First I would like to thank everyone here as I have been reading some amazing stuff and have been going over some amazing links from other threads relating to this charge. I would like to begin to say that this charge seems to be way too harsh for my circumstance anyway and is handed out way too easily. I am curious to see your opinions and any further case law you guys / gals might be able to point out.
Basically last year, I was traveling on the Gardner Expressway coming up to the Jarvis exit on the right hand lane. I signaled and slowed down to exit and commited my self to the lane change to the off ramp, according to the person I hit when the traffic stopped because some one decided to cut in from the expressway to take the same exit. There was approximately 5 cars that had to stop right at the top of the highway giving about 10 meters between the beginning of the off-ramp and the bumper of her car. I slammed on the breaks and bumped a Honda civic with my ford escape causing minor damage to her car (her car was still in tact but rear end was pushed up a bit you could notice the trunk was slightly buckled) and my good ole ford dumped most of its rad coolant on the highway (note to ford owners
). We both pulled over at the scene to the shoulder and called it in to the police. When the officer arrived he asked how fast I was going I told him I wasn't sure but it was somewhere around 50Km/h, he looked at the skid marks and judged it at about 60-70. After he took "Honda's" statement he told me that since there were no witnesses to the event I would have to be charged for careless driving. in the lady's statement she noted the guy cutting into her lane. As a side note the officer did write down the wrong year of the vehicle but it does not seem to qualify as a fatal error.
The officer told me my options on the back of the ticket and explicitly told me not to plead guilty or guilty with an explanation but to plead innocent. I did just that which I now realize is a good thing but I admit I did with out really knowing what was going on. I intended to retain a lawyer but was laid off in January and couldn't afford to be represented. Being a dummy I did not realize the seriousness of the charge until last week and lucky found an AMAZING site http://www.ticketcombat.com
I decided I needed more time to prepare a defense.
My first hearing was recent and the officer was there and brought "Honda" in as a witness to testify. Before I was heard the officer asked me if I was prepared and said no, the prosecution looking disappointed flicked through some random papers and asked if I would plead to following too closely. Now knowing a bit more then I did before I refused the bargain and the officer came up to me and actually said the judge "will not give you an adjournment" when I asked why he changed his story to "may not". The judge granted me the adjournment based on my argument and granted me time to make my defense which is a good thing. I am considering hiring a paralegal to prepare the disclosure so I get everything I can in case I do hire a counsel. Thanks to this forum I have found the following case law that helps a great deal.
I can't overstate how amazing this was! The section in HTA 130 is only like one sentence and extremely vague and I was getting worried about my possibilities but these links are a MUST READ for anyone charged with Careless!!!! I now believe I have a strong case since the woman was literally stopped (foot on the break going 0 KM/h) on the off ramp (basically the highway) cause some guy decided he/she didn't want to double back.
It looks good since the witness is going to testify that she was blocked by this idiot who took off after the fact. Luckily no one was hurt and there was about $1500 damage to my car and I'm not sure of the cost of repairs for her car but I would estimate not much higher then $2000 depending on the mechanic. I now have about 6 months to prepare my defense and any additional info you gurus could offer would be greatly appreciated. Other wise anyone else with the same charge should read this experience and know when it comes to trial your only friend is your attorney and don't be intimidated, read, read, read ... Google IS your friend!!