Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

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Mrxyz
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Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Mrxyz » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am

Hi
So my teen got into an accident, it was his fault, his car is totalled but thankfully no one is injured. He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it. Since it was his fault, I thought about paying the fine and moving ahead ..........expensive and tiring education for him and me, but not sure if I should fight it as it have longer term consequences like it gets on his driving record and increases in future auto insurance.
Any suggestions?

And a car question - car is totalled, old car, do not have collision insurance, plan to sell to the tow company in exchange of paying off towing and storage fees. They can salvage anything they want. Is this a good option?

Thanks

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8foot7
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:09 am

I can't speak to others, but if this were my teen, that would be the end of driving for a little bit, and once that suspension were over, he would be paying 100% of his insurance going forward.

In light of that, I might ask him if he'd like to use his own money (or borrow from you and pay you back asap) to hire a lawyer to fight the ticket. I would not provide this service for my son; this would be part of his education. He can probably achieve some meaningful reduction in the ticket or charge if he is a first-time offender so from an absolute perspective this may be worthwhile.

But I'm not sure him feeling the longer term consequences of this accident is a bad thing, to be honest. I'm glad no one was injured but I'm sure it could have easily been different.

As for the car, you're probably leaving some money on the table selling to the tow company, but no idea how much since you didn't post the value of the car and the damage estimate.

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Mrxyz
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Mrxyz » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am

8foot7 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:09 am
I can't speak to others, but if this were my teen, that would be the end of driving for a little bit, and once that suspension were over, he would be paying 100% of his insurance going forward.

In light of that, I might ask him if he'd like to use his own money (or borrow from you and pay you back asap) to hire a lawyer to fight the ticket. I would not provide this service for my son; this would be part of his education.

You're probably leaving some money on the table selling to the tow company, but no idea how much since you didn't post the value of the car and the damage estimate.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Car details -
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........

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8foot7
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:24 am

What's the charge on the ticket?

I agree that I'd just leave the van with the tow company and wash your hands of it.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:29 am

If the ticket was issue for infractions that the driver actually did, then what's to fight? Isn't the best life lesson to show the teen the consequences of their actions? Would fighting the ticket, using a lawyer (cost) and tying up the legal system (cost to the community) be a good life lesson?
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by fru-gal » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:30 am

It seems to me that if someone commits an illegal act, they ought to take the consequences for it, although I can see asking for leniency if it's a first offense. He should be thanking his lucky stars no one was injured, contemplate the consequences of that for awhile.

He should at least fork out for any insurance increase.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:36 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:29 am
If the ticket was issue for infractions that the driver actually did, then what's to fight? Isn't the best life lesson to show the teen the consequences of their actions? Would fighting the ticket, using a lawyer (cost) and tying up the legal system (cost to the community) be a good life lesson?
This. Now your teen knows that it can happen to him, and since nobody was injured it was a cheap lesson.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by jpelder » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:51 am

I think the just pay it vs. ask for leniency decision should be up to your son, but he needs to pay for the costs of the decision either way.

I know that when I was that age, the agreement with my parents was that any accident that was either my fault or was avoidable by me would result in the loss of driving privileges and having to pay for all legal/repair costs incurred. After a couple of speeding tickets, I realized that I could not afford to pay for tickets, and I stopped speeding.

chevca
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by chevca » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:07 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
Hi
So my teen got into an accident, it was his fault, his car is totalled but thankfully no one is injured. He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it. Since it was his fault, I thought about paying the fine and moving ahead ..........expensive and tiring education for him and me, but not sure if I should fight it as it have longer term consequences like it gets on his driving record and increases in future auto insurance.
Any suggestions?

And a car question - car is totalled, old car, do not have collision insurance, plan to sell to the tow company in exchange of paying off towing and storage fees. They can salvage anything they want. Is this a good option?

