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Civil Liabilty for Traffic Accidents

If you receive a traffic ticket or reckless driving charge because of a car accident you should always consult with an attorney. In Virginia, your simple traffic ticket or reckless driving trial can be used against you in a law suit stemming from the same accident.

In civil court, where a plaintiff is trying to prove you were driving negligently or dangerously, the plaintiff can introduce evidence that you plead “guilty” or “no contest” (aka “nollo contendre”) to a traffic ticket in order to prove your responsiblity.

This law is recorded at “Va. Code 8.01-418″

ยง 8.01-418. When plea of guilty or nolo contendere or forfeiture in criminal prosecution or traffic case admissible in civil action; proof of such plea
Whenever, in any civil action, it is contended that any party thereto pled guilty or nolo contendere or suffered a forfeiture in a prosecution for a criminal offense or traffic infraction which arose out of the same occurrence upon which the civil action is based, evidence of said plea or forfeiture as shown by the records of the criminal court shall be admissible. Where the records of the court in which such prosecution was had are silent or ambiguous as to whether or not such plea was made or forfeiture occurred the court hearing the civil case shall admit such evidence on the question of such plea or forfeiture as may be relevant, and the question of whether such plea was made or forfeiture suffered shall be a question for the court to determine.

If the accident involves injuries or serious damage then you may be facing serious civil liability. Before you prepay a ticket, plead guilty or plead no contest talk to an attorney because, your plea could be used to make suing you a whole lot easier and cheaper for the other drivers and their insurance companies.

Luke Nichols

Spectrum Legal Defense

(703) 383-9222

About Luke Nichols

Luke Nichols practices almost exclusively traffic law in Northern Virginia. His primary practice areas include reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Mr. Nichols has represented hundreds of Virginia drivers. You can also connect with Luke on Google+
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