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Careless and Prohibited Driving in Arkansas

On Lawyer & Legal » Traffic Law

11,365 words with 9 Comments; publish: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 14:58:00 GMT; (80078.13, « »)

My husband was issued a citation for Careless and Prohibited Driving yesterday afternoon following his accident. He hydroplaned while on a curve coming down a mountain, lost control and flipped his truck, totaling it. My children and I were a few miles behind him and found him walking along the road. We picked him up and drove on home to get one of our friends to help us pull his truck out of the ditch. There was no property damage, other than to his truck, and he was the only one involved.

We were later told that my husband was wanted at the sheriffs office. We went there and he was cited for careless and prohibited driving. He has a court date and he was just going to pay the fine and be done with it but he needs to have a clean driving record, as he is a commercial truck driver. I told him to fight the charge since there were no witnesses and no officers showed up until after he left the accident. For all anyone knows, I could have been driving the truck instead of him.

A trucking company called him today wanting him to drive for them but my husband told him about yesterday and what he was charged with and this company told him to get an attorney and fight the charge. If this goes on his record it may prevent him from driving a commercial vehicle, which will mean a loss of income for us. This is all good if we could actually find an attorney willing to take this on. The attorney's in this area are afraid to go up against the cops in our county for some odd reason.

So, what do you think...should he just pay it and hope to find a trucking company willing to hire him or should he continue to search for an attorney and fight this charge? Thanks for any and all replies!

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  • 9 Comments
    • Quoting
      My response:

      Actually, your husband did admit to driving because of what he said, instead of saying, "I wasn't driving, my wife was driving." Also, he didn't say "the truck was stolen." So, his statement of "I really don't know" will be used against him. This is called circumstantial evidence.

      Additionally, you didn't go out of control, despite the fact that you were on the same downhill of the mountain. So, it doesn't happen to anyone in the absence of negligence and a violation the Basic Speed Law. Since you didn't get into an accident yourself, you must have been traveling slower than your husband - - due to the wet conditions.

      Additionally, while the sign may have said 55 mph, that doesn't mean he should have been moving at 55 mph under wet, rainy, conditions. That's why he went out of control - - the surface was wet, and as a result of his failure to slow down due to that condition, he was traveling "faster than was safe" - - a violation of the Basic Speed Law.

      IAAL

      Ok, I understand what you're saying. Thank you for your replies!
      #1; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 16:00:00 GMT
    • Given that his CDL is on the line, he should heed that advice, get an attorney, and try to get a resolution that won't cost him his employability. I'm not disagreeing with IAAL that the factual grounds, if established, could support the charges (and if he admitted the facts to the police, his statements can be used against him) - but for practical reasons, or out of recognition of the harsh result, it may be possible to get a better outcome. A local lawyer should be able to estimate what sort of deal he may be able to obtain.
      #2; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:19:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      You should also be aware that if you have a CDL and are convicted of a traffic offense in Arkansas, it must go on your driving record even if you were not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time--this is a result of a fairly new law which became effective at the beginning of 2005. Many jurisdictions in this state have an ordinance--it is termed hazardous or unsafe driving or the like--if he could plead to that as a lesser charge of careless and prohibited driving then the offense would not go on his driving record and he would probably end up saving some money too.
      Thank you for sharing this info with me. My husband and I will look into seeing if he can get it dropped to a lesser charge. He really needs to keep his driving record clean. Thanks again!
      #3; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:51:00 GMT
    • You should also be aware that if you have a CDL and are convicted of a traffic offense in Arkansas, it must go on your driving record even if you were not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time--this is a result of a fairly new law which became effective at the beginning of 2005. Many jurisdictions in this state have an ordinance--it is termed hazardous or unsafe driving or the like--if he could plead to that as a lesser charge of careless and prohibited driving then the offense would not go on his driving record and he would probably end up saving some money too.
      #4; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:31:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      Ok, I understand what you're saying. Thank you for your replies!

      My response:

      You're welcome. For your reference, and for the edification of others reading this thread, the Arkansas "Basic Speed Law" is as follows:

      JURISDICTION: ARKANSAS

      This chapter summarizes Arkansas State statutes related to speed.

