More Serious...

In some cases, the driver in an accident will be cited for the specific action that caused the accident, like running a red light or texting while driving. When the officer writes the ticket, they are supposed to check a box on the ticket that specifies “accident.” Checking the “accident” box can lead to increased penalties if you plead guilty to the ticket.

This is why it’s so important to have an experienced traffic attorney working on your behalf.

If you plead guilty to an accident, the following things can happen:

  • It goes on your driving record.
  • It is reported to your insurance by the DMV.
  • Your insurance company will penalize you for the property damage they paid to repair caused by the car accident.
  • Your insurance company will penalize you for the ticket you received for the car wreck.
  • The conviction can be used against you for a civil liability lawsuit.
  • You could have to pay criminal restitution for damage to the other vehicle or vehicles involved.
  • You could have to pay personal injury liability for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages if the person or people in the other vehicle were injured.
  • Your insurance might consider you an unsafe driver, increase your car insurance bill, or cancel your car insurance policy altogether!

The above costs don’t include the cost of the ticket itself. In New Orleans, accident tickets have more than $300 in fines, fees, and court costs.

An experienced New Orleans traffic attorney will work to prevent your insurance company from penalizing you as much as possible and mitigate the “double whammy” of the insurance rate hike and the cost of the ticket. In addition, if you were injured in the accident you may be able to make a personal injury claim.

How do you fight a New Orleans accident ticket?

In order to make your case about an accident ticket, you must provide the following, even if you do not believe you were at fault:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Insurance company name
  • Policy number
  • Claim number
  • Date of accident
  • Adjuster’s name and contact info
  • The amount of damages paid

In Louisiana, prosecutors also require you to provide a restitution letter from your insurance company before they will dismiss or reduce the ticket you received for a wreck.

An attorney can help you obtain this letter, which answers one of the following questions:

  • Did both drivers report the incident and your insurance company has accepted liability for damages?
  • Did both drivers report the incident, but your insurance carrier denied liability for the damages (because they don’t feel you’re at fault)?
  • Did the other driver fail to make a claim against your insurance policy and there is no one to pay damages to regardless of liability?

This document is a sample of what a letter of restitution request looks like.

The court typically presumes that the person who was issued the ticket is “at fault,” but that presumption can be overcome with evidence. If you have evidence to show you were not at fault in the accident, bring it to your lawyer’s attention so they can introduce it as evidence in defense of your case.

Contact Crescent City Law to help fight your traffic or accident ticket

If you have received a traffic ticket or accident ticket in Orleans, Jefferson, or St. Charles Parish, an experienced New Orleans traffic attorney can walk you through your options and determine the best strategy for fighting the tickets. Contact Crescent City Law today for your free consultation or submit your ticket online.

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