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Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:47 am
Posts: 5
Hello everyone,
First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my post.

I believe I was charged a ridiculous offence. No tickets, 11 years licences, no accidents etc.
My first ticket, he gave me a careless driving charge.

He followed me for a good few minutes before pulling me over. Why didn't he pull me over immediately?

He asked me, "Why are you driving like that?" I said, "I was just driving.."
He said, "You're a danger for people on the road. You're scaring other drivers. I saw you making SEVERAL lane changes, excessive acceleration and excessive braking and passing from the right."
Stupid me, I apologized because I thought this would get him to ease off and maybe let me go.

First off, I did not brake excessively and hard. I had a dash cam recording everything. I usually downshift. I braked when the other car in front of me braked. Did not realize braking was an offence either! The braking is obvious on my dash cam when the car in front of me suddenly brakes. No sudden brakes ever and big gaps between vehicles and lane changes.

This was a 3 lane road with 70km speed limit. I did make several lane changes, yes. But with pauses between lane changes and signalling. And huge gaps between cars which is again visible on my dash cam. I did not realize this would be careless driving offence??
I accelerate when switching lanes, You are not supposed to PAUSE when switching lanes. But apparently that is dangerous?
The roads were being blocked by slow drivers under the speed limit - so I switched lanes. No ice, no snow, not wet roads. All dry and clean roads.

Quite frankly, he seemed prejudice and asked me what I do for a living and scoffed when I told him.
I don't see how that is relevant. He also asked me the relationship to my passenger and where I was going.

He also asked me if he was to seize my dashcam with a warrant, would he see what he said he saw? I said I don't think so. I also said, yeah I was switching lanes quickly but I was making sure everything was safe and keeping a nice between vehicles. I don't know if I convicted myself. I didn't want to be rude and not say anything.

What should I do to fight this charge? Should I wait until the last day to file the ticket, ask to meet with prosecutor first to delay court date or just use a paralegal to handle everything? I am not experienced with courts or the law and I don't think this is safe for me to tackle alone.
Thank you for reading.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:09 am
Posts: 75
Request a trial right away. The officer has not alleged you were speeding; that's definitely a good thing. If your dashcam video shows you were changing lanes occasionally to provide a clear lane in which you could drive at the speed limit, that is also a good thing. IMO, Careless should only apply if you were weaving into and out of lanes, trying to pass drivers so you could fly. Drivers change lanes all the time. 37 years ago, Young Drivers taught me to get "The Big Picture," and to choose the "lane of least resistance" to help me do that. In the last six years, YD has taught my three kids the same thing. I still drive that way; I want to be able to see what's ahead of me as much as possible.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:47 am
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Zatota wrote:
Request a trial right away. The officer has not alleged you were speeding; that's definitely a good thing. If your dashcam video shows you were changing lanes occasionally to provide a clear lane in which you could drive at the speed limit, that is also a good thing. IMO, Careless should only apply if you were weaving into and out of lanes, trying to pass drivers so you could fly. Drivers change lanes all the time. 37 years ago, Young Drivers taught me to get "The Big Picture," and to choose the "lane of least resistance" to help me do that. In the last six years, YD has taught my three kids the same thing. I still drive that way; I want to be able to see what's ahead of me as much as possible.


Thanks. I'm not sure if it is considered weaving. I switched lanes 4 times in less than 1 minute or so as shown in my dash cam.
Didn't know that was "illegal" if done safely? Gaps were huge in between as well.

Also, in my dash cam, there is a car in front of me driving more reckless and faster than me, and he choose to pull me over, why? Would this be a good question to ask the officer in court? If you wanted to get a dangerous driver off the road, why didn't you go after the other driver?
Also, after following me for a few minutes he pulls me over? Why? Why not pull me over immediately?


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:08 pm
Posts: 518
Location: Ontario
I think the charge against you will be hard to beat at trial, not to say that you will not be able to plead guilty to a reduced charge. He spent some time observing your driving. Post the video, we'll give you a good idea of what your chances are. Other drivers driving worse than you are irrelevant to your situation.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:30 am
Posts: 658
As is the fact he didn't pull you over right away. He was likely running checks on your vehicle and the registered owner to gives him an idea of who he might be dealing with.

_________________
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:03 pm 
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Ynotp: Hmm why do you think so? When he followed me I was driving in the same lane without switching because I did get nervous as to why he's right behind me.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:09 am
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Switching lanes four times in a minute is considerably different from switching lanes four times over the course of the several minutes he was following you. That does sound more like weaving. As ynotp suggested, though, post the video.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:30 am
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kaplan wrote:
Ynotp: Hmm why do you think so? When he followed me I was driving in the same lane without switching because I did get nervous as to why he's right behind me.


If you are replying to my message.... you know you are a law abiding citizen getting pulled over for a 'minor' traffic issues; the copper has no idea who you are. I always ran computer checks before activating emergency lights. More coppers are killed on traffic stops than you would imagine.

