Hello everyone, I have a traffic court date coming up and I'm deciding if I should fight the ticket or pay it.
Here's what happened: I was driving between 110km/h and 115km/h on a 100km/hr limit highway (I know, I'm a rebel). The highway was busy but not congested and I was (unsurprisingly given my speed) basically within the flow of traffic. I was in the left lane. It was dusk and when I saw the officer's lights behind me I assumed the emergency vehicle (I thought it was an ambulance...I didn't realize how big OPP cruisers are) wanted to pass me as I was moving basically the same speed as the two vehicles (one in front of the other) in the right lane (so I was blocking any faster vehicles from passing as I was passing the two on the right quite slowly, not wanting to exceed 15 over as a general rule). So I changed lanes and that was when I realized that it was a) a police cruiser and not an ambulance and b) he wasn't charging ahead so I guess he wanted me to pull over.
The officer didn't mention anything about the time it took me to pull over (I estimate at least 30 seconds to a minute from when his lights went on), so that's good. But he said his partner clocked me going at 129km/hr (there was no way I was going that fast), but served me a reduced ticket of only 110km/hr, without stating the reason why (possibly relevant: I have a completely clean record). It should go without saying that if I go to court and lose I eat the fine for the 129km/hr infraction (and points...though they don't matter because i won't get 6-12 more for hearing/suspension). I didn't argue with the officer about the speed at the time because I was pretty shell-shocked.
I'm in a tricky spot because while I believe I could, on cross examining the officer, create sufficient doubt I was traveling at 129km/hr, there is really no way (even if I was willing to lie in court) that I could argue I wasn't going above the limit (since EVERYONE DOES). I'd just pay the $40 for 10 over but it'll kill my insurance (my current company will cancel, it's a company plan and they don't tolerate ANY convictions), and I'd be looking at my rates going up by about $50 a month with the cheapest provider I can find with a minor conviction...$1800 more over 3 years than my current rate. So other than the officer not showing up, I don't think I have a whole lot of hope with this one, except one possible defense:
I requested disclosure, the first request was likely pre-prepared as it came very fast and ignored most of my requests. I sent a second request and most of what I requested was presented. Enough was sent that any omissions could be reasonably interpreted by me as indication of their non-existence (such as: are there any other witnesses, if so what will they stay, and does the crown have any other information that will incriminate or exonerate me).
Here's my possible out: I have a copy of the police officer's notes, the page from the lidar manual describing the tests involved, and a typed copy of the officer's notes (from the second request). The lidar manual clearly indicates that the testing must be completed by the officer prior to enforcement and at the end of the officer's tour of duty. The notes provided by the officer show that the lidar was tested at the beginning of his shift, but no notes from the end of his shift are provided to show if it was tested at the end of shift or not. Further, the officer who served me the ticket was not the officer who actually used the lidar unit that night (this information is in the notes and the witness will stay statement from the officer who served my ticket). So my thought is I can mount a defense that the officer has no proof the device was tested after his shift, and without proof that the device was tested after the shift we have no way to know if the reading was accurate (which it wasn't, but that's my word against his). Here is my question: If the officer/prosecutor was to present evidence from the officer's notes showing the device was tested at the end of his shift, since this information is not in my disclosure, would I be able to then request a stay of charges based on incomplete disclosure, or is it too late once the trial has started?
As an aside, I am aware that in the above scenario it's possible the prosecutor might request the JP just adjourn my case until a later date now that I have the full disclosure. I requested a trial (option 3) but was send a letter for option 2 (plea bargain). I took a day off of work and drove 1hr to the courthouse (and 1hr home afterwords) for the option 2, and the worst bit was the prosecutor didn't/couldn't offer me a deal because the officer had already reduced my ticket. So the prosecutor straight up cost me $25 in gas, an afternoon, and a day's worth of lost wages for no real reason. Assuming the JP was inclined to give the prosecution an adjournment I would leverage this previous prejudice and argue that for such a minor charge 2 days of lost wages and 2 days of time, not to mention 4 hours of commuting, is too much and the only reasonable response is a stay of the charge.
So in summary: If I fight it and beat the conviction (one way or the other), then it costs me only 1 day's lost wages and close to a half tank of gas. If I just pay the $40 ticket now, I save the wages for the day and gas, but will pay $50/month extra for 3 years and have a conviction on my record. But if I fight it and lose, then not only do I have the extra $50/month on my insurance but my fine will be nearly $200 instead of $40, and I lose a day's wages and almost a half tank of gas. But the most likely scenario is that the officer shows up (it's Peterborough...), and says he's sure the other officer tested the device at the end of his shift. In that case my only argument is that information wasn't in my disclosure contrary to (I believe) case law. Is this argument likely to work?
Thanks in advance