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Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 12:06 pm 
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I work in a medical center whose parking lot is only accessible through a residential neighbourhood. This neighbourhood has a lot of restrictions on turns during rush hour, including a very convenient turn onto a main street between 4-6pm.

Of course everyone who works there makes that turn constantly... It's just the most convenient way to get home. Rush hour traffic is pretty bad though so people usually only manage to make the turn when there's a break in it.

Well I'm no exception and usually make that "illegal" right turn on the way home. Today after 2 years of working there, I finally got unlucky.

I was first up to the plate right around 5pm, there was a break in the rush hour traffic so the road was absolutely clear, made the turn and ran right into a police trap around the next corner... turns out a resident had complained and he was sent to hide in the bushes and ticket drivers making that turn. There were at least two people pulled over ahead of me and he pulled over 2-3 other people behind me who made the turn at the same time.

I'm not at all concerned about the fine or the demerit points... it's the insurance that will screw me over. Is there any realistic way of bargaining this down to a by law offence or something that won't show up on my driving record?

Thanks all for your advice.


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:09 pm 
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You might get a plea deal to some lesser charge, but it would still be some kind of traffic violation and still affect your insurance.

I would plead NOT GUILTY and request a trial with the officer(s) present. Once you get your Notice of Trial with the trial date on it, you can then request disclosure (copy of notes of all officers involved). Once you get disclosure scan and post it here with personal info blocked out. You could also scan and post the ticket with personal info blocked out and we can check for fatal errors.

Was there more than one officer involved (one watching for people making the turn and another pulling them over and writing tickets)?

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:22 pm 
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jsherk wrote:
You might get a plea deal to some lesser charge, but it would still be some kind of traffic violation and still affect your insurance.

I would plead NOT GUILTY and request a trial with the officer(s) present. Once you get your Notice of Trial with the trial date on it, you can then request disclosure (copy of notes of all officers involved). Once you get disclosure scan and post it here with personal info blocked out. You could also scan and post the ticket with personal info blocked out and we can check for fatal errors.

Was there more than one officer involved (one watching for people making the turn and another pulling them over and writing tickets)?


As far as I could tell, there was only one officer. After the "illegal" turn there's one traffic-light intersection after ~40m, and then a bus bay after that. The cop was in one of those very lightly marked police cars pulled into the bus bay. After I made the turn I signaled and switched over to the left lane because the way was clear. He walked out into the middle of the street from the bus bay and pulled me over into it.

He said three things (in addition to noting the resident complained)
a) the conversation was being recorded. One thing that i later realized might hurt my case is that I apologized (though it's not strictly admission of fault, i guess...)
b) that making the right turn during the time was illegal and that there are two signs posted to this extent
c) if i request a trial and he doesn't show up the ticket will be thrown out.

Do you think the fact that the sign is overwhelmingly unenforced could be used as a defence to get the ticket thrown out or at least reduced to a non-HTA offence? I will post the ticket as soon as I can.


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 2:39 pm 
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HMRCAF wrote:
Do you think the fact that the sign is overwhelmingly unenforced could be used as a defence to get the ticket thrown out or at least reduced to a non-HTA offence?


No! Being unenforced is completely irrelevent and won't help you at all. The prosecutor may offer you plea deal to some lesser charge, but usually it will still be an HTA offence that will still affect your insurance.

Your best bet is to review the officers notes and then decide whether to just plead guilty and pay it, or to fight it.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by pleading not guilty and requesting disclosure.

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 6:28 pm 
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jsherk wrote:
HMRCAF wrote:
Do you think the fact that the sign is overwhelmingly unenforced could be used as a defence to get the ticket thrown out or at least reduced to a non-HTA offence?


No! Being unenforced is completely irrelevent and won't help you at all. The prosecutor may offer you plea deal to some lesser charge, but usually it will still be an HTA offence that will still affect your insurance.

Your best bet is to review the officers notes and then decide whether to just plead guilty and pay it, or to fight it.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by pleading not guilty and requesting disclosure.


I am definitely pleading not guilty. At first I am going to have an early meeting with the prosecutor, but if they can't knock it down to a municipal offence then I will go to court and request disclosure.

Here is the ticket.
http://i.imgur.com/0frBHt0.jpg
One thing else to note is that I was carrying an "old" driver's license which I showed the officer, by which I mean I changed the address but hadn't received the new one yet. I forgot to show him the piece of paper that showed my new address because I was a bit frazzled about being stopped. I will inform the court of my new address when I go to submit my early resolution meeting.

I have another question, will this ticket affect my ability to travel internationally?


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:13 pm 
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Tickets like this one are Provincial Offences and are NOT Criminal Offences so no they do affect your ability to travel.

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
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Location: Ontario
Just be aware that prohibited turns are one of the few bylaw offences that can actually appear on your driving abstract and still result in demerit points being applied to your licence. Many posters have reported that municipalities don't typically notify the MTO of convictions for these offences, but just be aware of the possibility.