Thanks
What's to fight? You said more than once it was his fault. You going to say he didn't do it? :happy

An accident is different than a speeding ticket or something. It's not like you can argue speedometers being off, question radar equipment, or whatever. Two cars collided and it seems pretty sure it was because of something your son did. Kinda cut and dry.

What was he cited for and how do you think HE could fight it? I know you're his parent, but it's not your fight as you weren't driving. Time for him to start living and learning.

The car option sounds good enough to me. Or, at least the easiest option which I would prefer in this scenario. Not worth it to shuffle or transport around an old totaled vehicle to try and eek out a few extra bucks.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by galawdawg » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:12 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:29 am
If the ticket was issue for infractions that the driver actually did, then what's to fight? Isn't the best life lesson to show the teen the consequences of their actions? Would fighting the ticket, using a lawyer (cost) and tying up the legal system (cost to the community) be a good life lesson?
Yep. In fact, you might want to ask your teen how he thinks it should be handled. Go over the different options with him and see what he says. He may accept responsibility and want to pay the fine himself. That gives you an opportunity to praise him for his maturity in decision making and accepting the consequences of his actions. On the other hand, if he deflects responsibility or expects you to deal with the consequences, that likewise gives you valuable insight.

From a financial standpoint, if you don't already, you may want to involve him in understanding the costs of vehicle ownership and operation, both long and short-term (maintenance, insurance, liability, and replacement vehicle costs). It may help him make wise decisions (both financial and otherwise) in the future.

miamivice
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by miamivice » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:28 am

In some states, you can take a 1 day safe driver course, and then the violation goes away. This would be a good option if allowed in your state. The cost if the course is equal to the ticket.

Uniballer
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Uniballer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:34 am

I had a few tickets at that age (speeding, running a red light). Charges were reduced because I went to the local driving school approved by the court for classroom instruction for a month of Saturday mornings.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by midareff » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:36 am

miamivice wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:28 am
In some states, you can take a 1 day safe driver course, and then the violation goes away. This would be a good option if allowed in your state. The cost if the course is equal to the ticket.
+1 .. if not would go the traffic law attorney route. Accidents can follow a driver a long time in insurance costs and other things. .. many times much longer than they should.

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lthenderson
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:37 am

Was this a single vehicle accident or did your son hit other vehicles? If it is the latter, future increases for his insurance premiums may be out of his hands anyway depending on the other person's insurance.

If it were my child, I would make it a life lesson by paying the fine and not fight it.

SimonJester
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by SimonJester » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:39 am

For my city, when you get a traffic ticket and have the option to goto court or pay, when you goto court you are always offered a plea deal which reduces the points. This reduction in points and sometimes reduction to non moving violation can mean a huge deal on insurance rates. There is very little to do other then show up and the judge will ask if you accept the plea and can pay the fine.

Its also good learning experience for the newly teen which now has a ticket. I also think going to court will make a more lasting impression on the teen then just paying off the fine...

So if this is how it works in your city what do you have to lose other then some time.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by rkhusky » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:43 am

Uniballer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:34 am
I had a few tickets at that age (speeding, running a red light). Charges were reduced because I went to the local driving school approved by the court for classroom instruction for a month of Saturday mornings.
There are online courses available as well. Watch some videos and take a test.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by carol-brennan » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:47 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
it was his fault, his car is totalled
Pay the fine. Teach honesty, responsibility, and respect. Help populate the world with good people, not jerks. We already have enough of those.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by TheDDC » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:51 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
Hi
So my teen got into an accident, it was his fault, his car is totalled but thankfully no one is injured. He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it. Since it was his fault, I thought about paying the fine and moving ahead ..........expensive and tiring education for him and me, but not sure if I should fight it as it have longer term consequences like it gets on his driving record and increases in future auto insurance.
Any suggestions?

And a car question - car is totalled, old car, do not have collision insurance, plan to sell to the tow company in exchange of paying off towing and storage fees. They can salvage anything they want. Is this a good option?

