Middle car in sandwich rear-end. Careless??

MegaSilver
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Middle car in sandwich rear-end. Careless??

by: MegaSilver on
Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:14 am

Yesterday evening I was stopped in line at a red light. About a dozen cars were in front of me. I had a safe distance between the car in front of me. I could see its tires on the pavement. I saw the light turn green, and a few seconds later the car in front of me released the brakes and rolled forward. I let off my brake and rolled forward. A moment later, the car in front slammed its brakes on. I hit my brakes and came to a stop with enough space for me to still see the license plate of the vehicle. Just then I was rear-ended hard and was pushed into the car in front of me.

We all got out. I checked my front end and the car I was hit into first. My car was fine. Her car had a small indentation from the screw of my license plate. I checked my backend, and it was marked up with paint from the car that hit me. Nothing major. I have an old 97 car, so I wasn't concerned with damage. The car that hit me, hit me with such force that his air bag deployed. Because of the air bag deployment, the woman in the car in front of me called 911. While we were waiting, the driver who hit me stated that he wasn't paying attention and didn't brake at all.

An hour later an off duty firefighter came by us and was surprised that no emergency vehicles were on the scene yet. He radioed for fire, which showed up in less than 3 minutes. a few minutes later EMS arrived. Fire crews checked the cars for leaking fluids (none) and EMS checked me and the driver behind me. No problems. 1 hour later, police arrived on the scene.

When the office arrived, the first thing she did was take our license, insurance and registration and return to her cruiser. A few minutes later she returned and told the car I was hit into that she could leave. The officer then returned to her cruiser. Minutes later she returned to speak to the other driver and myself. She stated that we were both being charged with careless driving, handed us our tickets and told me that I could leave now. The other car needed to be towed away. I was shocked that the officer did not take any statements from any of us. At no point did she ask any of us what happened.

I do not believe that I should be charged at all. Not with following too close, let alone careless. I feel that I demonstrated that I was not following to close when I managed to come to a stop without hitting the car in front of me. The only reason that I hit the car in front was that the force I was hit with. I want all charges dropped.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do now? Does it sound like I was at fault? Do I contact the police department to file a statement? Do I take option 2 (meet with prosecutor), or 3 (trial)? Should I hire a firm like XCopper or POINTTS?

I have been driving for 15 years, and had two minor speeding charges 10 years ago. This is my first collision.


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by: Stanton on
Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:05 pm

I’d start by requesting disclosure to see what evidence the officer has to support a careless driving charge. Based on what you’ve said, I certainly don’t feel the charge is warranted nor would you be convicted. First attendance meeting might not hurt, see what the Crown says. If they feel the charge is unwarranted they might simply withdraw it.


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by: Radar Identified on
Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:25 pm

I'd get a paralegal involved as well. Certainly from your description, I don't believe that you should have been charged with Careless Driving. However, as Careless Driving is a very serious charge with some pretty heavy implications for insurance etc., I'd get some sort of professional representation. Unless the officer was a collision reconstruction expert, the fact that no witness statements were taken is not going to be particularly helpful for the Prosecutor's case, if they decide to pursue it.
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by: MegaSilver on
Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:30 am

Stanton wrote:I’d start by requesting disclosure to see what evidence the officer has to support a careless driving charge. Based on what you’ve said, I certainly don’t feel the charge is warranted nor would you be convicted. First attendance meeting might not hurt, see what the Crown says. If they feel the charge is unwarranted they might simply withdraw it.
n00b questions.

1) Can I request a disclosure before submitting my response to the charge? Mainly, do I have to pick option 2 or 3 first?

2) If I request a first attendance meeting (option 2) does that mean I am pleading guilt of some sort? If I do not like the outcome of the meeting with the prosecutor, can I then request a trial date?


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by: MegaSilver on
Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:56 pm

MegaSilver wrote:n00b questions.

1) Can I request a disclosure before submitting my response to the charge? Mainly, do I have to pick option 2 or 3 first?

2) If I request a first attendance meeting (option 2) does that mean I am pleading guilt of some sort? If I do not like the outcome of the meeting with the prosecutor, can I then request a trial date?
Another question I can't seem to find on here. If I go with Option 2 (Early Resolution) can I file for disclosure? If so, when?


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by: Radar Identified on
Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:55 pm

MegaSilver wrote:1) Can I request a disclosure before submitting my response to the charge? Mainly, do I have to pick option 2 or 3 first?
No - you have to pick 2 or 3 first.
MegaSilver wrote:2) If I request a first attendance meeting (option 2) does that mean I am pleading guilt of some sort? If I do not like the outcome of the meeting with the prosecutor, can I then request a trial date?
If it specifies "First Attendance meeting," then no. However, if it says "plead guilty with an explanation," then yes you are pleading guilty.

