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Charged with careless - procedure questions
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:37 pm 
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Hello. Charged with careless after a minor fender bender, and having trouble understanding how this can be and what I should do next.
Facts:
I ran into the back of a small car, while driving a van. Was going at a low rate of speed when traffic came to a complete and unexpected stop due to construction activity. It happened fast, I sneezed and when my eyes were back with the road it was too late. No injuries, under $1000 in damage to both vehicles combine. No structural damage to either vehicle.
The other driver called 911. Was told no officer would be dispatched and to move vehicles off road and exchange info.
Other driver reported accident to OPP, so I did too. Officer at station looked at my vehicle and expressed surprise I would report something so minor, told me to have a nice day and sent me on my way. I provided a statement, and was not cautioned.
Almost 3 weeks later an OPP officer, not the one i spoke to, comes to my home and hands me a ticket for careless; having only asked one question, and that was my name to confirm identity. The officer who wrote the ticket took the original statement from the other driver, and was not available when I went in.
I have paid the shop for the repairs to the other vehicle.
The area the accident happened does not have a collision reporting centre.

This process does not seem right to me and I am interested in other's thoughts. I did everything that I believe was right and honorable following the error. Being charged with careless feels extreme given the circumstances, and the lack of evidence (officer did not attend scene). Other driver was the child of the car owner, and also not questioned by the officer, but did supply parent with a statement to hand in when father went to report. No passengers or witnesses.

Should I fight this? If I go to see the prosecutor (Ontario) what are the chances she/he will dismiss it?

Thank you for your input.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:08 pm
Posts: 550
Careless Driving is exactly what you did, "I closed my eyes and ran into the back of a small car with my van".

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statut ... .htm#BK202
Quote:
130. Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41.
prosecutor requires the presence of the other driver in court to present evidence against you; so if the other driver fails to appear in court at your trial, then you're off the hook.

if the other driver does appear, you'll most likely offered an amended charge like S.141 (5) - Left turn ‑ fail to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision
it carries a $110 fine and 3 demerit points

__________________

file the ticket for trial, and request disclosure to see the prosecution's evidence against you.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:54 pm 
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High Authority

Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
There's lots of case law surrounding your charge and momentary inattention does not necessarily constitute careless driving. I certainly wouldn't plead guilty to the charge as is.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:31 pm
Posts: 502
I agree that you should get it reduced.
How could you not know that construction is coming up?

Good luck

Cheers
Viper1

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"hang onto your chair when reading my posts
use at your own risk"


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:02 pm
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I appreciate the input and the time.

Yes, Viper I was well aware of the construction…it is major and missing it surely should be a criminal offence! The construction was in the north bound lanes, with north bound being directed into the southbound, and south bound basically using the shoulder. I was in the process of turning left, going south bound, from a private drive and looked right to insure the all clear…traffic was moving ahead when I looked left before looking right. I felt the sneeze coming as I was turning and was a little caught up in it I suppose. There was a need to be decisive in intention and not to take too long clearing the north bound traffic, if it matters it was very high volume of traffic with many cars behind me also looking to make the turn.

I understand that all of all of this could be considered careless; knew it immediately. It was a stacked set of circumstances and I failed not to make contact with the car. What surprised me was the process. If an officer had attended when we called I would expect to get a ticket, if I had been cautioned or given a ticket when I went to the police, I would have expected the ticket. To be asked no questions, and to be ticketed 3 weeks later has confused me and in some ways predudiced my ability to defend as I didn't take pictures…incorrectly taking cues from the police response I did get.

As I considered it from a judicial perspective, I could not see where there was evidence at this point. I makes sense that the prosecutor will question the other driver and that will be the evidence, just thought evidence should be present prior to charging.

Do people who regularly go to an accident reporting centre (as this was basically my process) get charged all the time too? I don't know anyone who ever was, despite being in a place where they hit another car.

Just trying to understand. Thanks for the help


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:02 pm
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Just remebered...also taking cues from HTA, this accident did not meet reporting criteria, under $1000 in damage and no injury


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:59 pm
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were you issued a part 3 summons or a part 1 offense notice?


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:09 pm 
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Part 1 offence notice.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:59 pm
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it's too bad it wasn't a little longer. it appears the poa allows an officer to issue an offense notice (form 3 or 4) up to 30 days after the alleged offense. i think you should fight this because careless is very hard to prove in court, especially with all the time in between.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:02 pm
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The ticket is a form 4…if that matters

Do I understand this correctly, if I pick Option 2 - Early Resolution or 3 - Trial, I will likely be offered a plea deal? I thought this was possible at Early Resolution, but once I select trial it was all or nothing. I understand I can do Early Resolution and then opt for a trail after.

If I go to trail, and the other driver shows up, they are still likely to offer a plea? (not obligated)

Can I ask for disclosure before even getting an Early Resolution or Trial date?


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
I've spoken with a few prosecutors lately about the new pretrial resolution options on tickets. Many are saying the best deal they'll offer is on the day of the resolution meeting. They want to discourage people from taking up Court time and inconveniencing witnesses by scheduling unnecessary trials. Come trial they'll either offer a less generous deal or sometimes nothing at all. At the end of the day it will probably somewhat dependent on the jurisdiction and how busy the Court is.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:02 pm
Posts: 18
Thank you Stanton. I also appreciate your mentioning the amount of case law. With that I started digging and came up with http://www.canlii.org. Is this the best source for looking at judgements?

In reading through many that involve Careless Driving I noticed very few (in fact only found one so far R. v. Wong, 2013 ONCJ 112) involve small accidents such as mine. Just about every other involves serious injury, or evidence of clearly reckless driving behaviour (as not all involve accidents), or the defendant not appearing in court. This leads me to believe that most people are being charged and then accept a plea deal, as apparently careless is laid second only to speeding, and there is so little case law on the little ones.

Somehow, I think I am missing something though and appreciate input from anyone; why are people pleading the little cases down? In the R. v. Wong case it is clear that the defendant caused an accident, and even addmitted to her lack of attention on the road, but was aquitted as the justice found that, "The prosecution has therefore failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the element of the actus reus of the subject offence that the negligent driving actions of the defendant causing a motor vehicle accident, constituted a breach of her duty to the public and was deserving of punishment" reference to Regina v. Namink. The justice did find that the defendant's driving fell below the standard expected, but acquitted as it was not deserving of punishment.

I am yet to find a conviction on a minor accident, where there was momentary inattention involved (feel free to direct me).

I am waiting for my Early Resolution meeting with the prosecutor, does it help if I come in with case law? Don't want to be pushy or rude in any way, but do want to respectfully show that there are additional considerations beyond the fact that I caused and accident.

All opinions welcomed and respected, some of the best learning comes from the discussion of adversarial opinions. Cheers.


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:34 pm 
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I am also looking for a careless conviction where there was a momentary inattention. My story ( post31343.html#p31343 ) If you find one please let me know!


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:38 pm 
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Also where can I read the R. v Wong case? Searched everywhere but can't seem to find it?


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Re: Charged with careless - procedure questions
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:57 am
Posts: 41
Here is the link to that case:
http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... bmcAAAAAAQ

I've looked for others like it, and so far, like OP, not finding much. Hope it helps.

Convictions generally involve more than momentary inattention.

My daughter was charged after hitting a car from behind, and we are waiting for Early Resolution...6 month wait; not my definition of early :(


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