Thanks
I would have him show up in court to fight it. At the minimum he can plea it down to a lesser charge. He may be able to recover the fine, too. I would make him pay the cost of the car back (somehow) and take it out of his hide, and he should be paying his own insurance or taking the billy bus to school. However, there's no reason the long appendage of the state should reach in and take a pound of flesh for many years to come.

-TheDDC

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by onourway » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:52 am

I think that you can both fight the ticket and accept responsibility. It entirely depends on the nature of the violation - many times these are overly punitive with the expectation that many people will fight and accept a reduced fine.

Again, it really depends on the nature of the violation. What caused the accident? Was rain, snow, or ice a factor?

In any case, I would probably step up and help out because learning to drive is part of raising a kid, but I would also insist they take a Street Survival course if at all possible in your area which will pay back its cost many times over the course of his life. Should be part of acquiring your license in the first place, IMO.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Nowizard » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:58 am

You have stated that your son was, unfortunately, in the wrong and received a ticket. Given that, it would seem that the only way to eliminate the ticket would be by somehow avoiding the consequence of unintended, but illegal action. Frightening, of course, but there are rules of law that apply much of the time, though there are definitely instances where that does not occur. Basically, this is a comment about the interaction between self-interest and legitimate concerns versus consequences for something we all would wish to avoid for ourselves and our children. We were there, too, a number of years ago.

Tim

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bottlecap
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:11 am

If he did not commit the infraction, you could fight it. If he did, have your teen take the class so it stays off insurance. Pay whatever the municipality requires.

The class might be the easiest route either way.

JT

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by MarkerFM » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:22 am

I would have him show up in court and plead guilty while standing in front of the judge. Make him wear at least a tie. He will learn a lot from this. As others have said, he will probably be allowed to take a driving class of some sort.

My son around that age got a ticket for driving well over the speed limit. Not only that, he had a car full of kids (against our rules and also his learner's permit), and he was going somewhere he wasn't supposed to be. We went to court. After he appeared in front of the judge, I went to thank the cop who wrote the ticket. He told me he hit the button on his radar gun while my son was still accelerating. Yikes. Son did traffic school, paid the fine, and lost his driving privileges for a long, long time. No tickets since.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Herbert » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:30 am

As was stated above, depending upon your state and the severity of the charge, going to court may be advantageous to you. For example, in my state(Virginia) you could appear before the judge and depending upon the charge ask for what we refer to as driving school. Depending upon the circumstances and the judge, this could result in no violation being recorded on your child's driving record with successful completion of the course. On the other hand, the judge may not allow driving school, and it could be a waste of time. Ultimately, it us up to you to decide what you believe will be best for them, and without knowing all of the laws of your state and the specifics of the accident, it is a gamble. Good luck! :happy

THY4373
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by THY4373 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:47 am

Also in VA and went to court once for an infraction I was guilty of. Went in, plead guilty, asked for driver's school. Court asked officer if I was polite during the stop. Officer confirmed that I had been and I was able to pay the fine, go to driver's school (online with test at a UPS store of all places). So no points and no insurance increase. And I agree with others the court experience is a learning experience unto itself. In my case there were a number of far more serious traffic cases that happened before mine (those with legal counsel went first in my jurisdiction) and I imagine those would be a real eye opener to a teenager.

chevca
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by chevca » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:15 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Are some of you reading the damage described by the OP before just saying, 'go to court and ask for traffic school'??

This isn't just a moving violation like running a red light, no harm no foul. There was some serious damage done here. I don't imagine we will get the full story from the OP, nor do they really need to share it. I'm thinking it was a fairly serious fender bender though. Not likely something the teen can just say, sorry, first time, and take it easy on me to.

There's a reason there is a special spot on the ticket for the officer to mark if an accident was involved as part of the violation.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by miamivice » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:29 am

chevca wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:15 am
Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Are some of you reading the damage described by the OP before just saying, 'go to court and ask for traffic school'??

