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    Default Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Arizona

    While going to work the other night I briefly became unconscious due to low blood sugar. While unconscious, I ran a red light (or so I'm told) and awoke just before I collided with another vehicle. I was cited by the officer who came to the scene for running the red light. I have never been diagnosed with diabetes. I have never before passed out from low blood sugar. I was not aware that I was even capable of doing so. This was the first time anything like this had ever happened to me. my blood sugar was taken at the scene and proven to be low. Later that night I was seen by a doctor who also agreed that the accident was most likely caused by a hypoglycemic attack.

    Although I never actually saw the color of the traffic light, I do not wish to dispute weather or not I ran a red light. I would however, like to dispute the responsibility of running the red light. I do not feel I should be held responsible for a health condition that I was unaware of. My goal is to either get this ticket severely reduced, or dismissed. Mostly I would like to avoid any points on my record. Does anyone have any advice? Do I have any chance succeeding in this?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    I ran a red light (or so I'm told)
    Told by who? And what's going on on the collision/insurance side? Was a police report filed?

    This is complicated. Without more details, I can't advise anything but to (a) either get a lawyer or (b) DO NOT plead guilty, but plead "no contest" or "nolo contendere" if you decide not to fight the ticket. A guilty plea can be used against you if the other party sues you.

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Forgive me for being blunt and straight to the point... I understand that this was not intentional, that you had no control over it, but to simply deny responsibility and assume that it will all go away simply because "you wanted to" and only because you don't want to deal with it... Seriously, get real!!!

    Fact is, it is nearly impossible to avoid having this become part of your record and the outcome will likely be more severe than what you're expecting. So you better be prepared. If however, you would rather go on believing that this should and will go away easily, then skip reading the rest of what I have to say.

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    Although I never actually saw the color of the traffic light, I do not wish to dispute weather or not I ran a red light. I would however, like to dispute the responsibility of running the red light.
    Whether intentionally or not, a person who runs a red light shall be held responsible each and every time.

    That is NOT only my opinion, I am simply rephrasing the code sections elated to that one particular violation!

    It starts with:
    21453. (a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).


    and it ends with:
    42001.15. Every person convicted of an infraction for a violation of subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 21453, subdivision (c) of Section 21454, or subdivision (a) of Section 21457 shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).


    While it is true that some judges might make some exceptions in some cases resulting in a reduced fine, the way you are justifying it, will likely result in the judge assessing the full fine... In this case, you have stated nothing that would fit in between those two code sections that would/could or should change the outcome!

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    I do not feel I should be held responsible for a health condition that I was unaware of.
    Then who should be held responsible? Unfortunately, those decisions are rarely up to us under these circumstances!

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    My goal is to either get this ticket severely reduced, or dismissed.
    On what grounds?

    And let us assume that it is "severely reduced, or dismissed" this one time... What would you suggest should be the outcome the next time it happens? ***(There is a point behind my question)***

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    Mostly I would like to avoid any points on my record.
    OK, if we can be real for a minute...

    (1) If you were cited for VC21453 and upon conviction (if you are convicted) one violation point will be assessed to your driving record. Assuming you are eligible, you may be able to take traffic school and avoid having this point added to your record.

    (2) Assuming an accident report was, is being or will be completed, and in the chance that you will be found at fault, that will result in one violation point being added to your record. There is no way to avoid this point and it does not qualify for being masked as a result of taking a traffic school course.

    At the end of the day, and by hoping for no points, you are wishful thinking and setting yourself up to be disappointed.

    Quote Quoting missamandaree
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    Does anyone have any advice?
    Sure... Accept responsibility for your actions and the results, whether intentionally or not, you are responsible, and rather than expending the energy to fight an uphill battle, use that energy, time and effort into fining out the causes for what happened and remedies to avoid from having it happen again!

    This does not necessarily mean that you should march into cout and plead guilty... Far from it, in fact, hiring an attorney should have been your first step.

    Quirky offered the suggestion to not plead "guilty" and to plead "no contest" instead, and I agree. Though at the end of the day, your liability to the other party isn't reduced or eliminated by a "no contest" plea, it just makes it less automatic!

    Also, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and I can only assume that (1) paramedics were the ones who determined that your blood sugar was low and how it contributed to the problem, additionally and if any (2) law enforcement officers were summoned to the scene to investigate or issue a report, as well as the (3) doctor who later tested you later that evening and conformed the likelihood that "the accident was most likely caused by a hypoglycemic attack"; ALL THREE of those parties are require BY LAW to IMMEDIATELY report the matter to the DMV. Once such a report is received by the DMV, a notice of suspension is issued and mailed to you at your current address on file with the DMV. The suspension will go into force immediately and remain in effect until you are able to get and submit some sort of medical clearance from a licensed physician.

    You do have the right to a hearing with the DMV to dispute the mandatory suspension and details on how you may exercise that option are further detailed in the letter you should be receiving from the DMV.

    You can read more about the DMV actions on the DMV website:
    Driver Safety Information Lapses of Consciousness Disorders

    DMV's Reexamination Process

    Physical and Mental Evaluation Guidelines

    This is and will continue to be quite the challenge for you. keeping things under proper perspective that any and all actions are simply made to protect your safety and that of other drivers on the road.