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 10:13 am 
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Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

I went back to the intersection to take another look at the sign. I noticed that it was missing two components:
a "dash" between 4pm and 6pm was not present
and the "dash" between Mon - Fri was covered up by a bolt.
Could I use these facts to have the sign declared invalid?
Here is a google street view image of the sign in question.
Image
And here is the link to the regulation on "prohibited right turns"
Image


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 12:36 pm 
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I think you'd be hard pushed to argue that you were not aware what this sign meant.

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:31 pm 
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Ok, my trial is in a week and I think I have a pretty decent defense, I'll post it a bit later but hopefully for now someone can help me confirm the following:

Can I argue that failing to obey a sign is strict liability in the case that the sign itself is misleading?


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:43 pm 
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I don't think that misleading is what you need to look for. You need to get the justice to agree that the sign doesn't match the requirements of the regulation. If they do then the sign is invalid. Personally I don't see it but keep us posted.

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:04 pm 
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Well, specifically my argument is that either a) the sign is invalid since it lacks every element of a prohibited right turn sign
Or b) if the sign is valid then it only prohibits turns at 4pm and 6pm, not between the two, as there is no dash which typically signifies a range of times on official signage.

I'm also planning to argue that
- im not familiar with the area as I'm only there for a summer job
- I don't usually take that route home from work
- I saw many other cars making the right turn and seeing that along with the sign lacking the dash made me assume that it was in fact legal to make the turn at that time

I had a brief chance to speak with the prosecutor. She asked if I made the turn in question buti refused to comment. I mentioned that there may have been an issue with the sign that made it invalid. She said that "valid" wasn't a legal term and that the sign could have been written in crayon on cardboard and it would still be a legally applicable sign.

Can anyone comment as to how true this is? I have three copies of a photo of the sign taken after I was ticketed, I also have a printout of a Google maps screenshot showing the sign was like that even before I was ticketed.

Thank you all for your advice so far.


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:17 pm 
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With the same logic, you could argue that it applies only on Monday and only on Friday as well.

However I do not see anything in that regulation that says the dash has be there. The "Text Alternative" at the bottom specifically says it is only there for convenience and does not form part of the officical law.

It certainly won't hurt to make your argument, although I think you will have a very hard time convincing the JP.

Did you get dicslosure of officers notes yet?

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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:53 pm 
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Yes, I could also argue that, but I don't think I will unless I have to.
It doesn't say the dash has to be there but the image itself forms part of the law, and typically, when a range of times is provided on official signs there's a dash to signify it, and when there is a list of times, there is no dash. I could argue that the sign could be interpreted in that way.

If all else fails I could try to bring up the French Language Services Act to claim the sign is invalid, but I think that would be even weaker.

I have the disclosure here.
http://i.imgur.com/byjHWZt.jpg
The only thing suspect in it is that the officer claims he could see both signs from his location but I think that's impossible. The signs are located in the red circles on the image below and the officer was in the area circled in orange:
http://i.imgur.com/4qTZroj.jpg
There's another page but that just has accurate information on my vehicle (license plate, make, missing model year though) and "Additional Information": Motor Vehicle Involved Y, Collision Involved N, Witnesses N, MMQ Book Notes w/ Evidence N, No in car video or audio recordings, no related tickets.

Do you think, in this case, I'd be able to argue for a charge to be laid under Toronto Municipal Code Article 5, Section 950-504?
The code reads
When official signs to that effect are displayed, no person shall in any intersection or portion of highway set out in Schedule XXIII in § 950-1322, while proceeding in the
direction or emerging from a property set out in Schedule XXIII, turn a vehicle in the direction set out in Schedule XXIII, during the times and/or days set out in Schedule XXIII
The relevant portion of Schedule XXIII is:
Bayview Avenue and Glenvale Boulevard, Westbound, Right Turn Prohibited:
7:00 a.m.to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mon. to Fri. except Public Holidays (buses excepted)

I could argue that this is the bylaw that actually does prohibit the turn at this intersection in the range of times between 4pm and 6pm and thus I should be charged under the TMC instead of the HTA. And if I understand correctly, insurance companies can't use bylaw offenses to raise your rates.


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Re: Disobey Sign: Illegal Right Turn
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:52 pm 
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The officers notes about being able to see both signs from his viewpoint is irrelevent because he says he checked the signs were there both before and after enforcement. So as long as he could see your vehicle turn onto Bayview, that is all that really matters.

Whats the actual charge you were charged with?

To argue the charge be made under TMC instead, would be something you would do before hand when trying to make a plea deal with the prosecutor.

I like to fight everything, so I do encourage you take it as far as you can. However, short of the officer not showing up, I do not think you will win. So there is of course value in going to court and getting more comfortable making arguments, but given the high probability of losing, a deal to TMC might be a better choice.

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