This isn't just a moving violation like running a red light, no harm no foul. There was some serious damage done here. I don't imagine we will get the full story from the OP, nor do they really need to share it. I'm thinking it was a fairly serious fender bender though. Not likely something the teen can just say, sorry, first time, and take it easy on me to.

There's a reason there is a special spot on the ticket for the officer to mark if an accident was involved as part of the violation.
Many years ago, I was at at-fault driver in an accident that resulted in very serious injuries to the other driver. I was a young driver, made a left on yellow, and didn't look properly for on-coming traffic. A small Miata flew through the yellow to try to get through the intersection, and the driver was not wearing a seat belt. We collided. While it wasn't a fatality, it was a serious accident. I felt truly awful about the accident. (As I posted before, my insurance paid out policy limits of $100,000, and total accident cost was well north of that.)

I wanted to do what I could to keep my driving record as clean as possible. I tried to signup for the driving school and they told me I had to go see a judge. So I arranged with work to go down to the courthouse. I stood up in front of the judge.

Judge: "What are you requesting?"

Miamivice: "I would like to attend traffic school in lieu of paying for the violation."

Judge: "Was it an accident?"

Miamivice: "Yes."

Judge: "Were there serious injuries?"

Miamivice: "Yes, your honor"

Judge: "You may attend traffic school."

WIth that, I filled out some paperwork, signed up for traffic school, and sat in school for about 6 hours. In all honesty, it was a valuable day. It gave me a lot of time to think about the driving rules, about how I would be a better driver in the future, and a large variety of scenarios and options to avoid accidents. I am glad I went.

chevca
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by chevca » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am

Really? That surprises me they would do that. Well, there's hope for the teen in this thread then.

MichCPA
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by MichCPA » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:47 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am

Thanks for the quick reply.
Car details -
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Was this a rear-ender? If so, it would seem to be a tough fight under any traffic laws I am aware of.

I agree with everyone else that the traffic school option (if available) is best.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:56 am

chevca wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:15 am
Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Are some of you reading the damage described by the OP before just saying, 'go to court and ask for traffic school'??

This isn't just a moving violation like running a red light, no harm no foul. There was some serious damage done here.
This confuses the cause with the result. It could very well have resulted from running a red light, which in any event is not a "no harm, no foul," whenever it does not result in a serious accident.

Traffic school takes a good chunk of time and also teaches about the seriousness of accidents, which is likely more valuable than just paying the ticket and moving on.

JT

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elcadarj
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by elcadarj » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:59 am

Hire a lawyer in the ticketing jurisdiction. Your sons risk profile has already changed due to the accident, so you want to minimize any additional piling on. This is an economic decision. When my son crossed the risk threshold that only my insurance company knows he moved into a different class, so his car insurance moved to a higher cost captive subsidiary and, since he still lived at home, drove my umbrella policy out of the acceptable risk profile for the low cost primary insurer. So my $200/yr umbrella premium went to $950/yr, above an beyond the additional car insurance cost.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by miamivice » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:03 am

chevca wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am
Really? That surprises me they would do that. Well, there's hope for the teen in this thread then.
Yes, I don't make stuff up on this forum.

The traffic school was also surprised. I didn't volunteer any information to the judge, just answered the three questions or so that he asked. It meant a lot to me to have him allow me to go to traffic school and I appreciate him doing that.

I don't know why he did. I don't know if it was a policy of the court, or if he felt that I would benefit from traffic school, or he could tell that I was shaken up. I would like to think he saw an honest young man who made a mistake, but likely it more was a court policy.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Bir48die » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:12 am

I get that some suggest hiring a lawyer because there are financial implications in the form of higher insurance prices. That's a valid point. One thing we haven't learned is the nature of the accident. Was it speeding? I'm guessing Reckless Driving?

