Traffic Accident/Ticket

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by jnr, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. jnr

    jnr Member

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    Happy New Year to all.

    DD is listed as a candidate with the AFA, has a nomination and DoDMERB qualification. She was in a minor traffic accident, rear-ending the car in front of her on the way to school. She was not injured and was issued a traffic ticket for following too closely. This is her only accident and ticket. She is taking full responsibility, paying the ticket and insurance deductible out of her own pocket - not mine.

    My question is timing of reporting the incident to the academy. Had this happened prior to her applying she would have listed it under "character assessment"; however, her application was submitted months before the traffic incident occurred.

    Does she immediately send an email to her Admissions Officer indicating what happened?

    Is she supposed to send that kind of information to Admissions at this stage of the application process or does she wait for see if an appointment is offered and indicate: "before running a background check on me, you should know that between the time I applied and now I pleaded no contest to a traffic ticket"?

    I am hopeful that a traffic accident and ticket won't hurt her chances of appointment (after all, this wasn't the Lufthansa heist). She is taking financial responsibility and willing to report the incident to the academy if they are interested, but I'm not sure when the appropriate time to do that is; and as her parent, I don't want her throwing herself under the bus prematurely or unnecessarily.

    Gee, and I thought waiting to hear from the academies was going to be my only stress this year.......
     
  2. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    There are multiple threads on here about tickets (speeding or otherwise). Search/read through some of those. I don't think a one-time ticket is a big issue, unless it's related to a DUI, or multiple tickets/accidents on her record. A lot of teens have a fender-bender or speeding ticket in their first few years of driving. Someone else can address whether she should report this now or after an appointment is received.
     
  3. jnr

    jnr Member

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    Thanks. No alcohol involved. Happened in the early morning on a slippery New England road in late December.

    Just not sure what the academy notification requirements are.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm speaking from a Coast Guard Academy perspective, but often service academies have similar policies. I can't remember if it was a CGA policy or something in by background check, but there was a dollar or point limit for reporting tickets (if I remember correctly, it it has been almost a decade so I could be confused).

    My first week with my 2/c car, I was pulled over going 74 mph in a 45 mph zone. In fairness to myself, my fine smooth sports car didn't FEEL like it was going that fast, but I learned to look at my speedometer after that. I had 3 points and something like $250 or $300 fine. I notified my company chief, and he told me not to speed... that was it.

    A simple fender bender isn't something an administration staff is going to care about. It has nothing to do with character or capabilities (and cadets/midshipmen get into accidents now and then too). If she was injured or if it arose from some kind of criminal misconduct... that would be another story.
     
  5. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Hi JNR,

    First... Winter driving up here in the New England is never fun. Stay safe especially right now with our latest storm/blizzard.

    Second... In our house we are sticklers for things like personal honor, doing the right thing, etc. But even we wouldn't consider a non-alcohol/non-reckless fender bender something that needs to be reported to AFA.... If it's truely a driving "accident" and not behavior/criminal related.

    Good luck to your candidate!


    EDIT: Yeah... what Lits said. :)
     
  6. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    From the ROTC perspective, I've had several classmates get into minor accidents and have minor tickets. They all reported them and it wasn't a big deal. The one time I know it was an issue were 2 separate occasions where the ticket was for street racing. Those guys lost their scholarship to say the least.
     
  7. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    Suggestion? See if the municipal court in your town offers deferred ajudication. What that means is that your DD would be on probation for a certain amount of time, say 6 months and if she does not get another moving violation in that time frame the ticket will stay off her record. Don't ever just plead guilty.

    As far as reporting the ticket. My DD received a no seat belt ticket during the application process. Not criminal and not a moving violation but we reported it anyway. I would tell the ALO, that is probably as far as it would go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    In general, anytime I've been asked to report any issues with the law, in an application or security check, there have always been qualifiers, something like "Not including parking tickets or tickets for moving violations less than $XXX.XX." Check and see if something like that has existed in past forms you've filled out.

