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Can You Get a Ticket Days After an Accident?

Posted on August 17, 2023

Many drivers don’t expect that tickets can be issued after they leave the scene of the accident. However, in-depth collision investigations and new evidence find can prompt delayed ticketing even weeks later in some cases.

Understanding the accident reconstruction timeline, offenses subject to late ticketing, and legal defenses against outdated citations is key.

In this article, personal injury attorney Whit Drake examines common investigative delays leading to postponed ticketing practices, associated risks of fines and license points, and strategic options like negotiating with prosecutors or contesting charges to avoid unjust delayed violation penalties following accidents.

With clarity on laws governing post-accident ticketing periods, drivers can make informed decisions to protect their rights following crash investigations.

Typical Investigation Timelines and Delays

Late ticketing results from delays in the accident investigation process, including:

  • Complex Reconstruction: Thoroughly analyzing serious collision circumstances, vehicle positions, and physical evidence takes extensive time involving special police units.
  • Witness Identification: Tracking down and interviewing witnesses, especially reluctant ones, delays naming violators as more facts emerge.
  • Awaiting Records and Video: Securing surveillance footage and medical records from providers verifying driver conditions prolongs reaching conclusions.
  • Pending Lab Results: Awaiting blood test results from labs to check for DUI also creates instructional delays that postpone citations.

Major collisions involving injuries, fatalities, or DUIs cannot be resolved instantly at the scene. As police thoroughly reconstruct events over weeks and analyze all evidence, violations may be identified well after accidents, prompting delayed citations by mail.

Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies Impacted

The types of moving violations, criminal traffic misdemeanors, and serious charges resulting from accidents subject to late ticketing include offenses like failure to yield, improper lane changes, speeding, running red lights or stop signs, reckless driving, DUIs, hit-and-runs involving property damage or injury, and vehicular manslaughter.

Basically, any violation stemming from accident actions that cannot be definitively determined or witnessed at the scene risks delayed ticketing once in-depth forensic analyses and investigative findings are completed.

Offenses ranging from basic infractions to felony criminal charges can surface later when evidence conclusively ascribes fault to a party after mysteries immediately following the crash are fully solved.

Grounds for Belated Traffic Citations and Charges

There are a few key justifications police rely on for issuing delayed post-accident tickets:

  • Comparative Negligence Findings – If accident fault was initially unclear, later evidence may reveal one party’s actions did contribute partially to causing the collision, warranting a citation.
  • New Incriminating Evidence Discovery – Specific violations may only become provable well after the fact when new video angles finally surface or witnesses unknown initially provide statements implicating a driver.
  • Liability Clarification – Complex reconstruction and expert analyses may simply require weeks to determine relative fault and proportional liability between the parties, finally allowing clear citations.

In short, any new evidence or facts that unravel mysteries and allow investigators to conclusively assign or apportion blame with confidence days or weeks later constitutes grounds for belated citations. Accidents are fluid situations, and determining citations is not always instantly possible.

Fighting Delayed Accident Tickets

Receiving a citation by mail weeks after a crash can be disconcerting, but options exist to contest unfair or unreasonable delayed ticketing. Challenging timeliness, negotiating reduced pleas, arguing mitigations, and leveraging lawyer advocacy skills can help drivers avoid undeserved penalties. Where late citations produce unfair results, pursuing dismissal provides important protection.

Challenging charges beyond statutes of limitation

Drivers can argue tickets issued exceed time limits prescribed for initiating cases, relying on the expiration of statutory periods. Any failure to meet precise deadlines for a citation’s particular offense may compel dismissal.

Plea bargaining tactics

Experienced traffic lawyers negotiate with prosecutors, using late notification concerns and mitigations to gain plea deals reducing charges and penalties issued tardily.

Mitigating circumstances arguments

If delayed citations fail to account for poor weather, medical issues, or mechanical defects that necessitate actions, these factors may convince prosecutors to withdraw charges.

Traffic lawyer negotiation strategies

Skilled attorneys highlight investigation delays, fairness concerns, and mitigating circumstances to prosecutors, negotiating ticket withdrawal, charge reduction, or plea deals for clients paying only limited fines.

Insurance and License Impacts of Delayed Tickets

Beyond fines, delayed accident citations present insurance and driver’s license consequences if convictions result. Traffic convictions produce premium hikes and license demerit point accumulations, raising costs and suspension risks when violations ultimately surface.

  1. Increased Premiums, Points Accumulations: Even delayed ticket convictions for common violations like failure to yield or speeding can impact insurance rates and DMV point accumulations if not dismissed or plea-bargained away.
  2. License Suspension Risks: As points from delayed accident-related infractions build over 1-2 years following a crash, suspension risks grow if an attorney cannot remove offenses from records. When you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, law enforcement may similarly cite you for operating a vehicle while your license is inactive. The car you are driving at the time of the violation of driving while suspended or revoked may also be impounded by state enforcement.

So while late ticketing postpones consequences, the citations still impact insurance and accumulation of license demerits once issued. Only successful dismissal or downgrading of charges can fully negate these collateral costs.

FAQs on Delayed Accident Ticketing

How long after an accident can you get a traffic ticket?

Tickets can generally be issued within 1-3 years depending on state statutes of limitation for traffic infractions and misdemeanors.

Can the police give you a ticket without being pulled over?

Yes, police can mail traffic citations even without conducting a standard traffic stop at the scene.

Why would a ticket take days or weeks after an accident?

Delays can happen awaiting full accident investigations, lab results, video reviews, and witness statements.

What kinds of tickets can you get after an accident?

Common delayed tickets include DUI, reckless driving, speeding, and failure to yield based on evidence gathered post-crash.

Can you contest a ticket received days later?

Yes, defenses like lack of timely notice and mitigating circumstances may be used to contest late accident tickets.

Should you get a lawyer to fight a delayed traffic ticket?

An attorney experienced with post-accident tickets can help negotiate dismissals or reductions using tactics exploiting the late timing.

Do late tickets after an accident lead to license points?

Yes, delayed tickets can still result in license points, suspensions, and increased insurance rates if convicted.

Can you avoid points on late tickets from accidents?

Points may potentially be averted through strategies like deferred adjudication and dismissal negotiations with prosecutors.

Is a late ticket considered a moving violation?

Yes, delayed accident citations issued for offenses like speeding or failure to yield are considered moving violations.

How can you reduce fines on late accident tickets?

Hiring legal help provides the best opportunity to bargain for fine reductions or negotiate alternate resolutions.

Don’t Accept Unfair Delayed Tickets – Protecting Your Rights is Our Focus

Receiving an unexpected citation long after an accident can seem unjust, but hope exists. At Drake Injury Lawyers, personal injury attorney Whit Drake leverages investigation timelines, statutes of limitation expirations, plea bargaining relationships with prosecutors, and mitigating circumstance arguments to achieve favorable outcomes for clients facing delayed collision-related tickets.

We understand late ticketing procedures and have successfully dismissed unjust charges, reduced penalties, and shielded driving records from enduring impact. Don’t let ill-timed citations go unquestioned. Call (205) 859-2236 or complete our secure online form to explore your options.

We will aggressively defend your rights using proven strategies to counter delayed driving offense allegations. Let us handle the complexity – you focus on recovery.

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