_________________
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:47 am
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argyll wrote:
kaplan wrote:
Ynotp: Hmm why do you think so? When he followed me I was driving in the same lane without switching because I did get nervous as to why he's right behind me.


If you are replying to my message.... you know you are a law abiding citizen getting pulled over for a 'minor' traffic issues; the copper has no idea who you are. I always ran computer checks before activating emergency lights. More coppers are killed on traffic stops than you would imagine.


Thanks for clearing that up. I thought that as well but in the past when I was pulled over, it was immediately and not a minute wasted. That's why I felt this charge was a bit prejudiced. We are good people with no criminal record or traffic violations and this charge was unfair and too harsh.

Also what reason does he have to ask what I do for a living and what my relationship to my passenger or where I am going? Thanks again


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:30 am
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Engaging in a conversation can assist in the officer's assessment as to your level of sobriety.

_________________
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:20 am
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I am surprized the cop didn't charge under the stunting legislation, S. 172 HTA, and suspend the licence for 7 days and impound the car for 7 days...


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:41 am 
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screeech wrote:
I am surprized the cop didn't charge under the stunting legislation, S. 172 HTA, and suspend the licence for 7 days and impound the car for 7 days...

Could you clarify what did I do that was "stunt driving?" I am confused with this website. As far as I am aware, this website is there to help others win their tickets? I don't understand the nature of this post. All of my lane changes were safe with 1-2 cars length in distances and my turn signals can be heard on my dash cams audio. No lane changes at intersections either.


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 1477
The officer has no obligation to pull you over right away.

Other drivers being worse than you would give you something to question officer on for sure, but is not going to win your ticket.

Careless driving is a harder ticket for them to prove though, which means it is easier to win. However the consequences of losing and being convicted of careless are pretty much the same as getting a DUI ticket. The prosecution may offer a plea to a reduced offence, which would be much better as far as insurance is concerned, so sometimes it is better to take the reduced plea. On the flip side, they might be offereing you a plea deal because they know they are going to have a hard time proving careless.

In any case, you need to get disclosure (officers notes) before you can decide if there is a way to fight it or not. You can not make any decisions on how to fight it until you see the officers notes.

Plead NOT GUILTY and request a trial with the officer present. Once you get your Notice of Trial, then you can request disclosure (officers notes, any audio/video).

As far as your own dashcam video is concerned, keep a copy safe. If it really does not show any careless driving, then you may even want to send a copy to prosecution ahead of the trial. As far as showing the video at trial, make sure you put the video on a USB stick ($6 at Staples) and bring a laptop along that can play the video. They may want to keep the video as evidence, so that is why you need to put it on USB stick so they dont keep your whole laptop or dashcam.

_________________
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:20 am
Posts: 271
I'm not saying you are guilty of anything or am I making comment on how you were driving, that is for the courts to decide...However, if you were driving as the officer says you were, I am suprized you weren't charged with stunting...if he felt he had the grounds to charge you for careless, he could have done you for stunting...

Regulation 455/07 Section 2, in part:
Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person by,

iii. repeatedly changing lanes in close proximity to other vehicles so as to advance through the ordinary flow of traffic while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed. O. Reg. 455/07, s. 2 (1).


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Re: Careless Driving Charge for switching several lanes etc.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:00 pm
Posts: 58
kaplan wrote:
Hello everyone,

I believe I was charged a ridiculous offence. No tickets, 11 years licences, no accidents etc.
My first ticket, he gave me a careless driving charge.

He followed me for a good few minutes before pulling me over. Why didn't he pull me over immediately?


General information on Careless Driving offences can be found here, and specifically section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act can be found here.

it is not uncommon for an Officer to not immediately pull over a vehicle for any number of reasons including looking up vehicle and driver information before conducting a traffic stop.

Careless Driving offences are unfortunately one of the most serious offences that can be issued under the Highway Traffic Act, carrying 6 demerit points and generally being considered a serious offence for insurance purposes. Generally a conviction for Careless Driving results in no longer qualifying for standard insurance coverage and having to seek out a high-risk insurance carrier.

Section 130 of the HTA is a very generally and briefly worded section applying where a vehicle is driven "without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons." The applies across an incredibly broad profile of scenarios. Having dealt with literally hundreds of Careless Driving cases both from the prosecution and the defence halves of the courtroom over the last 35 years, I have seen this offence issued in scenarios as simple as a single vehicle driving slowly in snowy road conditions and sliding in the a median barrier with no damage to vehicle or property.

Given the severity of penalties involved in these cases, it is important to proceed with proper due diligence in reviewing the facts and evidence in the case in determining whether a the prosecution has enough to proceed on, whether to proceed to trial, or whether to resolve to a lesser offence where appropriate.

_________________
The content of this post is not legal advice. Legal advice can only be provided after a licenced paralegal has been retained, spoken with you directly, and reviewed the documents related to your case.


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