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Prep for early resolution meeting
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:22 am 
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Hi

My wife got charged with careless driving in a recent accident - ran over the curb hit a concrete base of the lamp post, when attempting to change lanes in busy traffic and lost control of the vehicle while looking in the blind spot. I've asked for early resolution meeting - how should I prepare myself to get the charges removed totally? Here's why I think the charges be removed completely - please correct any details i should omit, or add other things I should consider adding:

- she was slowly cruising on the lane that had an obstruction coming up, and wanted to change to the next lane
- she had the indicator on for quite a long time, but no one gave her way. she had to look at the mirror and blind spot multiple times
- heavy traffic conditions - 9 am on the busy King St approaching downtown hamilton.
- she was feeling little nauseous and all she remembers was the pole coming in front after her attention shifted from the blind spot to the front, and was too late hitting the break.

the police said they had no choice but to give a ticket as per standard practice. I've requested early resolution date, and possibly going to fight the case - as I don't see what was careless in my wife's driving. In my opinion, she was more careful.

Would like to hear thoughts from some of the experts here. Appreciate all the help.

Thanks.


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:53 am 
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Most likely the early resolution meeting will involve the prosecutor not wanting to hear any of your arguments... that is what trial is for.

The prosecutor may just offer you a plea deal right away, knowing that careless drinving is actually hard for them to prove. Or the prosecutor might just say they have no intention of offering you a plea deal and will be pursuing the full charge of careless driving.

From insurance perspective, I beleive Careless is a SERIOUS offence which is the worst possible thing you can ever have against your insurance (100% increase). If the prosecutor offers you a plea deal down to something that is considered only a MAJOR offence you may want to take that because this not nearly as bad as a SERIOUS one. Prosecutor will not know what is SERIOUS or MAJOR though so you will need to call your insurance company and ask them for a list of MINOR, MAJOR and SERIOUS offences so you know if what they offer is a good deal or not.

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


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:15 am 
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I don't see anything in the narrative that would warrant a withdrawal of the charge. Effectively she drove into an immovable object, did she not ? That would be as clear as careless gets. You might get a deal down to a fail to turn out to avoid collision but the factors you listed, traffic, nausea etc do not take away from the fact of the driving.

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


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:22 am 
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thanks jsherk and argyll for the feedback. couple of questions:

1. Does the prosecutor study the case (police notes, etc.) before early resolution? or do they put a blind offer? also, can I request discovery before the early resolution date?

2. I will be calling my insurance company (TD Meloche Monnex) to confirm - but does anyone have experience if first accident forgiveness also forgives the ticket that came with it? or are they considered two separate events? i.e. 1) at-fault accident claim and 2) traffic ticket

Thanks in advance


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:50 am 
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The prosecutor should review the Crown Brief prior to the meeting so that they know what sort of deal to offer. A first-time offender should be treated differently to a serial offender for example. He or she likely will also want to know what kind of case there is and whether they feel they'd like to bargain in away or go for the original charge.

My understanding is that accident forgiveness is just that - for the accident only but I am not completely sure about that so very willing to be corrected.

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


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:46 am 
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The prosecutor will have some idea of the what happened but may or may not have the full officers notes yet. You will not get disclosure before the early resolution meeting.

Each insurance company is different, so you have to ask about all that forgiveness stuff. You had an accident and a claim so that may be what is forgiven. The conviction on the ticket itself may not be forgiven though and that will cause a HUGE increase.

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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:33 pm 
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Here is the update. I attended the early resolution meeting today and the procecutor offered "failed to stay in marked lanes" which has 3 de merit points. My wife and I were sceptical to accept as she has G2 and is scheduled for G2 exit test next week (not relevant to case but will help with demerit tolerance differences between G2 and G).

We were also able to get disclosure where upon it has:

my wife's statement - was driving in leftmost lane - wanted to change to the right lane, checked mirror, signalled, checked blindspot, while checking blindspot to see it was safe i braked to go right, didnt notice I braked, but didn't completely brake (I know this sounds confusing, but this is exactly what officer wrote in the disclosed notes). I don't know what happened and hit the pole.

Bystander witness statement- she was going west, changing lanes, put her signal on and I heard a bang. Saw her hit lamppost and ran over to help her.

At the early resolution meeting:
Explained what happend, and the procecutor said she could drop it from careless to failed to stay in lane with 3 demerits. If we go to trial all she had to prove is would a reasonable person make an unsafe departure from the lane (causing to go over the curb and hit the pole). At first my wife wanted to accept it but felt otherwise and decided to go with the trial option. The procecutor said it could lead to careless charge and upto $1000 in fines.