    If you're really concerned, call the admisson office and ask. It doesn't hurt and it might help you sleep better.

    The flip side is, if it really is an issue, and you were required to report but didn't, those kinds of things tend to come back up when they DO start to look at criminal history.

    I don't think you/she have/has anything to worry about here, from what you've said.
     
  9. Aveon

    Aveon Member

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    Absolutely agree! Don't ever just plead guilty. Also, in our state the form of deferred adjudication is called driving school diversion. Depending on the class of ticket, you are able to go to driving school; upon completion, the ticket gets expunged from one's driving record.
     
  10. jnr

    jnr Member

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    My sincere thanks to everyone for so many prompt and detailed replies. They are very much appreciated.

    After a heart to heart with my DD she explained that she was willing to pay the $132 ticket to put the incident behind her but truly felt she was being dealt with unfairly as she was not exceeding the 30 MPH speed limit, had separation of 3 car lengths behind the car she ended up rear ending, and maneuvered to avoid being hit by a car coming from the side (a car who was no where to be found when the police arrived). So she will be pleading not guilty on the "following too closely traffic complaint" issued by the police. However, she is still on the hook to me (actually already paid) for the insurance deductible.

    My understanding is that it could take months until her case is heard (if it even gets that far). I am debating reaching out to her ALO for direction on whether to report the incident to USAFA. While this is a great teachable moment: make DD take responsibility for the outcome but also stand up for herself if she feels she has been unfairly accused; there is still the need of complying with academy regulations. Just wish I knew what those regulations are so she can comply.
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    You might consider engaging an attorney to negotiate the ticket down before you decide to plead guilty and pay it considering your DD's feelings. The resulting increase in your insurance due to the accident might make the investment in a good attorney relatively inexpensive.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Speaking from a USNA perspective, a traffic ticket that doesn't involve alcohol, excessive speed (e.g., reckless driving), or similar activity won't be an issue. Accidents happen, even to soon-to-be cadets. :smile:

    Don't know what USAFA's requirements (if any) are WRT self-reporting something like this. Read the fine print in all of your DD's materials, be honest (as I know she will be), and everything should be fine.
     
  13. jnr

    jnr Member

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    Thanks USNA1985. Your comments are appreciated as DD is also a nominated and DoDMERB qualified candidate for USNA. I was going to head to that forum next but you saved me the trouble. Thanks. :smile:

    Should she notify her BGO? AO? neither? both? And, oh yeah, what is WRT?
     
  14. SubRider

    SubRider Member

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    On a side note, too many traffic violations, no matter how minor, can have an impact later on in one's career. I remember being questioned during a screening interview about my 2 speeding tickets in the previous 6 months. They were both for going only 5-10 mph over the limit, but I was told that too many violations show that you're either careless about maintaining control of your car or you don't feel that you need to obey all rules and regulations.

    Apparently they want people in the nuclear power program to be careful and follow procedures.:rolleyes:
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    And yet somehow they still manage to put nukes on the wrong planes and fly them across the country....
     
  16. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

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    Hey now, we North Dakotans aren't too fond of ridicule. My guess is that the Minot AFB is most likely run by officers from out of state!

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  17. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    See USNA1985's comments...USAFA's position is pretty much precisely the same as USNA's.

    And comments re: Mindrot AFB...203 miles West on US2 from civilization...

    Uffda!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  18. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    Just a note of caution. If she pleads not guilty and end up in traffic court your DD is going to need a witness or some other evidence to show she was not following too closely. Her opinion is not going to help her. Without that the judge will probably accept the officers testimony as an expert witness. (someone who investigates accidents daily) Sometimes pleading no contest is cheaper in the long run and it can't be used against her. I would consult an attorney just to protect her in case the other driver suddenly complains of an injury.
     
  19. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

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    Uffda for sure! Spoken like a true North Dakotan!

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