I think this would be one of life's really important teaching lessons. You can work this a number of ways:

1) Car driving privileges should be gone for "X"
2) If you hire a lawyer (not my suggestion) then he should work off the attorneys fees somehow (job or around the house)
3) If you decide not to fight it, then he should pay the fine (again with a job)
4) If it results in increased insurance costs then he should be responsible for that increased portion if he wants to continue to drive

Some with disagree with me but consequences are what changes behaviors.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by miamivice » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:19 am

It's missing in the OP how much money we are talking about.

Once, when driving in a rural state, I was speeding and tailgaiting. Got two tickets in one fell swoop. In a construction zone (double cost). Total cost - $120 if I recall right.

If the OP's ticket is $100 or so, I would just have the kid pay it. He obviously did something wrong or his car wouldn't be totaled. If you look at the description, it sounded like a big collision.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by miamivice » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:20 am

One comment about taking away driving privileges - we don't know the circumstances of the accident.

If he did something stupid, like drinking & driving, or driving while tired, or too many distractions in the car, then a suspension of driving privileges might be in order.

If he made a mistake, he should likely continue driving because we all have to learn how to drive eventually. Either we learn young or learn old, but I think it's better to learn young.

Some instrospection should be done to figure out how not to get into accidents in the future, but the kid needs to keep learning driving.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by onourway » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:27 am

I would like to clarify that the Street Survival school I linked earlier is different than ‘traffic school’ where you sit in a classroom. You don’t get an insurance discount or a break on your fine or anything for attending this. You get to put your kid in a car in situations where they are slightly out of control so that they (hopefully) gain some respect for what it means to be driving a vehicle on the road, and the first time they ever have to swerve, panic stop, or handle a vehicle with inadequate traction isn’t on the road attempting to avoid a serious accident.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:29 am

If you had been the driver instead of your son, what would you do yourself?

I suspect there is some action he can take that’s somewhere between hiring a lawyer and just sucking it up and paying the fine. It might involve going to court and pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced fine, or going to traffic school, or both, but it will require some research about your local options.

My suggestion would be to guide your son through the process of researching what he should do, then having him actually doing whatever it is himself. If he’s old enough to have a driver’s license, he’s old enough to do the research and take the needed actions himself. He does need a parent doing everything for him.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by ohai » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:34 am

Given he totalled the car, I doubt it's a $100 ticket.

In any case, if the kid is at all normal, this whole experience already "taught him a lesson". He will be a better driver in the future, hopefully.

I doubt the court will overturn a ticket, but that traffic school deal in response to showing remorse seems like a good idea.

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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by aerosurfer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:10 am

chevca wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:15 am
Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Are some of you reading the damage described by the OP before just saying, 'go to court and ask for traffic school'??

This isn't just a moving violation like running a red light, no harm no foul. There was some serious damage done here. I don't imagine we will get the full story from the OP, nor do they really need to share it. I'm thinking it was a fairly serious fender bender though. Not likely something the teen can just say, sorry, first time, and take it easy on me to.

There's a reason there is a special spot on the ticket for the officer to mark if an accident was involved as part of the violation.
How do you know? He could have hit a guard rail or it was icy/wet conditions. The moving violation could have been simply too fast for conditions or improper lane change. The damage described, with no injuries reads to me as a loss of control. Despite totaling the car, the safety features of the design worked. thats different than intentional or wreck-less. Everyone is ok, financial impact is minimum. Between the embarrassment of the situation and getting hit with an airbag, I would hope the teen has adopted some humility. I’d go before the judge and plea it or see what my options are. There is still more to learn from the whole situation. Not, you did the crime now do the time, end of story.

staythecourse
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by staythecourse » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:12 am

8foot7 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:09 am
I can't speak to others, but if this were my teen, that would be the end of driving for a little bit, and once that suspension were over, he would be paying 100% of his insurance going forward.

In light of that, I might ask him if he'd like to use his own money (or borrow from you and pay you back asap) to hire a lawyer to fight the ticket. I would not provide this service for my son; this would be part of his education. He can probably achieve some meaningful reduction in the ticket or charge if he is a first-time offender so from an absolute perspective this may be worthwhile.

