Daughter in a hit and run, now what?

a_hm

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Dec 21, 2007
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My 23 y/o DD was in a parking lot yesterday- She was in a parking spot where the spot ahead of hers was empty, she pulled through, and there was a women driving who wanted to park in that spot and thought that DD was taking it. DD tried motioning that she was leaving but the woman continued honking. DD tried to turn out to get out quickly and swiped the car next to her.
DD has never been in an accident, pulled over for speeding, etc. The witnesses told her to leave her information. She parked the car in another spot, started getting the information down, mustve had an irrational fear come over her and ( very very foolishly) left. What made her leave when she KNEW that people had her license plate number and that the police would be called, I have no idea. She called the insurance company on the way home who told her to call the police and explain to them that she panicked and left. By the time she had gotten home, the police had already called and told her to come to the station with her information.

She is extremely remorseful and took full responsibility at the police station. She has been given 2 citations: a) failure to leave information and b) failure to locate driver and will have to appear in court for the judge to decide her punishment. We were told these were not misdemeanors or felony charges, and that they are considered traffic tickets.

She was absolutely wrong for leaving, and I am furious. The costs to repair the scratches are minimal compared to how much fines and lawyer fees will now cost. DD is a responsible girl, so this is very uncharacteristic of her, and Im not sure what came over her. She tends to panic in high stress situations, but this was just a ding on a car.

Im wondering if anyone knows what exactly happens how? In terms of what possible punishments may be, points, fines, lawyer fees, how this will effect her record ( she has an otherwise squeaky clean record). How much a lawyer may be able to help? Another concern is that DD is in grad school for a health profession, and how that will be effected

I tried posting on another parenting forum for advice, but posters began bashing DD, and I was not able to get much help.
I am hoping for any advice as we have never dealt with anything like this before.
 
Most likely, she will end up w points on her license ( I don't know how many) and hefty fines. You can search dmv to see how many points the tickets are. A lawyer will be helpful in knocking down the amount of points but the fines usually go up when they knock the points off... A traffic lawyer usually runs about $500 here on NJ.. dont know where u are from. I wouldn't worry about her record per say.. It's just her driving record and will most likely cause her insurance to go up. We all make mistakes, hopefully she learned an expensive lesson. Thankfully, no one was injured... That would be a whole other can of worms.
Good luck to you and your daughter.. Points on a license is not the end of the world.. They stay on for 12 months and she can take a defensive driving course to knock another 2 points off.
 

k2sealer

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She is 23 years old. Let her solve this herself. I know the natural instinct of a mother is to smooth things over and fix things for our children. But, as hard as it will be for both of you, it is better in the long run if you step back and let your adult daughter fix this on her own.
 

GearGirly

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Oct 28, 2010
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My advice is to see this as what it is, a mistake where she will pay the consequences and move on. Honestly, she could have been charged with a criminal charge of leaving the scene, but she wasn't. These are traffic citations, she will be smacked with fines, probably have an increase in her insurance, and maybe a lecture in traffic court. Depending on your state, there is also an issue of points. There are not any consequences to her schooling or life otherwise, it's a traffic infraction. I know it is hard not to become emotional about our babies no matter the age, but you need to model the appropriate reaction for her. She did something really stupid and immature and she is going to pay the price, but honestly in reality her lesson is already learned. You don't need to do anything, worry about anything, or freak out. Calmly talk to her about consequences and actions, and how she can handle her panic next time. It is ok to make mistakes in life, and it is ok to learn from them. In the world of mistakes this is barely a blip. Don't ever let them blame others, teach them responsibility, but let them know you fix it and move forward. My guess is that the parenting board has many moms of toddlers, and it is so easy to be judge before you understand the mistakes that those little people might make when they are bigger! You sound like you raised a good kid who did something stupid and then right away tried to fix it. Take a deep breath and stop worrying. As for the practical part, if you have the $ hire a traffic attorney, they will help. Also know traffic court takes forever and a day so be patient.
 

Kansashalo

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Sep 10, 2006
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23 must be the age of panick in stressful situations as my nephew was involved in something similiar (and left the scene just like your DD) when he was that age. We did have an attorney take care of things which allowed my nephew to avoid court, only receiving a ticket for inattentive drive (and pay the fine of course). My nephew did have to meet with the investigating officer on his own to explain things, which was a good experience and lesson for him. He is not only a better driver but it also taught him what to do and how to remain calm if he is ever in another accident. Of course, his insurance went up but that was to be expected.

While I think it is ok for you to guide her, let her experience as much of this as possible so that she will learn from the ordeal.
 