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    Also, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and I can only assume that (1) paramedics were the ones who determined that your blood sugar was low and how it contributed to the problem, additionally and if any (2) law enforcement officers were summoned to the scene to investigate or issue a report, as well as the (3) doctor who later tested you later that evening and conformed the likelihood that "the accident was most likely caused by a hypoglycemic attack"; ALL THREE of those parties are require BY LAW to IMMEDIATELY report the matter to the DMV.
    As a former EMT and as a current medical student (both in California), could you provide the legal reference for making EMTs (I assume both EMTs and paramedics would be covered), paramedics, and physicians mandated reporters for this? Code and section is enough if you know it off the top of your head. It's not that I don't believe you, it's that I've never heard of them and most Local EMS Agencies have predetermined protocols for how to proceed with other mandated reporter issues (i.e. child, elder, or dependent adult abuse).

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    <entire post>
    Excellent general advice TG, but the OP is in AZ...

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
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    Excellent general advice TG, but the OP is in AZ...
    I can't resist...

    Quote Quoting That Guy
    I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!!!!

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
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    Excellent general advice TG, but the OP is in AZ...
    OK, it doesn't change my view point, what does change is the following:

    It is still mandatory to stop for a red light and being “unconscious” is not exception:

    That alone will result in you being required to complete a “Traffc Survival School” course pursuant to 28-3307 http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument....28&DocType=ARS


    Doing so while unconscious, which leads to an accident, makes it a requirement that you report the matter yourself to the AZ MVD. A treating physician's responsibility to report the matter becomes voluntary, but since AZ law relieves the physician from any civil liability if such a report is made (see 28-3005 http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument....28&DocType=ARS ), which in my opinion makes it more of an ethical issue of whether he should report it out of interest in your safety and that of others, it would defy logic for him/her not to report it.

    I found nothing that mandates such a report by law enforcement but again, although it is in fact listed in 28-3306 http://www.azleg.gov/search/oop/qful...enforcement%22 I see no reason why they wouldn't, and the information link below implies that they do in fact make such reports, even when no citation is issued. In this case, and in addition to a citation being issued, it is safe to assume that an accident report was also completed.

    From there, it appears that AZ, and instead of suspending your driving privilege and subsequently requiring a medical test and a re-examination, they send you a request for a medical review which must be completed by a certain date, and failing to do so will result in a license suspension. The results of the report and/or reexamination may also lead to either a suspension or a restriction of your driving privilege.

    You can refer to 28-3314 http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument....28&DocType=ARS


    You can get more general information here: http://www.azdot.gov/mvd/MedicalRevi...irementsDL.asp

    Good luck and get well soon!

    Edited To Add: If and when you decide to contact an attorney, it may be in your best interest to inquire with her/him as to how you should report the matter to your insurer. Considering the fact that this collision occurred as a result of you being unconscious, it is safe to assume that it should be reported to them accordingly and it may impact the type and amount of coverage offered as well as the level of coverage they may choose to provide in the future.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Quoting Speedy Gonzalez
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    I can't resist...



    At least, I tried to provide answers and to get the matter clarified, I offered some advice, and when it turned out that my references were based on the wrong state, I corrected the info accordingly...

    You, on the other hand, are still a TROLL!

    Thank you for your continuing effort to proving that!

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    At least, I tried to provide answers and to get the matter clarified, I offered some advice, and when it turned out that my references were based on the wrong state, I corrected the info accordingly...

    You, on the other hand, are still a TROLL!

    Thank you for your continuing effort to proving that!
    Poke, poke.

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    Default Re: Ticket for Running a Red Light While Unconscious

    For negligence cases (personal injury), Arizona recognizes a "sudden incapacity" defense.
    Quote Quoting Goodrich v. Blair, 132 Ariz. 459, 646 P.2d 890 (Ariz.App. 1982).
    In Arizona, the "sudden incapacity" defense finds its basis in Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Morris, 78 Ariz. 24, 275 P.2d 389 (1954), the only Arizona case which specifically discusses the defense. The defense is not a departure from the reasonable man standard of care. Id. at 30, 275 P.2d at 393; Wilson, Arizona Automobile Negligence, §§ 27, 75 (1962). Rather, it shifts the point of inquiry away from the moment of negligent driving, and causes the jury to consider the defendant's decision to drive at all. If the defendant's health was such that a reasonably prudent man would not risk driving a car, then the defendant is negligent by merely undertaking the task of driving, regardless of subsequent events. If, on the other hand, a person is not negligent in choosing to drive his car, then he is not negligent when he loses control of that car due to a heart attack. Pacific Employers, supra. See Rees, supra, n. 2 at 243-44.
    The defendant asserting this defense, thus, must show first that he suffered a sudden loss of consciousness prior to the accident and, second, that his loss of consciousness was not foreseeable. I don't see any authority extending that case law to traffic tickets (but as few traffic tickets are appealed, there's not going to be much authority). It's worth trying.

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