But I'm not sure him feeling the longer term consequences of this accident is a bad thing, to be honest. I'm glad no one was injured but I'm sure it could have easily been different.

As for the car, you're probably leaving some money on the table selling to the tow company, but no idea how much since you didn't post the value of the car and the damage estimate.
I thought I was hardcore.

In life mistakes happen. The mistake is not the problem. Not learning from it is. If the teen seems to understand why he/she did wrong. What else can you do? They have to show you they improved on xyz.

It isn't like if you get fired for a mistake at work you go and sit at home. The only way to improve in Anything is to do it and fail. The smart folks analyze why and go back and do it again with the correction.

To the op it sucks but that is life and why you carry insurance. If you don't have umbrella I would consider it as someone easily could have been injured. I wouldn't fight it. If it was his/her fault how would you get it waived. 3 years is how long it will stay on their records.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

Johnnyappleseed
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Johnnyappleseed » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:27 am

For everyone giving parenting advice I'd like to point out the OP never asked for it. We have no idea how responsible the son is in every other area of life or how the accident is already affecting him. The punishment for the accident shouldn't be based upon the accident, but based upon the person and what has already been learned. Advice on the legal front considering we know no details regarding what legal charge / ticket the son is facing or specifics of the accident (such as single vehicle accident or not) is rubish.

To the OP... on the legal side a simple traffic violation probably won't have a large impact on your insurance and can either be paid or fought rather cheaply in court resulting in driving school or an increase fine to change the offense to a non-moving violation. The other category we would be looking at is DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, gross negligence, or reckless driving. These are more expensive to fight in court, but can also carry with them significant long lasting impact both in insurance cost and possible legal punishment. At the very least I'd speak with a lawyer and find out your options / consequences if this is what you are dealing with.

Luckywon
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Luckywon » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:49 am

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Not going to get much useful advice with the limited information provided. Some of the possible factors to be weighed:

-cost of ticket
-likelihood of success contesting the ticket (some details about the citation would help assess this)
-whether traffic school an option to prevent ticket from going on record
-how long accident will stay on record (varies by state) and the possible outcomes from contesting the ticket (will contesting ticket result in forfeit of right to go to traffic school)
-whether the ticket will represent an additional point along with the accident (probably varies by state and specifics violation)
-magnitude of effect on insurance which would depend on current driving record and vary widely state to state

chevca
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by chevca » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:55 am

aerosurfer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:10 am
chevca wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:15 am
Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:12 am
Car was a 2005 odyssey with 230,000 miles, with damage to front, sides, radiator, and doors, wheels locked up, car not starting, airbags deployed etc it was not worth much to begin with and not worth repairing.
He is 17 and needs to learn.................a lot..............

Question is whether it is worth fighting the ticket ........
Are some of you reading the damage described by the OP before just saying, 'go to court and ask for traffic school'??

This isn't just a moving violation like running a red light, no harm no foul. There was some serious damage done here. I don't imagine we will get the full story from the OP, nor do they really need to share it. I'm thinking it was a fairly serious fender bender though. Not likely something the teen can just say, sorry, first time, and take it easy on me to.

There's a reason there is a special spot on the ticket for the officer to mark if an accident was involved as part of the violation.
How do you know?
I don't. That's why I mentioned the part about us probably not getting the full story from the OP. :wink:

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:21 pm

I haven't read all the responses, but I did not see an update from OP about the ticket.

Whether I would fight it would depend entirely upon the offense, the circumstances, and the probability of prevailing. That would be purely a financial decision. As much as I am in favor of teaching personal responsibility, I don't think that whether you contest the ticket would have much impact in the grander scheme of how the rest of the scenario surrounding the accident is handled.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by White Coat Investor » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:27 pm

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
Hi
So my teen got into an accident, it was his fault, his car is totalled but thankfully no one is injured. He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it. Since it was his fault, I thought about paying the fine and moving ahead ..........expensive and tiring education for him and me, but not sure if I should fight it as it have longer term consequences like it gets on his driving record and increases in future auto insurance.
Any suggestions?