Charles

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She'll soon be getting a lot of offers from traffic attys in the mail. Have her do a bit of research and pick the best one based on that. A traffic lawyer is a HUGE help. Given she has no record, the lawyer can probably get adjudication withheld on the basis of her going to traffic school or some for of minimal probation. In other words, this isn't that big of a deal, so keep that in mind and try to relax a bit. :smile:
 

Irishgal

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she is 23 years old. Let her solve this herself. I know the natural instinct of a mother is to smooth things over and fix things for our children. But, as hard as it will be for both of you, it is better in the long run if you step back and let your adult daughter fix this on her own.
+1
 

bagnshoofetish

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Feb 12, 2006
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She is 23 years old. Let her solve this herself. I know the natural instinct of a mother is to smooth things over and fix things for our children. But, as hard as it will be for both of you, it is better in the long run if you step back and let your adult daughter fix this on her own.
Consequences are a good way to learn how to navigate life. Help her go through all the attorney mail she will be receiving (as Charles mentioned) and find a good lawyer. This isn't the end of the world. The best thing you can do if I may is be a pillar of strength and set a good example for her by remaining calm and not panicking yourself. If something like this ever happens to her again tell her to remember to take a deep breath, remain calm and handle her responsibilities one thing at a time. She didn't run over someone, she dinged a car. And tell her pulling forward like that is not a wise thing to do ever again for the very reason she encountered.
I backed into a very expensive Cadillac when I was 17. I left a note with my address and phone number on the car but still went home and cried and cried. The owner came to my house and spoke to my parents and commended me for leaving my info. My parents insurance covered it and that was that. It still was traumatic for me so I know how your daughter feels. She isn't a criminal and the courts know that. She made a knucklehead mistake that hopefully this experience will prevent her from repeating!
:hugs:
 

lelgin

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To me, it sounds like she got two tickets, not sure why she would need an attorney. I don't know what state your in but in CA, she could go to traffic school for one of the tickets and just pay the other. If damage on the other car is minimal she won't get charged for an at fault accident. With one point on her driving record, she'll still keep her good drivers discount.
 

bagnshoofetish

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Feb 12, 2006
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To me, it sounds like she got two tickets, not sure why she would need an attorney. I don't know what state your in but in CA, she could go to traffic school for one of the tickets and just pay the other. If damage on the other car is minimal she won't get charged for an at fault accident. With one point on her driving record, she'll still keep her good drivers discount.
its the fact that she left the scene without leaving info. thats considered hit and run and made what was a citation a more serious offense.
 

Charles

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To me, it sounds like she got two tickets, not sure why she would need an attorney. I don't know what state your in but in CA, she could go to traffic school for one of the tickets and just pay the other. If damage on the other car is minimal she won't get charged for an at fault accident. With one point on her driving record, she'll still keep her good drivers discount.
Also, those infractions carry more than one point. A basic speeding ticket is 3 points...at least in Florida. It really depends on the state this happened.
But, the lawyer can get the infractions reduced, meaning lower point totals (if any) and fines.

OP, if it really is only scratches, ask for an estimate and pay out of pocket. If it's under $500 no need to get insurance involved.
 

a_hm

Member
Dec 21, 2007
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This happened in virginia. DD is calling lawyers and is being told that for a first time this usually carries 8 points and fine. Our main issue however is that it will effect her chances of jobs and licensing after school given that she is in a health profession.

The lawyers we have spoken with are ranging from $600 to $2000. They are all saying that they can most likely get the charges dismissed with the worse case scenario being this lowered to a minor traffic ticket with a fine ( nothing on her record).

Is there a best way to choose a lawyer? ( sorry for the noob question, but we've never done this before). Are there specific questions that we should be asking?
 

a_hm

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Dec 21, 2007
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Also, those infractions carry more than one point. A basic speeding ticket is 3 points...at least in Florida. It really depends on the state this happened.
But, the lawyer can get the infractions reduced, meaning lower point totals (if any) and fines.

OP, if it really is only scratches, ask for an estimate and pay out of pocket. If it's under $500 no need to get insurance involved.
We would do this, but the problem is that she is being charged for leaving the scene, not so much the scrape. I know in california one can enter a civil compromise to settle with the other driver out of court and have the case dismissed, but those are rare here.
 

Charles

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Last time I checked, traffic infractions do not affect licensing in healthcare...unless it's licensing for a CDL type of drivers license. Is she going to be driving the big rigs delivering oxygen tanks to nursing homes? If not, you don't have anything to worry about.

We would do this, but the problem is that she is being charged for leaving the scene, not so much the scrape. I know in california one can enter a civil compromise to settle with the other driver out of court and have the case dismissed, but those are rare here.
I understand that. You have two issues here. The traffic citations which can get her points/infractions on her license (which will raise her rates, and depending get her license suspended if she gets a certain amount within a certain timeframe), and making a claim for the ins company to pay out on an at fault accident (which will raise her ins rates). Getting a traffic lawyer can probably get these citations reduced enough so minimal points are assessed meaning not as bad of a hit on the rate increase and making it less likely she'd get her license suspended if for some reason she got more infractions within the next year. Settling up with the other driver would cut out the insurance from paying out on an at fault accident, meaning that wouldn't be on her record and her rates wouldn't be affected. I'd contact the other driver and ask to handle that outside of any civil case and insurance company. For that, you might want to take the reigns since you probably look more trustworthy than a 23 year old girl. But be aware they might try to take advantage of this and run up the charges on the estimate.
 
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OP, she is looking at 8 points? Isn't that an automatic suspension? Check with DMV, but I think it is. A good lawyer can definitely get the points knocked down.
As far as not going thru insurance: if I were the owner of the damaged car there is no way in hell I would just settle up w/o insurance after your DD left the scene. Sorry..and her insurance is going to skyrocket bc of the tickets not the claim for the damage.
It will all work out.. Expensive lessen for her to learn but all will be ok!