If you received a traffic ticket for following too closely (a.k.a. “tailgating”), you may be able to present a successful defense against the charge in court and have it dismissed. Tailgating is known as following too closely to another vehicle in front of you where you have no chance of stopping in time if that vehicle stops suddenly. This type of ticket is rarely issued, but when it is, you will have to have solid grounds to have the charge dismissed.
The Law of Following Too Closely
The law of following too closely states that a “vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”
Some people may think that following too closely is not a major offense, but the law and many insurance companies think otherwise, especially if you are considered an “offensive driver.” If you are considered an offensive driver when committing the act of following too closely, more points will be assessed to your license (6 instead of 3) and the amount of your fine will be higher.
A person convicted of driving too closely and being an aggressive driver is one who operates his/her motor vehicle with the intent to “annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.” Any person convicted of driving too closely and being an aggressive driver shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
Having Your Following Too Closely Ticket Dismissed
There are several avenues you can pursue in order to have your following too closely ticket dismissed.
One way is to mark the contest box on your ticket and file for discovery with the prosecutor and court. The charge will be dismissed if one of the following occurs:
- The officer did not file the ticket within 5 business days.
- You do not receive discovery after filing in a timely manner.
- The affidavit is otherwise defective.
If this does not lead to a dismissal, you can ask for a deferral before you begin your hearing. If you have had a good driving record with few to no traffic violation tickets, the court may dismiss the charge without a hearing.
If the officer didn’t see the accident occur and based his/her report on what the other driver said, the case could be dismissed based on “hearsay,” since that is inadmissible in court.
Obtaining Legal Help
Dismissing a ticket for following too closely can be a challenging and trying matter, especially for a layperson. An established and experienced traffic violations attorney will examine the circumstances surrounding your case, will present sound legal advice to have your case dismissed, and will present the strongest possible case to prove you are not guilty of following too closely or to receive the lightest sentence possible under the law if convicted.