Is this true? Or is it scare tactics? I don't think there is any evidence to suggest careless driving. Officer only came after the accident, witness statement suggests my wife had signalled and driving carefully. Also, the worst that can be charged is failing to stay in lanes. But she had to change because there was a parked car in the front (leftmost lane of one way road) What are your opinion about the worst case scenario here?

Also, as per advise of the folks in this thread, I called insurance company to find out what would be considered as minor. The agent said he would not know as they system would calculate that, but could tell me that the number of demerit does make the difference in the increase in insurance.


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:00 pm 
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Personally, and it is just my opinion, I would have bitten her arm off. Your wife clearly did not stay in her lane as she hit a lamp post which presumably wasn't in her lane. The fact that she was driving correctly up until she left her lane and hit the pole is not the point in question. Normal driving does not involve striking an imoveable object, hence the careless.

Careless is a BIG ticket on your insurance and if she's new to driving her rate will be very large. It's your choice whether you feel like gambling on an all or nothing defence when, again my opinion, there isn't much defence there.

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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:52 pm 
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She was charged with careless driving, so if you do not take the plea deal offer and go to trial and lose then that is exactly what she will be charged with, including huge fine. Careless is as bad as a DUI on your insurance, so it will also be an HUGE increase in insurance.

Demerits mean nothing from an insurance standpoint so do not take a plea based on demerit points only. However as a G2, 3 demerits is NOT a suspension yet. Since she was a G2 when the accident happened, then if you get 4 or more demerits (even if she is now a full G) she will still get the suspension. The other thing you should check, is whether your insurance company considers "failed to stay in marked lane" as a MINOR, MAJOR or SERIOUS charge.

Careless is SERIOUS and you definitely want to avoid that if at all possible.

If failed to stay in marked lane is also SERIOUS from insurance standpoint, then you may want to consider getting a lawyer to fight the careless charge and not take the plea. Careless is a very very serious charge so you do not want to mess it up if you go to trial. Although personally my opinion is that you would not have a very good chance of winning, unless the witness does not show up. Maybe a really good lawyer could get her off, but it does not look good. So you would be relying a 50/50 chance of the witness not showing up.

If failed to stay in marked lane is only a MINOR or a MAJOR from insurance standpoint, then you may want to consider taking the plea deal to avoid the careless charge. This would (i) avoid the suspension because it is only 3 points and (ii) avoid huge insurance increase. I only recommend taking the plea deal IF the charge you are pleading to is only a MINOR or MAJOR for insurance purposes. My opinion is that it is probably a MINOR, but only your insurance company can confirm this for you. So most likely (after checking with your insurance company) I would probably think you will be way better off to take the plea deal and go to trial for the careless charge.

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


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:45 pm 
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Wish I had the time when making the decision on the spot during the early resolution meeting. I might have taken the plea deal thinking of it. But my insurance company isn't able to tell me if failing to remain in the marked line is a serious offence or minor. I will try to act like a new customer and get a new insurance quote. Will see if this approach works.

The procecutor didn't advise how long the plea deal is available for. Can I go back before the trial to accept the offered plea deal. Or is it usually a in the spot kind of offer ?


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:15 pm 
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They will most likely (no guarantees) still offer you the deal.

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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:37 pm 
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I actually don't think they'll give you another offer at trial. If you make them go through with preparing for the case, calling the officer and wasting the witness' time (to come to court), they aren't going to give you anything. Remember, there are included offences in careless driving, so even if they can't prove careless (which I think it not going to be hard for them in your wife's case!), they will likely get a conviction on something else.

So, if you DO want to take the deal, then you better write the prosecutor's office immediately and tell them you want to plead to the offer they made. Your wife can then plead guilty at her trial date and they won't have to call in any witnesses. The longer you wait the less likely the offer will be given. I was actually surprised they made you an offer at all!


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:10 am 
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So it seems my wife should have taken the deal, as they could still charge her with careless. What is the process to go and accept the deal now? Do I file an acceptance or something?


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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:19 am 
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Well even now they do not HAVE to give you the deal. If you left the meeting with the prosecutor on fairly good terms though, then they will probably still offer it to you.

You should call the prosecutors officer and try to speak with prosecutor directly to say you would be willing to accept the offer, or at least leave them a message. You could also fax something to them as well to say you are willing to accept it. You will still have to show up for the trial date anyways, so if you dont hear back, then hopefully they will be in a good mood and still offer it to you.

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Re: Prep for early resolution meeting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:03 pm 
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I am here at the provincial offence office to meet up with the procecutor. Planning to accept their offer. Hopefully the offer is still valid. Will update the outcome


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