Driving has become such a common task that the majority of drivers don’t stop to think how risky it can be. One of the major problems is distracted driving. Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a driver entertains that is likely to distract him or her from driving and increase the threat of crashing.
If you’re charged with distracted driving, seek legal advice from reliable Las Vegas attorney about possible defenses to this charge.
Types of distracted driving
Distractions can be classified into three categories.
Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road while manual distractions make you to take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions include those moments when your mind drifts elsewhere while on the driving. Common distractions include calling or texting, changing the music, applying makeup, and eating and drinking while driving.
Possible defenses to distracted driving
In contrast to the objective blood alcohol content test employed in DUI cases, the majority of the evidence such as witness testimony or police report used to indict distracted drivers is subjective. Your defense attorney can challenge the integrity of witness testimony arguing on the basis of biases, poor memory, and eyesight among other factors. Other possible defenses are:
1. Comparative negligence
If you believe that the petitioner is at least partly responsible for the accident, you can file a counterclaim for comparative negligence. This is an affirmative defense wherein each party’s level of fault in a crash is considered when determining financial and punitive damages. Therefore, the legal consequences of your distracted driving charges can be mitigated through comparative negligence.
2. Lack of probable cause
The law enforcement authorities such as police should have a reasonable belief that you’re about to commit a crime to stop, detain or apprehend you. In states where distracted driving is a primary offense, a police officer can stop you if they notice you’re texting or calling while driving. In states where texting or calling is a secondary offense, however, you cannot be stopped or apprehended for distracted driving without a primary reason for the arrest, such as driving beyond the speed limit. Without probable cause, the charges may be dropped.
3. Other cause of an accident
Even if you were indeed driving while texting, it’s still possible that didn’t actually lead to the crash. Other circumstances that could have caused the accident include
- Faulty tires or airbags
- Poor signage
- The other driver’s negligence
If your defense attorney can prove the presence of other contributing factors, you may have your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.
4. Special exceptions
This type of legal defense is more common in accidents involving mobile phones. The defendant attempts to excuse phone use while driving by alleging they had to make an emergency call to the police, fire department, hospital personnel among other emergency situations.
Seek legal help
Even if you were actually calling or texting while driving, the accident might not have been your mistake. Contact an experienced defense attorney to weigh up your case and any possible defenses to help reduce or drop the charges.