For the first time in my history of 10 years of driving I got my first ticket charged with Careless Driving. In a snow storm, where the road was covered completely with snow and was wet, a car on my right side shifted suddenly towards me to change lane and not see me for being in their blind spot, I immediately put my foot on the break, but because of the inclement weather condition and the slippery road, my car slid and did not stop and shifted slightly towards left and hit another car on the opposing traffic lane which was standing slightly in my lane. I believe that car did not realize that the front of its car was in the opposing lane so the left corner of front of my car hit the left corner of the front of his car.
My airbag was deployed and I was in shock for the first 3 minutes after that I immediately got out of my car and ran towards the other driver and realized he was much older than me (a senior guy) and I asked him if he was ok and if I should call 911? and he said I think you should, I called 911 immediately and I was very scared myself while I was crying, the police and ambulance came within 3 minutes. I did not get a chance to talk to the other driver after and when police asked me what happened, while my whole body was frozen for standing outside my car and my face was numb, with broken English I only explained and said couple of lines. The ambulance took the other driver and the police came back to me with the careless driving ticket.
When I started to ask him why I receive this ticket he said best option is to ask for early resolution or to go to court! Then when I tried to explain to him in details how the accident happened, he asked me to email my statement to him.
He did not interview the other driver and only asked me one question which I very briefly explained cause I could not talk clearly (my face was numb -10 degree and my whole head and face was wet from snow!) and he made the decision that I should get a careless driving ticket.
What should I do? How should I explain this situation to the Prosecutor?
Please tell me if I have a chance in dropping the 6 demerit points. This is my first ticket ever. Should I even bother asking for an early resolution or should I take this court?
This was not my fault since the other driver (the senior guy) was standing in my lane as well...he did not get a ticket...so this means I'm at fault at 100% and the effect that this will have on my driver licensee and insurance will be huge! Please advise me what can I do now?
I would have charged both of you with careless for driving in a snowstorm. Did you take pictures or are there any witnesses? If the lane markings are obscured and you told the officer that you turned for whatever reason into the oncoming path of another car then I'd say you are at fault.
If you challenge the ticket you will be offered a reduced charge. You should review disclosure and see what the evidence against you is.
Insurance fault is determined by the following regulation:
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/e ... 0668_e.htm
I sincerely hope you are feeling less stress now, after a few days. I too have been charged with careless driving, and know how hard it is to conceive how it can be just when you feel you were being careful, and met with unfortunate circumstances.
It would seem that there are officers acting on the theory that when an collision occurs, and they become aware of it, either through reporting or a call to the sceen, someone needs to be charged. Since careless be definition is ambiguous, it us the easiest one to apply, as it can cover any driving behaviour.
You would be best to learn what the courts are finding is careless. There is a lot of caselaw available at http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/. Read through some of them and you will find that there are specific elements that must be proven to be present for a careless charge to stick.
In all likelihood if you mail your ticket back, indicating you are interested in Early Resolution you will be offered an opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser offence. Most people have no trouble getting an offer without representation. The charge will not likely be withrawn however, if the case against you is weak.
To find out how strong the case against you is, request disclosure, you do not have to wait until a trial date is set to receive disclosure. If you hire a representative they will do it for you and review the material, letting you know what kind of case they think you have ($550 + for a paralegal). If you think you want to beat the charge entirely, your best course of action is to mail the ticket back requesting a trial. I would not move forward on a careless trial without legal representation. Also know that when you attend court for the trail you will also likely be offered a plea bargain, and th charges are often withdrawn if the other driver does not attend to testify against you. Some show up on trial day without a representative and accept the plea bargain if the witness shows.
So many people I have heard from, just expect everyone to plea bargain, as the risk of a conviction is too great given the insurance consequences...some representatives feel this too. Until you retain someone with court success, you likely will not be able to get quality advise, or at least advise I'd be willing to stake my insurance premiums on.
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