June 13, 2011
It can be frustrating to find yourself in a fender bender or facing a speeding ticket. For this week's segment of Safe Teen Drivers, CBS19's Bailey Disselkoen talks to a Charlottesville lawyer about what to do, so you don't make the situation worse.
"You do not want to admit you were going faster than the speed limit," said Kevin Ryan, an attorney with Charlottesville's Michie Hamlett Law Firm. "It could be used against you in court."
Ryan says it's best to be polite and accommodating. The same advice goes if you find yourself in a fender bender. Ryan says you should call 911 to report the accident, and have your driver's license, car insurance and vehicle registration ready because the officer will want to see them.
Additionally, you should talk to other individuals who were involved in the accident to find out if they need medical assistance. However, you should not discuss how the accident happened.
"You could get into an argument, and anything you say may be used against you in the courtroom," said Ryan. The area attorney also offers advice for how to handle more serious offenses, such as a DUI.
"If you are driving and you have been drinking, you really are only going to have bad choices left to face," explained Ryan. The decision creates a dangerous situation, for you and others on the road. It can cost you your life."
You can still be convicted even if you don't take a breathalyzer test, refuse a field sobriety test and don't admit that you were drinking.
"If you refuse a breathalyze test, your driver's license will be suspended for a year," said Ryan. He adds that you can refuse a field sobriety test, however, you should be aware if you do so the judge will listen closer to what the police officer has to say in the courtroom.
In any case, you should be cooperative and know that the officers are just doing their jobs.
"He is not out there to punish you individually, he's out there to make Charlottesville a safer place to live," said Ryan.
Safer for you, despite the bumps that you may hit in the road.