bumping the back of a cop's wife's car = careless driving

Milena
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bumping the back of a cop's wife's car = careless driving

Unread post by Milena on

I was waiting at a red light in the afternoon rush hour on Dundas Steet (etobicoke). I drive a Toyota Echo. The car in front of me is a Toyota Highlander. I was maybe 1m away from the rear bumper. I was changing a song on my iPod, and looking down. I saw out of the corner of my eye that the lane next to mine had started to move forward. I put my foot on the gas, and looked up, saw the car in front of me was still not moving, hit the brake, too late, and bumped the back of the Highlander.

Again, to clarify, my front bumper was about 1m away from the rear bumper of the Highlander, and we were both stopped. I went forward and hit the car. there was like a line up of cars behind me.

So this woman comes out of the Highlander, I swear to god, the very first thing she says is "you hit me really hard, my back hurts, I need your insurance policy number". And i'm like, "OK, i'm sorry, let's pull over first?"

So we pull over, and she comes out of the car and says "you really walloped me there, you hit me really hard. I'm in a lot of pain." of course, i'm apologizing, I feel horrible. I get out my policy info, and she's taking it down, along with three contact phone numbers of mine. She does not give me ANYTHING. She said that she had to leave, because her son was sick, and was just coming home... etc etc. the woman was hysterical. She also mentions that she just finished some physiotherapy for some other problem she had. There was obviously something wrong with her beyond getting hit by my Echo. So she tells me that she is going to contact me. She also mentions somewhere in the conversation that her husband is a police officer. She leaves, without giving me any of her information, not even a phone number.

There was absolutely NO damage to either car. None at all. And did I mention her car is 2x heavier than mine? What injuries could she have possibly sustained? Really?

I get home 25 minutes later. Within 5 minutes, I get a call from a police officer saying that I've been charged with careless driving and that I need to come to the police station and give a statement. Obviously, I'm completely floored, aghast that I have been called by the police, I'm pretty much thinking that I'm a criminal.

So I go down there, and the officer is a very nice young woman. She says that because the woman is claiming she was injured, it is automatically a careless driving charge, no matter what the damage to the cars is. She tells me that I can argue it down to a 2 point deduction instead of 6 points. This doesn't make me feel much better, since I don't think I should be charged with anything. Also, I'm fined $320.

here is what I think of this whole thing, and I would appreciate any input or advice:
1) The fact that she immediately said that her back hurt is suspicious to me. Doesn't make any sense. My car is a lot smaller, and I don't believe that any acceleration for 1m that my little car could have produced could possibly have rocked that Highlander enough to cause her an INJURY. that she immediately felt. or ever felt. christ.

2) There was never any claim made to my insurance about her injury. I have no proof that she was injured at all. It is just because she SAID that to the officer who took her statement. What is to prevent someone claiming an injury but not providing any proof?

3) The accident was caused by my inattention, it was a stupid mistake. Can I really be charged with careless driving? I looked up section 130, and it is like 4 lines long! doesn't explain anything at all! doesn't even mention injuries! where can I get some more info on this?

4)What is the deal with our court system?? The officer charges me with a 6 point offense, but she tells me that I can just argue it down to 2 points to avoid a trial. I'm like... What?? Why are you charging me with 6 points in the first place, then? It doesn't mean anything! If you sincerely believe that I should have 6 points taken off my license, then I shouldn't be able to get it argued down to 2. What the hell.

I have a court date. Is it true that if the officer does not show up, I am cleared of the charges? What if the woman I hit doesn't show up?

What about the fact that this woman left the scene?

Argh, this is such a frustrating situation, and to boot, my insurance has been terminated, and I haven't even been convicted.


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hwybear
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Unread post by hwybear on

Whether the person is a police officer or a relative or whatever, does not change your scenario.....so that comment is uncalled for right from the top!
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Irregardless of who the drivers are I would have issued the same offence notice of "careless driving" to the driver that did the "hitting".

