I'll try and make this brief and to the point.
Last March I was convicted for careless driving in Dryden Ont.
I live in Halton region.
Through the past year I was seriously injured in an accident (not my fault).
A close family member was diagnosed with cancer and has since passed away.
Now that I am back focused on my life and future, is it possible to appeal this ticket 1 year later.
As a professional driver my career depends on my license.
Any opinions would be appreciated.
To appeal a conviction, you need to show some type of error in law at the original trial. Might be best to consult with a paralegal to see if you have grounds to do so. Even if you do it might be hard since so much time has passed. Typically the longer you wait the harder it is.
It's hard to answer without all the details surrounding the circumstances of that ticket, and what happened at trial (i.e., default conviction for failure to appear, etc..)
Assuming that there was no criminal code components during that charge at the time of the ticket/conviction, I think you may have a good chance to have this appealed.
Afterall you are self-represented, and that is a valid excuse before the court for making some mistakes here and there. 2nd, there is a possibility to appeal after the limitation period, you would have to ask for an exception. I've heard of cases (serious criminal matters) where the consent of the Attorney General was sought several years later (in some cases 40+ years after the conviction) based on new evidence (for example: DNA evidence), so the possibility in law is there.
IMHO I think you should give it a try, nothing to lose, just file a leave to appeal motion with the court asking to appeal the case. You will be in front of a judge (or Justice depends on your court) and you will have to argue why should you be allowed to appeal the case this late.
Your grounds are pretty much what you described:
1. You are self-represented, have no experience didn't even know what steps to take or how long you have to appeal
2. This damages your entire career and you honestly feel you have a valid defence against the charge that should compel the higher court to quash the conviction if this appeal is allowed.
3. The personal circumstances, caring for a close relative that only had you to care for because others are unavailable, subsequently he/she died of cancer but at least you extended them the duty of care and courtesy that they deserve. (the word courtesy here is to send a message to the Judge that they should extend them the same courtesy by allowing this appeal)
4. Your personal Health condition: you were seriously injurged and unable to even carry out your regular day-to-day duties, let alone go to court, prepare a serious and strong legal defence, research case law and defend this charge properly.
5. Any other grounds you could think of.
Don't hesitate to back up your case with as much evidence as you could, if you coud present some medical records of yours, the relative, affidavit from your wife or anyone with you who could attest to your psychological/physical state at the time that didn't allow you to defend this (or defend it properly). If you had a lawyer/paralegal, you can always use the ground of ineffective use of counsel saying they didn't give you proper advice.
The Judge does have that jurisdiction to allow the appeal, that's why you file this motion in court. If you convince the judge that there are valid justifications for you not defending this properly before, and that the interest of justice demands that you are given the chance to appeal then the appeal may most likely be allowed.
If the judge isn't 100% convinced, he/she might delve into the details of your appeal (i.e., your grounds, error in law, fact, what was missing from the defence, etc..) so be prepared with that information if this happened.
You might research case laws where some leave to appeal after the limitation period were allowed (check canlii.com).
Finally, good luck and hope you can get back on your feet quickly.
skywalker12 you certainly make this sound optimistic.
And no I did not appear for court due to another family emergency.
I was in the starting procedure to appeal conviction last year when I was involved in a vehicle accident, laying me up for,well till now.
Followed by the news at Xmas of another major family issue mentioned above.
So all this was put on back burner.
Now that reality is setting in I really would like to resolve this careless driving conviction if possible.
Oh. And the reason for the charge is I dodged a moose near Dryden and ran off the road. Because I missed the moose no proof.
Anyhow I appreciate the replies above.
I will definately be persueing some kind of defense on this.
Have a great weekend.
It might not be best in my opinion to say that this was placed on the back burner for a while, better to phrase it as it has always been your intention to complete the appeal process, and it was all those urgencies that were preventing you from doing so as they were quite serious.
Given it was a default conviction, you might want to try to apply for a "reoppening" first. Go to court, see a Justice of the Peace and ask for a reopening. It's an informal meeting where you ask for your chance to have the trial, since there was no trial per se due to your absence. You may find this quicker and more efficient. You just have to sob a little, and show the JP that your job and bread-winning is on the line and that you did nothing wrong and planned to show it to the court but all those serious circumstances didn't allow you to. You may be surprised that he would allow it to be reopened. Legally that is not an appeal, he will simply order the file reopened and a trial scheduled (the trial that you didn't show up for).
If that failed, then I would file the motion for leave to appeal that I stated before.
Just a minor correction of semantics: When I was speaking about "allowing the appeal" above, I meant "allowing the appeal to proceed". After that you argue your appeal and it could be allowed on the merits (means the conviction is quashed an the case is over). However, knowing that you dind't show up for court, it might be easier to just ask for the order "returning the matter to court for trial".
Hope this helps. You too have a great weekend.
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