      Basis for a Speed Law Violation:

      Basic Speed Rule: No person shall drive a vehicle at speed that is greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards than existing. 27-51-201(a)(1)

      IAAL

      #5; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 16:16:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      Well, while at the sheriff's office he was asked by the officer "What happend?" My husbands reply was "I really don't know." Then the officer asked him if he had been drinking. My husband replied no. The officer then left the building, came back with a breath test machine and had him blow in it. He did this and then the officer told him he wouldn't charge him with leaving the scene but he was charging him with careless and prohibited driving. My husband signed the ticket and we left. So the only evidence that the state actually has is that they found my husbands truck in the ditch. My husband didn't admit he was or wasn't driving.

      As far as the "basic speed law"...he was driving the speed limit of 55mph and his truck was totalled because when he slid off the road, he hit a colvert and it flipped. This could have happened to anyone driving say 25 mph on a down hill curve. Thanks for your replies!

      My response:

      Actually, your husband did admit to driving because of what he said, instead of saying, "I wasn't driving, my wife was driving." Also, he didn't say "the truck was stolen." So, his statement of "I really don't know" will be used against him. This is called circumstantial evidence.

      Additionally, you didn't go out of control, despite the fact that you were on the same downhill of the mountain. So, it doesn't happen to anyone in the absence of negligence and a violation the Basic Speed Law. Since you didn't get into an accident yourself, you must have been traveling slower than your husband - - due to the wet conditions.

      Additionally, while the sign may have said 55 mph, that doesn't mean he should have been moving at 55 mph under wet, rainy, conditions. That's why he went out of control - - the surface was wet, and as a result of his failure to slow down due to that condition, he was traveling "faster than was safe" - - a violation of the Basic Speed Law.

      IAAL

      #6; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:52:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      My husband was issued a citation for Careless and Prohibited Driving yesterday afternoon following his accident. He hydroplaned while on a curve coming down a mountain, lost control and flipped his truck, totaling it. My children and I were a few miles behind him and found him walking along the road. We picked him up and drove on home to get one of our friends to help us pull his truck out of the ditch. There was no property damage, other than to his truck, and he was the only one involved.

      We were later told that my husband was wanted at the sheriffs office. We went there and he was cited for careless and prohibited driving. He has a court date and he was just going to pay the fine and be done with it but he needs to have a clean driving record, as he is a commercial truck driver. I told him to fight the charge since there were no witnesses and no officers showed up until after he left the accident. For all anyone knows, I could have been driving the truck instead of him.

      A trucking company called him today wanting him to drive for them but my husband told him about yesterday and what he was charged with and this company told him to get an attorney and fight the charge. If this goes on his record it may prevent him from driving a commercial vehicle, which will mean a loss of income for us. This is all good if we could actually find an attorney willing to take this on. The attorney's in this area are afraid to go up against the cops in our county for some odd reason.

      So, what do you think...should he just pay it and hope to find a trucking company willing to hire him or should he continue to search for an attorney and fight this charge? Thanks for any and all replies!

      My response:

      Fight it on what grounds?

      Your husband was, apparently, violating the "Basic Speed Law." But for that violation, he wouldn't have gone out of control and flipped his truck.

      I don't see any grounds.

      IAAL

      #7; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:05:00 GMT
    • This is not an uncommon careless and prohibited driving type case where an officer comes up on the scene after the accident happened. Even though the officer did not see it happen the cases are often proved by use of circumstantial evidence.
      #8; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:46:00 GMT
    • Well, while at the sheriff's office he was asked by the officer "What happend?" My husbands reply was "I really don't know." Then the officer asked him if he had been drinking. My husband replied no. The officer then left the building, came back with a breath test machine and had him blow in it. He did this and then the officer told him he wouldn't charge him with leaving the scene but he was charging him with careless and prohibited driving. My husband signed the ticket and we left. So the only evidence that the state actually has is that they found my husbands truck in the ditch. My husband didn't admit he was or wasn't driving.

      As far as the "basic speed law"...he was driving the speed limit of 55mph and his truck was totalled because when he slid off the road, he hit a colvert and it flipped. This could have happened to anyone driving say 25 mph on a down hill curve. Thanks for your replies!

      #9; Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:40:00 GMT