I am not a doctor and if anyone complains of injury I call an EMS ASAP! Maybe the person was looking left, then the jolt from behind then sends the neck forward. A coworker had a collision where the person got out, was walking talking, then thought better get checked out and went with EMS on scene. Person ended up dying enr to hospital. Never under estimate a person condition. If someone claims they are injured, it is not for me to say yes or no, either EMS, ER, or to their own doctor they go.....it is then a battle of the insurance companies from there, not police.

Any collision involving injury, property damage (poles, signs etc) or vehicle damage over $1000 is a reportable collision to the police.

So this lady, like you went home, she talked to her spouse, (who happens to be an officer, realized the criteria for a collision) and then she went to the police station.

Leaving scene...like the other driver, you also left the scene.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


pinch
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Unread post by pinch on

Interesting story. I wonder how she got the police to call you, let along charge you. I lent my car to my mother a few years ago. Some guy rear ended her in a parking lot and took off. The back was smashed up pretty bad. She called it in, then took it to a collision reporting office. We never got any action on the mater. I had to pay almost $1k to get the car fixed (my deductible was $1500). Now I know why people fail to remain - unless there was a serious injury, they often get away with it. The police can't do anything.


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Milena wrote:3) The accident was caused by my inattention, it was a stupid mistake. Can I really be charged with careless driving?
You can be charged with careless driving but a conviction is a different matter. The opinion of the courts is that any average driver will make mistakes from time to time, some of which may result in collisions. Careless driving is very serious, so there must be a "departure from the standard of care" of a reasonable and prudent driver. This does not mean a slight mistake or momentary inattention. They expect you to be "reasonable and prudent" but not perfect. Yeah, you made a mistake, but I'm not going to get preachy about it here. This case was somewhat similar to yours (warning - long read):

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... cj336.html

I'm very confident that this can be beaten. If you want to represent yourself, this should be a case you can win, but given the nature of the charge, I'd suggest a paralegal. X-Copper is the website sponsor, so they'd be worth a call. Shop around and see what paralegals are willing to offer you. The reason being, not only is it 6 points, but more significantly, insurance companies place "careless driving" in the same category as street racing, in that it is a major conviction. This can double your premiums or, in your case, they can terminate your coverage. In any case, post here with your decision. An excellent resource for fighting tickets yourself and getting more information is: www.ticketcombat.com. The author of that website posts here and is an expert.
Milena wrote:What is the deal with our court system?? The officer charges me with a 6 point offense, but she tells me that I can just argue it down to 2 points to avoid a trial.
Same as plea-bargaining with any other type of offence. The police will charge you with what they feel is appropriate. You probably could have been charged with "Start from Stopped Position - Not in Safety" but they went for careless. This happens a lot. Some officers will charge drivers with careless any time two vehicles come into contact, even if it is a slight bump. The woman said she was injured so their use of careless driving isn't outside the realm of "normal."

However, unless EMS was called (which they weren't), or unless she went to the ER or a doctor without delay (doubtful), the Crown may be facing an uphill battle for a conviction. In fact, she said "I'm in a lot of pain" but apparently not enough that it needed immediate attention - or at least that's the impression I got. Take detailed notes of everything you can remember. Make sure to record as much of what she said as possible. Also get someone to look over your Echo to show that there is no damage, or at the very least, take photographs of it with a time-date stamp.

FYI - Yes, I'm fairly sure they'll need her for the conviction. She is the Crown's evidence. If she doesn't show up, they should drop the charge, but don't let them re-schedule the trial if she doesn't!!


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Unread post by hwybear on

Milena wrote:. Also, I'm fined $320..
Careless Driving fine = $260 + $60 victim surcharge + $5 court fee = $325.00

Fellow members will comment on this.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


pinch
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Unread post by pinch on

Why did police lay charges in the first place? Just because this woman tells them a story, they believe her word, end of story?

When my mother was hit, the police at the collision center would not pursue the matter because they said that it was her word of events against his (the other driver that fled the scene)


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

hwybear wrote:Careless Driving fine = $260 + $60 victim surcharge + $5 court fee = $325.00

Fellow members will comment on this.
:shock: 8)

Milena - is the fine on the ticket that was issued to you $325 or $320? This is a bigger deal than you might think.
pinch wrote:When my mother was hit, the police at the collision center would not pursue the matter because they said that it was her word of events against his (the other driver that fled the scene)
This is something I'd be really upset about, but it's really hard to know, there's any number of possibilities as to why the officers at the collision centre did not take further action.


