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Car Accident on Private Property

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My question is this: Can the State of Wisconsin issue a traffic citation for a non-injury accident which occurred on private property?

Details: I was involved in a non-injury accident in the parking lot of a gas station. There was damage to the other vehicle which my insurance company is taking care of because the accident was definently my fault. I received by mail a citation from the county for Inattentive Driving ($187 fine and 4 points). I was not on a cell phone, I was not changing the channel of the radio, I was not impaired whatsoever other than there is a large electrical junction box in my line of vision before I turned that I believe the car I hit was behind when I checked to turn the first time and when i turned I did not see the other car until it was too late. Can I fight this in court and how do I fight it if I can?

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Of course they can issue you a ticket

It is called private property with public access which means you are responsible for the damage (Your insurance is) and all traffic laws have to be obeyed.

According to your way of thinking , and this is for example only. If you were driving a car in a mall parking lot and mall security called the police because you were doing donuts and leaving black marks on the pavement. When the police arrived all you would have to say according to you is "This is private property so I don't need a license to drive here, I can do all the damage I want because it is private property"

Now if you were on a friends back 20 acres that had no public access (public is not invited and there is no way for the public to enter this property without being invited) then you would not need a drivers license and any damage you do to the property would be between you and your friend.

But if you are on property that the public has access to such as a gas station, mall, grocery store, those sort of places, that property is private meaning no tax dollars are used to keep the property up or was used to build the place, but it has an entrance that runs off a public (tax dollar supported) road or stret, and anybody can come on to the property, that is known as private property with public access so any sort of accident is covered by the police department and any tickets that are issued are valid and have to be paid, with fines recorded

The ticket is valid, the points will go toward your driving record

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In reply to Badge according to my way of thinking I would not go into a parking lot thinking that I could do all the damage I wanted and then claim no responsibility because I was on private property. And obviously I have taken responsibility for the accident and I have made the other driver whole. However, in other states, in a non-injury accident on private property (with or without public access) it is deemed a civil matter only and no citations would have been issued.

If you have more information in regards to the laws of Wisconsin I would like some input.

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It is a civil matter when you get sued for the damages in court. Big difference between a civil matter and a criminal matter.

It is a traffic offense when you get a ticket like you did.

The officer didn't just give you the ticket to pass the time of day. He gave it to you because you were involved in a motor vehicle accident.

You can hire an attorney to fight the ticket, but if there was damage and you were at fault like you admitted you were, then you are guilty of a traffic violation which caused property damage.

If the other driver does not sue you or your insurance company then the civil part does not even enter into this. If he sues you for even his deductible, then that is when it becomes a civil matter. The traffic offense is criminal as you found out

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Hey Badge, if you would like to answer my questions without the attitude you can continue to do so otherwise let someone else try. Let me explain something to you, this is the first accident that I have been involved in and I am 35 years old. I have questions about the legal system, I have gotten advice from others and have chosen to seek out if their suggestion and advice is factual.

I am not suggesting the officer wrote me a ticket for the fun of it, in fact the officer on the scene did not write me a ticket, I received it two days later in the mail. The officer on the scene did not think that I would receive one, hence my questions. I have great respect for our police officers and would not suggest that this sheriff had nothing to do the cold November morning that this happened.

I would also like to know your credentials so that I may weigh the information that you have given to me.

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I have been a patrol supervisor for over 25 years in a pretty good size police department and I have written many a tickets for this same situation and that being an accident that occurred on private property.

I am sorry that you do not like what you think my attitude is, you are jumping to conclusions, you asked a question on an open forum and I answered it.

The fact you are 35 years of age and have never been in an accident is good but it has no bearing on your question or the circumstances.

If you have received numerous advice, then why are you asking here?

And it is not an open and shut easy case as the other responder made you believe.

The fact the officer didn't give you the ticket on the spot or he mailed it to you or he came to your house and hand delivered it, makes no difference it is a ticket that has to be responded to be it in person or by a lawyer, that is your choice.

You only have 3 options

#1) Plead guilty to the ticket and pay the fine

#2) Have your lawyer plead not guilty for you and ask for a trial

#3) You ignore it

You can debate me all you want on what you think you know or what you want to believe or what your friends told you, but the bottom line is you got the ticket, you have to respond to it in one of the 3 methods mentioned above.

You have EVERY right to plead not guilty, and if you feel you are not in violation of the law and the officer was wrong, then pay a lawyer to fight your case in front of a jury. If the jury finds you not guilty, you walk away with no fine or record. If the jury finds you guilty, you pay

Do not read into this that I have some sort of attitude, I don't, but your question is not one about my attitude, you got a legally issued ticket by a certified police officer in your state. I believe he knows the law better than you and the other person who responded with her opinion answer.

There is no reason to argue about this, you plead guilty or you fight it. The judge is not just going to throw this out because you got advice from friends.

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You were probably cited under Trans. 101.02(2)(h)

Here is the definition of "inattentive driving" under Wisconsin Stats.:

Wis. Stats. 346.89 Inattentive driving.

(1) No person while driving a motor vehicle shall be so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of such vehicle.

(2) No person shall drive any motor vehicle equipped with any device for visually receiving a television broadcast when such device is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the operator’s seat or when such device is visible to the operator while driving the motor vehicle.

You might go to court and argue that the elements that constitute inattentive driving don't apply to your case. If you haven't already consulted the WI driving statutes you should do so and see what options are open to you in getting the offense reclassified. If a judge drops it to a lower point offense, you might be able to wipe out the points by attending Traffic Safety School (which deducts up to 3 points from your record).

Good luck!

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