The other day I received two tickets: the first for failing to stop at a stop sign [136 (1)], and the second for failing to stop at a red light [144 (18)]. What happened was that while driving in Halton region, I came to a "rolling stop" at a stop sign, and then came to a "rolling stop" at the red light at the next intersection, before turning right (and judging that the road was sufficiently clear to do so).
When I was pulled over (it was an unmarked police car) and when the officer asked me if there was any reason I was unable to stop at these intersections, I stated that "I should have stopped", and apologized. After handing me the tickets, he seemed to make a point of highlighting Option 3 (the option to plead not guilty and request a trial), and stated that I should "read it and understand it". After reading some of the threads in these forums, I am aware that this may just be standard practice, and not a thinly veiled attempt to suggest that the officer would not contest the charges in court, as I initially had hoped.
At this point, I am concerned about how the demerit points will affect my insurance (each of these offences is 3 points, for a total of 6 for both). On the other hand, if I am honest with myself, I think I probably deserved the tickets as I did fail to come to a complete stop on both occasions, and anyway I don't know how I would contest the charges in court, especially since I already essentially admitted to the offenses when the officer questioned me. Also, I was a little surprised to discover that the red light ticket fails to indicate that the infraction occurred at an intersection where I turned right, but I have since reviewed the HTA and see that this would not have changed the offense code anyway.
I have canvassed paralegal services, and their rates are fairly high (was quoted about $400, with no guarantee to win), and I am not sure whether I want to spend that much money if the chances to reduce the demerit points are not good -- besides, I am already on the hook for $435 ($110 for the stop sign ticket, $325 for the red light ticket), a hefty amount.
My questions are as follows:
1) Am I correct in assuming that the police officer would still likely appear in court if I chose the option to plead not guilty, despite his encouragement to review Option 3?
2) How much could the fine be reduced if I go for Option 2? Also, if I go for Option 2, am I correct in assuming that the demerit points would not be reduced?
3) Would paralegal services be helpful in this case?
4) Is it advisable to contact my insurance company to inquire about how much my premium will increase?
5) Are there any other ways to reduce the fine or the demerit points that I have not considered? Any other tips?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.