If you go with Option 2, you can file for disclosure as soon as you get a First Attendance date - or even sooner (wait a couple of weeks).
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by: MegaSilver on
Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:50 pm

I received my date for Early Resolution (May 9th) in the middle of February. I faxed in a request for disclosure a few days later (Feb 19th). I still have not heard anything. Been 5 weeks now. I'll send in another request at 6 weeks from last request.


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by: MegaSilver on
Mon May 06, 2013 10:29 am

I received my disclosure last week. I have an early resolution meeting on Thursday. A few points of interest. In the officer’s notes, she makes notes of the damage to my car being on the front bumper. I had no damage to my front bumper. My REAR bumper is damaged with the impression of the licence plate from the car behind me. 4 1/2 months later I can still read the mirror image of the license plate. Don't think that matters, as the officer was not a witness, so discrediting her won't serve a purpose, right?

Enclosed is also the statement of the car collided with. Here is an edited version of that:
"On December 13th, 2012 at approximately 5:08am I was driving my white Nissan with licence plate <retracted> south bound on the <retracted> Street bridge towards <retracted> Crescent. The light was green but there was a lot of traffic. I was slowing down, almost at a complete stop and then I got rear-ended. Then another car rear-ended the car that hit me. I did not receive any injuries and the damages to my car were very minimal. I waited until Police arrived."

Now, that is not the same scenario that I observed. Guess that's up for debate. My case basically comes down to if she felt one bump or two. If she doesn't show at court, does the crown lack any evidence, forcing them to drop charges? In court, I plan to discredit her testimony. In the 2 hours we spent waiting for police to arrive, I got to talk to both of them. I plan on asking her things about me that we discussed to see if she can remember all those details. If she can't clearly remember all the details we discussed, perhaps she didn't remember the details of the collision correctly? Her daughter was also involved in a traffic accident that night. She was shaken up over that situation also. Her mind was probably not very clear. Also, the driver behind me sat in her car for a long period of time while we waited for police. I found out that they work in the same office together!! Sounds like she may have altered her statement to support her co-workers case.


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by: MegaSilver on
Thu May 09, 2013 11:38 am

Just got back from the courthouse from my early resolution meeting. Going in, my wife was pushing me to take a lesser charge and move on with it. I was adamant that I did nothing wrong, and didn't want to plea guilty to anything. So, this morning I sat in the waiting room. People were being called into 1 of the 2 offices to meet with the prosecutor. After virtually everyone had gone in, one of the prosecutors asks if anyone hasn't been seen. So, I met with him. I stated that I did not agree with the statement giving by the first driver, and gave my recollection of the events. He agreed that careless wasn't a warranted charge, but could not dismiss the charge. We agreed to take it to court. I went back into the waiting room. My name was then called by the other prosecutor. I went in and met with her. She offered me failing to turn left to avoid collision and an $85 fine. I accepted and went into the court room.

I watched as others stepped up and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and a few going to trial. When I was called up, the 1st prosecutor was present and stated that in previous discussions we wished to go to trial. I stated that I had met with the other prosecutor and had accepted a lesser charge. This threw the prosecutor, and the judge then asked me to sit down and wait for the prosecution to sort things out.

When I got called up again, the prosecutor said we had agreed to a lesser charge or failing to turn left to avoid. The judge asked how I plea. After I pleaded guilty, the prosecutor stated the "facts" of the case. He essentially said back what I had told him earlier! My story of events! The judge caught that and said he didn't understand why I would be charged under careless or failure to turn left. If I had stopped, how could I turn left? And how was that careless? He dismissed the charge! The prosecutor tried to have him accept my earlier plea, but he stuck with his dismissal!

A huge win for me!


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by: Stanton on
Thu May 09, 2013 1:37 pm

Nice win for you!
MegaSilver wrote:He agreed that careless wasn't a warranted charge, but could not dismiss the charge.
That part bugs me. The Crown certainly can withdraw a charge if they feel it's unwarranted or the evidence doesn't support it. Not sure if they were just trying to placate you or what, but glad it worked out in the end.


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by: Simon Borys on
Thu May 09, 2013 8:21 pm

Not just CAN withdraw a charge, but MUST if there is no reasonable prospect of conviction - per the Crown Policy Manual. To pursue a conviction where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction (because the facts don't support it) would be unethical. That being said, it may well be that the prosecutor did feel there was a reasonable prospect of conviction on careless, even if it wasn't the most ideal charge for the circumstances, so I'm in NO WAY accusing this particular prosecutor of misconduct - obviously I don't know all the facts or what their thought process was. Remember, careless is a pretty broad offence and can, theoretically, cover a wide variety of situations where other offences might also apply. This is just for general information.
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