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Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:57 am 
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Hello,

I was charged a few weeks ago for Careless Driving. It was rainy and slippery, I was driving what seemed slowly around a corner and the person was coming around the corner fast and going over the line and coming in my lane, so I slammed on my brakes because I didn't know if he would stay in my lane or come in further or what, and my vehicle ends up sliding because of the slippery road, and the vehicles ended up hitting, the officer believes that it was me who was going too fast as the cars were in his lane after the accident, also made some really biased comments about age which I didn't like, saying "As you get older you'll learn to drive slower" even after I told him that I was driving slowly (I'm in my late 20's, other person looked in their 50's), I really didn't like that and he didn't even really talk to me or get my statement until he had let the other driver go completely, as if he didn't care about my side of the story before determining blame and the ticket (he should have at least heard both sides first before letting the other guy go I thought?). I don't like this situation one bit, this feels like an unfortunate accident but I do not feel that I was driving carelessly as I was very aware of my speed and surroundings and was in the process of taking precaution to try to avoid an accident that I felt he was about to cause, but the car ends up sliding even with me going slow and him being the fast one that I saw coming in my lane.

However, the person in the other vehicle was the only witness (there were no external witnesses) lives 700km away in the States. Being the only witness, does he have to show up to court, or is his written statement enough? Also, in your experience, will someone make a 700km trip to a different country to testify in a trial like this? What is the probability? 5%? 50%? 90%?

Also when I meet with the prosecutor, do you think they will reduce ticket to a lesser charge (and should I accept a lesser charge) or will I have to fight this in court? Should I hire one of those places that fights tickets for you? How much do they typically cost to defend a Careless Driving charge like this?

Sorry for so many questions, I never thought I would be in a situation like this and I've been doing some reading but it all seems so overwhelming. Any answers or advice or input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:42 am 
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To my knowledge, in order to secure a conviction, the witness and the officer need to testify at the trial. So if the witness or officer (or both) don't show up, charges will be dropped.

The next bit of my post is my pure thinking, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.

In my opinion, no person will drive across a border for a 1 day trial. That's why majority of people who get tickets in the states pay it on the spot. It'll be too much of a hassle to arrive for the trial. I don't even they can be summoned to court, since an officer needs to deliver the subpoena in person. I highly doubt any officer is willing to go across the border to do so. The other thing could be (and yes this is illegal, but I know people who do this) they could be living in Ontario, but have plates from the states (cheaper registration and insurance). My friend's cousin has been living here for about 8 years now, still has Florida plates on his car, so that could be an option. Anyways, in my opinion, it would be a slim chance that the other party will be in attendance for the trial.


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:38 pm 
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UnluckyDuck wrote:
To my knowledge, in order to secure a conviction, the witness and the officer need to testify at the trial. So if the witness or officer (or both) don't show up, charges will be dropped.

The next bit of my post is my pure thinking, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.

In my opinion, no person will drive across a border for a 1 day trial. That's why majority of people who get tickets in the states pay it on the spot. It'll be too much of a hassle to arrive for the trial. I don't even they can be summoned to court, since an officer needs to deliver the subpoena in person. I highly doubt any officer is willing to go across the border to do so. The other thing could be (and yes this is illegal, but I know people who do this) they could be living in Ontario, but have plates from the states (cheaper registration and insurance). My friend's cousin has been living here for about 8 years now, still has Florida plates on his car, so that could be an option. Anyways, in my opinion, it would be a slim chance that the other party will be in attendance for the trial.

Thanks for the reply, that is great news to hear and puts me a bit at ease.

He did have an American auto insurance and was traveling with a group of people from the States for a sports tournament (though none of the other cars were present during accident or to give a witness statement, they drove up to the scene afterwards) so I am fairly confident that he is not a Canadian citizen, but that was interesting to consider.

I hear that there's a lot of suing in the States for compensation claims, and he got out of car saying his neck hurt. Could this increase his desire to travel across the border to testify or does my careless driving charge have absolutely nothing to do with him receiving more or less compensation from his insurance company since the accident occurred in Canada? Just wondering if this could be some extra incentive for him to travel across the border if they determine me to be at fault and he was trying to get more money?


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:34 pm 
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Yes both the officer AND the witness MUST be at the trial in order for you to be convicted. If either is not there, then they must drop the charge.

If the other person is from the US, there is a good chance they will not show up to the trial, which means there is a good chance that the charge will get dropped.

I would plead Not Guilty and request a trial with the officer present. Once you get the Notice of Trial, you can then ask for disclosure (officers notes AND witness statements). Once you get the them, blank out personal/officer info and scan and post here for us to review.

The prosecutor may or may not offer you a reduced charge on the trial date. If the police officer AND the other driver at the trial then you DO want to take the plea deal because if it went to trial, you would most likely lose unless you have a good lawyer.

The careless charge has nothing to do with insurance claim, so he does not have to testify at your trial but can still pursue inusrance for compensation.

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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:40 am 
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Whose witness would he be? If the crown doesn't need/want to use him then the defendant is in a tough spot isn't he?


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:46 am 
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It seems to me that you could defend yourself using the damage to the vehicles as evidence.

Did you take pictures and or would you be relying on the police photos?
Did the police take photos?
Was this a left hand corner or a right hand corner?
What is your vehicle?
What is the other vehicle?


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:57 am 
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They must have a witness that SAW the event testify. They can not use the witness statement. The person themselves must show up to tell their story.

