What are the penalities if I plead guilty in an auto accident? 3 Answers as of July 22, 2011

I was involved in a three vehicle accident and was cited for careless driving causing injury. I was driving a pickup truck, traveling behind another pickup truck driving under the speed limit on a two lane road. As we started up a hill, another lane appeared on the right making the lane we were traveling in a passing lane the pickup in front of me failed to change to the right lane for slower vehicles. I check my rear view mirror and did not see anyone, then looked over my right shoulder and still did not see anyone. As I moved to change to the right lane, I hit a motorcycle attempting to pass me in the right lane. He was at my my rear right side, in the blind spot. My truck sits up higher and a tool box evidently obstructed me from seeing the motorcycle. After I struck the motorcycle, I lost control of the pickup which then went into oncoming traffice and hit a van coming in the opposite direction. The motorcyclist was treated for superficial woulds and released. A teenage in the van was treated for a bump on the head and released. Since I was not speeding, no one was seriously hurt, I have a completely clean driving record, and the motorcyclist was struck while attempting to pass me in the right lane, what would be the penalties I would probably received if I plead guilty? Should I bring an attorney with me to the hearing? Should I tried to plead this charge to a lessor charge?

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Frances R. Johnson
Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
Depending upon whether it was charged as a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic infraction, there could be probation, jail anywhere from 10 days to 1 year, a fine between $150 to $1,000 dollars, in addition to court costs. You should bring an attorney if you desire the advice and counsel of an attorney who can assist you and/or handle the hearing. Only you can decide whether you should accept a plea to a lesser charge. Keep in mind the potential negative effects to your driving record if found guilty (e.g. potential employment if you drive for a living; insurance rates increasing, etc.)
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/22/2011
Miller & Harrison, LLC
Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
The answer to this depends a lot on what county you are in. Some won't plea bargain these charges at all. Biggest concern is the restitution that will be ordered if you plead guilty. That can end up in the 10's of thousands. Best to consult a lawyer knowledgeable of this charge in your county.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/22/2011
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