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"Following Too Closely" Civil Complaint in Vermont

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by ehcrummett, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. ehcrummett

    ehcrummett Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I received a civil complaint from a Fish and Wildlife officer in Vermont for following too closely. The officer did not pull me over at the time of the incident, and he did not call to State Police to stop me, instead he mailed me a violation. Since this is a civil complaint, I am assuming he is issuing this as a civilian and not an officer. I am planning on filing a motion to dismiss, as the Vermont law states "The operator of a vehicle shall not, in a careless or imprudent manner, approach, pass, or maintain speed unnecessarily close to a vulnerable user" and I truly do not believe I was following too closely. What would I need to prove in court to dismiss?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You need to overcome the officer's testimony that you violated the law.

    You need to prove you broke no laws, and the officer was mistaken.

    If your state has traffic school I'd go that route.
    Traffic school is a sure fire winner.

    No traffic school in your state?
    Then ask for DEFERRED ADJUDICATION.

    It's a rare day when a person cited for any traffic offense all across this nation gets a not guilty verdict in a traffic court.

    Good luck.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    This is one of those situations that might work out in your favor.
    Since you were not stopped it is very unlikely the officer can identify you as the driver of the vehicle.
    You certainly can file a motion requesting dismissal and indicate that you have not been contacted by any law enforcement during a traffic stop and no officer can reasonably identify you as the driver. Your request may be denied, but make the same argument in court if you have to go.
    Since you were not contacted at the time of the violation you have no way to account for your actions or even your presence.

    There is some information here that might be useful: Civil Violation Complaints: Traffic, Municipal, and Fish and Wildlife Violations | Vermont Judiciary
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No.

    It's a "civil" traffic complaint as opposed to a "criminal" traffic complaint. He's an officer, make no mistake about that.

    That's not the part of the statute that applies to you. There is more to the statute than just that:

    1039. Following too closely, crowding, and harassment
    (a) The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and the conditions of, the highway. The operator of a vehicle shall not, in a careless or imprudent manner, approach, pass, or maintain speed unnecessarily close to a vulnerable user as defined in subdivision 4(81) of this title, and an occupant of a vehicle shall not throw any object or substance at a vulnerable user.


    2016 Vermont Statutes :: Title 23 - Motor Vehicles :: Chapter 13 - Operation Of Vehicles :: Subchapter 3: USE OF ROADWAY :: § 1039 Following too closely, crowding, and harassment

    4(81) "Vulnerable user" means a pedestrian; an operator of highway building, repair, or maintenance equipment or of agricultural equipment; a person operating a wheelchair or other personal mobility device, whether motorized or not; a person operating a bicycle or other nonmotorized means of transportation (such as roller skates, rollerblades, or roller skis); or a person riding, driving, or herding an animal.

    2016 Vermont Statutes :: Title 23 - Motor Vehicles :: Chapter 1 - General Provisions :: § 4 Definitions

    So the part of the statute that applies to you (unless you were actually following a vulnerable user) is:

    The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and the conditions of, the highway.

    So, just how far behind the vehicle in front of you where you?

    You may answer in feet or car lengths.

    And what was your speed?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Unfortunately OP can't answer that since he wasn't stopped at the time of the incident.
    How could someone be expected to recall traffic they were following days or weeks prior without some notice of the significance of the event?
    I find it odd he was not stopped.
     
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  6. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    I as well..... Just one digit wrong on the license plate and it is a different person. Errors happen all the time. Unless the officer has video backup that can show the infraction.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Perhaps the person the officer TRIED to stop successfully eluded his valiant efforts, but not his vigilant eyes and the dashcam in his official police vehicle????
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I would not expect Fish & Game to have dashcams.
    I've never come across any.
     

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