My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: West Virginia, City of White Hall Twp in Monroe Co.
I was backing out of a dealership lot, and I have to admit, I messed up, and while backing up (rather round-about route, as the way I came in was blocked with some vehicles the dealer had moved around the lot, and the other exits were blocked by construction, so the only way to exit was to back up the aisle, back around the corner and down the next aisle of cars, and around another corner and finally turn around). I could draw a diagram if that helps, but I hope that explains it. Either way, while backing up, I went the whole way at a safe speed (~ 5mph I believe, no faster than 10mph ... in a car that stalls out at 15mph should I release the clutch ... I was going as slow as I could) I scraped the side of a customer's vehicle, causing some minor body damage (b/c it was a "glancing blow" it damaged both doors on his vehicle, but the damage is relatively minor, and other than the trading of paint, it would be difficult to tell that I hit them) and doing some damage to my vehicle (which I plan to repair myself ...). I was looking over my shoulder, in mirrors, etc. and just made a honest-to-goodness error from exhaustion and the fact that I just did not realize how close I was.
Now, lemme say, I am not asking about fault; I understand, since his vehicle was parked (although illegally) I am 100% at fault, and given that the dealer wouldn't cite their own customer for illegal parking (I don't blame 'em) he'll get off scott-free. I understand that. What I don't understand is what the officer wrote me for.
1. Illegal backing (causing an accident)
2. Wreckless Driving
3. Careless driving
4. failure to use proper signals
5. busted taillight (yes, the taillight was damaged in the accident, as the video clearly shows the light fully operational prior)
The officer then proceeded to frisk me, put me in the patrol car, in cuffs, search my vehicle, etc.
I understand, I was at fault for the accident, but jeez, it was AN ACCIDENT. I'll face the punishment for what I did, but I feel this is a little excessive; I've heard of people street racing and running from the LEO's getting away easier than this. After all, this will (by my math) assess up to 15pts on my license (6 for illegal backing involving an accident, and 3 each for wreckless and careless, 1 for busted light, 2 for the signals), over a low-speed parking lot accident, and where I was honest, up-front, and truthful with the officer, provided the information requested as quickly as possible, and with no injury (as the other vehicle had no occupants, and I am uninjured from it myself). And this being my first (ever) violation of any kind, I honestly expected the officer to be a bit more understanding/lenient.
What can I do? Anyone know whether or not these violations should even apply to this? What could/should I expect from the judge? I need my license for work at one job (the one that pays $10/hr, the other job is just $7.25/hr, but I may lose that one as well should I lose my license). I just want to make sure I don't wind up losing everything I've worked so hard for (education, jobs, clean record, etc.) over what is, by all accounts, a minor accident in a parking lot.
- Jake R, Morgantown, WV (WVU).
EDIT> Mods, if you feel there is a better sub-board/area for this post, feel free to move it. Sorry, but given that this involves a bunch of different elements, this seemed like the best place, imo, to put it.