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Unread post by Milena on

Thanks to everyone for the great advice and thoughful comments!!!

Let me try and answer some of your questions...

My fine was $320. That was the total payable. That is on my ticket, and on my notice from the court (telling me when to show up etc). Why is this a bigger deal than I think? :? What else could happen?

The officer that charged me assured me that I could get this down to 2 points. She also mentioned, after everything was done, and as I was about to leave, that another officer (older) had told her that she could have used Start from Stopped Position (which you pointed out!!). She didn't seem too concerned that she had charged me with careless driving when she could have charged me with a lesser offense, because again, she was sure I could get it down to 2 points.

A new question-- if I get it down to a 2 points offense, does that mean I am no longer convicted of careless driving? It would be some other conviction, right? Probably the Start from Stopped Position thing?


Yeah, EMS was not called. The officer that I spoke to did not indicate that the woman went to the hospital or was looked after.

In response to Pinch, yes, when I got the call from the police, the officer immediately told me that I was charged. This is before taking my statement, anything. That is what she said. When I got to the station, and I gave my statement, she said "well, based on this, you will be charged with careless driving"...but it was a foregone conclusion, because she had already decided this from the victim's statement. I'm sorry that your mom didn't get a similar treatment. I guess one difference in these two situations is that I didn't lie about what happened.. whereas the guy who hit your mom did. I don't know what happens in situations like that.

I'll definitely look into X-Copper... I need all the help I can get because I think I would probably start crying in court or something ridiculous, if the prosecutor looked sternly at me.


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Milena wrote:My fine was $320. That was the total payable. That is on my ticket, and on my notice from the court (telling me when to show up etc). Why is this a bigger deal than I think? What else could happen?
$325 is the correct total payable for careless driving. Your ticket looks like it has a "fatal flaw." There may be an exception due to the fact that I believe your ticket was a "part III summons," but I think that the dollar amount, even though it was only a $5 error, should be sufficient to get the charge quashed "on a technicality." While it is true that the ticket can be amended by a Justice of the Peace at trial, there are some tactics that can be used to force the fatal error.
Milena wrote:A new question-- if I get it down to a 2 points offense, does that mean I am no longer convicted of careless driving? It would be some other conviction, right? Probably the Start from Stopped Position thing?
Yes, you would not be guilty of careless driving if that were the case, you would be guilty of a (much) lesser offence. You might have slightly higher insurance premiums than if you had no convictions, but it's much better than a careless driving conviction! The plea-bargain option is one route that can be used, but do everything possible to keep careless driving off your record!

In the mean time, while you wait for your trial, the paralegal can do most of the work. That will involve putting together a comprehensive disclosure package so that you and (s)he can find out all the evidence against you. If the paralegal is even slightly competent, the Crown's case will be turned into confetti. I can see multiple avenues where the foundation for laying the careless driving charge can be destroyed.

One thing that many people find helpful is to re-visit the site of the incident and take photos and notes. This helps them refresh their memory. It may also help you remember some details. Put together a detailed synopsis of what happened, but avoid speculating. This will help the paralegal. The more evidence you have that it was a small bump (happens on my street usually three or four times a week) and it was the result of a momentary mistake, the better. If I can think of more things I will post them here. Also fellow members will have additional input.

In the mean time, good luck with it.


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Unread post by hwybear on

Radar Identified wrote: $325 is the correct total payable for careless driving. Your ticket looks like it has a "fatal flaw." There may be an exception due to the fact that I believe your ticket was a "part III summons," but I think that the dollar amount, even though it was only a $5 error, should be sufficient to get the charge quashed "on a technicality." While it is true that the ticket can be amended by a Justice of the Peace at trial, there are some tactics that can be used to force the fatal error. .
Part III Summons do not have a dollar amount on them FYI. The maximum fine allowed to be given my an officer per offence notice is $500.
Last edited by hwybear on Mon May 25, 2009 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

hwybear wrote:Part III Summons do not have a dollar amount on them FYI.
Ah... good point. Thanks Bear.






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