Please, I need you help with my careless driving ticket. An idea what to do, an advice, an opinion.
These are the facts:
I was driving on 401. At a moment I decided to make a five minutes stop on the right shoulder of the highway. I was in the first lane, I signalled my intention, I slowed down, assured that I had enough distance from the car behind me, went to the right shoulder and I was thinking that the car would stop, but the back of the car slid on the gravel and rotated 180 degrees. Again I was thinking that the car would stop but instead it caught the grass and slowly rolled over in the ditch that is there and went upside down. A man, who I thanked so much, come and opened the left door of the car and I could go out from the car. No one was injured.
I was fined with careless driving, HTA 130. Its that correct?
As I have understood a witness who wrote a statement said that I was passing some cars earlier. I passed some cars but with other cars which made the same thing, no speeding, just regular passing and coming back in the first lane. The police officer told me, before asking me what happened, to write down in my statement that I caught the side of the highway and I lost the control of the car. I told him it is not true, that I had the intention to stop on the right shoulder, I signalled, slowed down, assured, went slowing down to the right shoulder, the car slid and rotated and after that rolled over.
I dont know what to do now. I think to fight this ticket in the court because I really had due care and attention and reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. The car is a small one, with 2 doors.
Thank you very much. Any help would be so much appreciated.
I was driving on 401. At a moment I decided to make a five minutes stop on the right shoulder of the highway.
I think this is your first problem, is that it isn't really believable that you where going to randomly pull to the side of the 401 for a 5 minutes break, the side of the 401 just isn't safe.
If this is what you wrote in your statement to the police, then your probably in a pretty big hole.
Since Careless is a very serious charge your best to get some professional representation and try to plead to a lower charge.
Thank you very much for your message.
I needed to stop for five minutes. It was a hot day and I wanted to just stop and drink some water and after that to continue my way. For four hours I didn't drink water at all and I was really thirsty. That was my bad luck. As I know, it is allowed to stop for five minutes. Stopping for five minutes is a reason for careless driving? If nothing would happen and the car would not roll over, I would still be fined for stopping for five minutes on the right shoulder? For me, this was an emergency.
Stopping on the side of the 401 is clearly not Careless Driving. However, most people recognize that it is a dangerous thing to do and avoid it.
Cars that are stopping on the side of the 401 are usually a result of
1) Break down
2) Young children that cannot hold it any longer
3) Cop with Customer.
I have never seen anybody having a picnic on the side of the 401.
Because of this, If I was the jp/judge I would doubt your reason for wanting to pull over, and be less likely to believe your version of events.
Be prepared with a good answer the question "why would you not wait a few more minutes until the next off ramp or service station"?
As I said before, get professional help.
As you said the cop relied on the witness statement to charge you. Ask for disclosure of witnesse statements, the cop and at least one witness have to be at trial for the Crown to have a chance of convicting you or case dismissed.
If both of them show up, you know what to do, delay the trial.
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The other people posting are correct, it is a story that may be hard to believe, but not impossible. There are charges under the H.T.A. that some Careless charges may be negotiated down to. One for example is Leave Roadway - Not in Safety. This charge carries two(2) Demerit points and is considered as a Minor charge when compared to the Careless Driving charge you are facing.
Before ever pleading guilty to Careless or a lesser offence you should always request and review the disclosure of your case. There may be defences to you case and you or your licenced paralegal may be able to find them by looking at all of the evidence the Prosecutor plans on using against you. One thing to remember is that the police officer who charged you can only testify to what he observed and he most likely was not at the collision site at the point/time of your rollover. Witnesses often forget the details of the situation and when being cross-examined by a professional, it is sometimes easy to raise the reasonable doubt required to obtain a not guilty verdict.
If you are unsure of what to expect and look for in the Disclosure you should contact a licenced paralegal to discuss your case. Insurance companies have been known to cancel policies for even 1 conviction of Careless Driving, so you should strongly consider hiring or consulting with a Traffic Court Paralegal.
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