If in an Accident, Say "I Don't Know"!

If you’re involved in an accident, you don’t have to tell the officer what happened. You can’t lie under oath in court, but on the scene you can and SHOULD say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.”

Video Transcription

Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic lawyer. If you happen to be involved in an accident, my best advice that I could ever give to you, is to not tell the trooper or the deputy who’s investigating what happened. The best thing you can say is “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.”

Now, I’m not talking about if you’re under oath in court. If you‘re under oath or for a deposition, you’ve taken an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and if you were to lie; if you do know and you say you don’t know; that’s perjury. You can’t do that if you’re under oath.

But if you’re involved in an accident, and you’re on the side of the road and the officer is investigating, trying to understand what happened and who to give a ticket to, you have no duty to tell the whole truth. I’m not saying that you should be uncooperative. In fact, I always suggest that you want to be polite and cooperative to the officers who are investigating, because that only hurts you if you’re a jerk or are rude to them. But you also don’t have to tell them everything that happened and tell them what speed you were going, etc. You don’t have to give them any statements whatsoever.

So the best answer is to give them your license and registration, like you’re required to by law, to be very courteous to them, but to say “I’m not sure what happened” or “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know.” Now if you do, you may feel like you’re not telling the truth, but again, you’re not under oath, and that’s the best thing you can do for yourself, is to not make the officer’s case for them. In too many accident cases the defendant actually gives all the evidence the officer needs to make a case of reckless driving stick. But in many cases, if the defendant doesn’t say anything; whether they don’t know, or they just don’t say anything; then it’s very hard for a reckless driving case to stick.

So that’s the best thing you can do is to be cooperative, produce your license and registration and proof of insurance, but don’t say anything else. And if you’re asked what happened, or what speed you were going, or how this happened, just say “I’m not sure officer” or “I don’t remember officer” or something to that effect but being very courteous the whole time. That’s one of the best things you can do on the scene. And of course, you really need to talk with a traffic attorney ASAP if you’re given a ticket so we can help advise you and help prepare for court to put on the best case we can.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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