Careless Driving Conviction and Appeal

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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:36 pm

Careless Driving Conviction and Appeal

by: killerpm on
Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:40 pm

My wife was convicted with careless driving today. Here is a synopses of how it went down.

Wife rear ends person at stop light. Gets charged with careless.

We enter a innocent plea and file for disclosure. We hire a paralegal (from a reputable company, I wont mention any names).

First paralegal talks to prosecutor over the phone weeks before any trial and tries to make deal. Gets some sort of deal but says that we can do better and tries for a better deal. Gets into some sort of argument with prosecutor and all deals are withdrawn. Paralegal gets busy and is double booked so "hires" colleague from other company (also reputable) to go to court for him. There is a mix-up with communication and the new paralegal shows up to trial thinking a deal has been made and that a guilty plea for new charge just needs to be entered (shows up 50 minutes late for trial, but shows up). Realizes there is no deal, bad mouths the other paralegal and gets adjournment. We (upon advice of second paralegal) terminate the first paralegal and hire the second one to represent us through whole process.

Some time passes and we have meeting with the new paralegal. We give him a copy of the disclosure and he re-evaluates the case. We discuss a number of defenses that we could use and decide on the best one. A few weeks later (2 weeks before trial) we receive a letter from new paralegals office that says we are not required to be at trial. We phone multiple times to verify this but cant get a firm answer. Trial date comes and goes and after numerous calls to paralegal for information we find out that we were actually supposed to be at the trial. We explain letter that we received and it is dismissed as a paperwork error by the secretary. We also find out what all went on at the court date and discover that the wrong defense was used (not the one we both agreed to). The paperwork was lost in the office so the paralegal made a defense in our absence. The paralegal got another adjournment and a 3rd court date is set.

We attend the third court date and wife is put on the stand. We continue with the (weak) defense that the paralegal had presented at the second trial and the court runs out of time. A decision will be made at which is now a 4th court date.

The 4th court date happens (which we are told we don't need to be at) and we find out that we have been convicted guilty of careless driving.

What I am wondering is how difficult it would be to file for an appeal on the decision. I would obviously have to hire a third firm to handle this. I can't really think what ground legally we would have for an appeal. Is bad defense a ground (I don't think it would be) or are we pretty much stuck with this decision.

Now that we are convicted (1.5 years after the occurrence), how long will this conviction last on my wife's driver abstract? From my understanding, the points get removed 2 years after the date of the occurrence, but the conviction lasts on her abstract after her conviction (its kind of mixed information). How long can we expect extremely high insurance rates and how long until the 6 points (she has had no other occurrences ) get removed from her license.

Thanks a bunch for hearing me out and sorry for the long post.
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by: Stanton on
Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:23 pm

Typically for an appeal you need to show an error on the part of the Courts. Based on what you've said you don't have that.

The demerit points will stay on your wife's record for 2 years from the date of the offence (so another 6 months). Can't recall what the limit is for how far back your insurance provider can go, maybe 3-4 years?
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Simon Borys
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by: Simon Borys on
Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:20 am

One ground of appeal that is recognized by courts is "ineffective assistance of counsel". I'm absolutely NOT commenting on whether this applies to your particular situation, but I just want to let you know that such a thing exists. It usually results in a new trial if successful. To pursue this I think you'd need to hire a lawyer (not another paralegal).
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