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Failed to stop for a school bus - what are my chances?
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:52 am 
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I recently got a ticket for failing to stop for a school bus. It happened on a 2-lane countryside road. I was heading south and the bus was going north. I didn't see the flashing light, and I didn't see the stop sign arm come out either. I was going about 55 - 60 km/h at the time in an 80 km/h zone, so no speeding was involved.

Apparently there was a patrol car right behind me and the officer saw me do it and pulled me over within minutes. I had four passengers in the car who also said that they didn't see the bus and its lights/stop sign but it's my word against the police officer's so it probably doesn't help.

I only have a G2 license because I'm from Europe and moved to Canada a couple years ago. They didn't let me exchange my EU license to a full Ontario license even though Canada is supposed to have signed a convention with all EU countries. I have had a completely clean driving record in Europe for 15 years and a clean record in Canada, too, ever since I got my G2 a bit over 2 years ago.

I understand the seriousness of the incident and recognize that it's extremely important to stop for school buses when they are stopping. But the officer gave me a $490 ticket and 6 demerit points. It's not the money so much but the points that I'm concerned about. I don't want this to ruin my driving record and I don't want to get my license, which was so difficult to get in the first place, to be suspended because of this. It was my mistake, but no one got hurt and there was nothing else I did wrong - I wasn't speeding etc. So I want to fight this and have contacted a paralegal.

Has anybody here had a similar case? What do you think are my chances? Also, I'm going to be moving out of Canada for a year very soon and wonder if I hire a person to represent me in court, do I still need to appear there myself or can the person representing me handle it completely without me?

Thanks for your help and advice!


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 10:24 pm 
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You don't have to be there at all if you hire a paralegal. Your chances...depends on the evidence the officer is going to present. If he is going to say that the arm was out and the light was flashing...probably not good.

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 11:22 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, ON
Quote:
if I hire a person to represent me in court, do I still need to appear there myself or can the person representing me handle it completely without me?


Quote:
You don't have to be there at all if you hire a paralegal. Your chances...depends on the evidence the officer is going to present. If he is going to say that the arm was out and the light was flashing...probably not good.


With respect to Simon Borys, if you do not go to court or no evidence for your defence is provided at trial, chances are YOU WILL BE CONVICTED. The police officer is but just one witness and most likely, the bus driver will give evidence and I have not a single doubt their evidence will be that you failed to comply with s. 175(11) of the HTA. I believe that your presence or lack of it, will affect the perception of the court. Do all justices of the peace understand R. v. W.(D.)?

If you or your witnesses do not plan to attend at your trial, it would be useless to hire a representative.

Your chances of prevailing depend on many factors, one of which and perhaps the most important, the quality of you defence, that is if you are properly represented by an experienced paralegal/solicitor litigator.

Review s. 175 carefully and particularly sub-section (11). Get disclosure and review it with an experienced paralegal/solicitor.

You will have to prove that the bus driver did not comply with the HTA or that the bus' lights and/or stop sign were not visible, rather than you did not see them

Cheers.


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Biron wrote:
If you or your witnesses do not plan to attend at your trial, it would be useless to hire a representative.


Not at all. The purpose of hiring a licenced representative to take the issue to trial is to ensure that the crown can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, not to "get the person off". The representative can ensure the crown does this with or without the defendant present.

The defendant may want to appear to give evidence in their defence, but I wouldn't say this is a prerequisite to hiring a representative.

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NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.


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