The police officer is there to say that they checked id and took report and issued ticket, but if the officer did not witness the event, then they can not testify to that.

If the officer saw the event then they do not need another witness, but if the officer did not see the event then they must have another witness that saw it.

Now there is the possibility that they try to use the OP to testify against themselves, but they can just choose to not testify against themselves and then they have no case and must drop the charge.

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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:01 am 
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[quote="jsherk"]They must have a witness that SAW the event testify. They can not use the witness statement. The person themselves must show up to tell their story.

The police officer is there to say that they checked id and took report and issued ticket, but if the officer did not witness the event, then they can not testify to that.

If the officer saw the event then they do not need another witness, but if the officer did not see the event then they must have another witness that saw it.

Now there is the possibility that they try to use the OP to testify against themselves, but they can just choose to not testify against themselves and then they have no case and must drop the charge.[/quote
I see. It looks good for the OP then


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:32 am 
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jsherk wrote:
Yes both the officer AND the witness MUST be at the trial in order for you to be convicted. If either is not there, then they must drop the charge.

If the other person is from the US, there is a good chance they will not show up to the trial, which means there is a good chance that the charge will get dropped.

I would plead Not Guilty and request a trial with the officer present. Once you get the Notice of Trial, you can then ask for disclosure (officers notes AND witness statements). Once you get the them, blank out personal/officer info and scan and post here for us to review.

The prosecutor may or may not offer you a reduced charge on the trial date. If the police officer AND the other driver at the trial then you DO want to take the plea deal because if it went to trial, you would most likely lose unless you have a good lawyer.

The careless charge has nothing to do with insurance claim, so he does not have to testify at your trial but can still pursue inusrance for compensation.

Thanks everyone. I got disclosure so I will post it here (However, in my disclosure request I said typed version of any hand written notes and they provided no typed version, they are hard to read so I am going to continue trying to get a typed version). I'll post the final 2 files in next post since 3 is maximum for one post.

A couple things to comment on since there are things in the notes that don't make sense:

1) Officer said point of impact was 4m into his lane, then changed it to 3m in the accident report, but even 3m is impossible given the witness's statement. The entire road is 8.6m across with the officer's measurement, however my lane has a solid line bike lane, and his lane does not, so there is much less than 4.3m on his lane. I have went back to the accident place, and when a car is pressed against the curb at accident location, there is approximately 1 meter between the car and the middle line. His lane is very narrow. Witness reported that it was my car that pushed his car over the curb, but under that circumstance, the MAXIMUM point of impact would be 1 meter or less in his lane.

2) On officer's notes, the information is incorrect. He put that there are 2 lanes in each side of the road, but there is only 1 lane (plus the bike lane on my side). He also put that my lane's posted speed was 30 but the other person's posted speed was 50, but this is also not true, both lanes had a yellow posted speed of 30 (and other driver admits he was going 40km/h).

3) Officer did not sign the collision statement or put his name or anything, does this mean anything? Is this still admissable in court since he did not sign it or anything?

4) Witness says I hit him "hard enough to push his car over the curb and into the rock wall". I guess this is what they will use to try to prove that I was going fast even though I was not. He was travelling 40km/h and says he swirved to his right. He would have gone over the curb and into the wall even if there was no collision. There were no airbags deployed even though my car had an airbag that was recently serviced and ensured to be working because of a Toyota Recall, no seatbelt mark across the chest (I can get my doctor's report for proof), my car was drivable after the incident and didn't need to be towed, me and my dad drove it home to my house. I have looked up crash test videos of cars hitting at 30km/h, the cars get so pressed in at the front and so squished, my car was nowhere near that level of damage.

Here is a google maps picture of the corner and street, accident happened just beyond the wooden pole:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.1996741, ... 312!8i6656


Attachments:
Officer's Notes.jpg
Officer's Notes.jpg [ 242.83 KiB | Viewed 158 times ]
Witness Statement 1.jpg
Witness Statement 1.jpg [ 250.01 KiB | Viewed 158 times ]
Collision Statement.jpg
Collision Statement.jpg [ 47.25 KiB | Viewed 158 times ]


Last edited by SockMuffin on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:01 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:34 am 
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Here's the 2nd part of the witness's statement and my statement.


Attachments:
My Statement.jpg
My Statement.jpg [ 222.35 KiB | Viewed 158 times ]
Witness Statement 2.jpg
Witness Statement 2.jpg [ 236.73 KiB | Viewed 158 times ]
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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:49 am 
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Just a quick one - the report is not saying that there were 2 lanes in each direction with different speed limits. R1 is the road you were both on and has 2 lanes, one in each direction with a 30km limit for both. R2 is the road that intersects your road. It also has 2 lanes and the speed limit is 50.

They are marked on the diagram R1 and R2

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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:01 am 
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argyll wrote:
Just a quick one - the report is not saying that there were 2 lanes in each direction with different speed limits. R1 is the road you were both on and has 2 lanes, one in each direction with a 30km limit for both. R2 is the road that intersects your road. It also has 2 lanes and the speed limit is 50.

They are marked on the diagram R1 and R2

Oh that makes sense, I thought it was talking about each of the lanes, I think I mistook it for V1 and V2. Although when I look at it now, it should say Max Speed 50 and Advisory 30, but it just says Max Speed 30.


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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:43 am 
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Did you take pictures at the scene of the vehicles and the damage?

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Re: Careless Driving - Witness lives 700km away?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:05 pm 
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Plus he also said the point of impact was 3 (or 4) metres north of the South curb so close to the centre line.

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