And a car question - car is totalled, old car, do not have collision insurance, plan to sell to the tow company in exchange of paying off towing and storage fees. They can salvage anything they want. Is this a good option?

Thanks
I tried fighting a traffic ticket once. That was an expensive, time-consuming mistake.
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scout80
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by scout80 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:41 pm

Sounds like a teaching moment to me. Logical outcome of failure to be safe and fortunately nobody was injured. For the car if you don't have the time/skill/energy to part it out yourself then sell it to a salvage yard or the towing company. If you have the time you can ask a couple of salvage yards and see if they will beat the towing company's bid. If you sell it to the towing company you can see if they will waive the towing/storage fees.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:47 pm

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
Hi
So my teen got into an accident, it was his fault, his car is totalled but thankfully no one is injured. He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it. Since it was his fault, I thought about paying the fine and moving ahead ..........expensive and tiring education for him and me, but not sure if I should fight it as it have longer term consequences like it gets on his driving record and increases in future auto insurance.
Any suggestions?

And a car question - car is totalled, old car, do not have collision insurance, plan to sell to the tow company in exchange of paying off towing and storage fees. They can salvage anything they want. Is this a good option?

Thanks
You and your teen are very lucky that no one was injured or killed.

The important thing is to make sure that your teen learns to obey the law. This should rule your decisions.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

michaelingp
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by michaelingp » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:20 pm

It sounds like it's hard to predict what will happen in traffic court. I was in Arlington Virginia traffic court many years ago to testify in an accident case. Before the proceedings began there was an announcement to the effect, "If you're here to contest a ticket, you're unlikely to win, and you'll also be charged court fees. Just go and pay your fine." Some people stayed, mostly speeding tickets. Each case went basically like this: Judge asked the officer did you calibrate your radar gun. Officer said yes. Gavel down, guilty. I don't remember a single one getting any leniency. At the time I wondered why on earth the folks were fighting their cases with so little chance of success. But after a while I understood, most of them drove for a living. They weren't worried about the fine, they were worried about their jobs.

To the OP. I don't think you'll find the answer here as there are too many variables. Just take a day off and sit in traffic court in your jurisdiction for a couple of hours and see how it goes and then make your decision.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:36 pm

I would send him to traffic school to remove this charge from his record. Pay the fine, what’s there to fight. If not, you will be paying many years forward.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:54 pm

This is an opportunity for a citizenship lesson. Your son has the presumption of innocence under the Constitution. Nothing requires him to plead guilty. He has the right to pursue all legal avenues. I would at least talk to the prosecutor for the jurisdiction.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Teen got into auto accident, fight ticket or pay fine?

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:58 pm

Mrxyz wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:03 am
He got a moving violation which can be paid or we can fight it.
Judges (and prosecutors) are interesting folks. If your son accepts responsibility for what he did a judge and prosecutor can make it a learning experience. If he really wants to "fight it" in the vein of "I refute the accusation that I committed a crime!", then the prosecutor & judge might be inclined to really give him a learning experience.

The biggest Medicare fraud case in the US involved 3 co-conspirators: a crooked judge, a crooked lawyer and a crooked psychologist. The judge and lawyer both admitted guilt and took plea deals. They got 4 years and 12 years respectively (statutory maximums under the sentencing guidelines). The psychologist - against whom the evidence was overwhelming and irrefutable - decided to go to trial, was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 25 years! He screamed bloody murder that it was unfair in light of the other two folks' sentences and appealed. The appeals court affirmed both his conviction and the sentence saying in part, "Your co-conspirators accepted responsibility for their parts in the crime and you did not." (side note: the lawyer apparently fled the country prior to sentencing and hasn't been seen since)

Accepting responsibility is a very important lesson to learn.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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