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Should this driver be charged with Careless Driving?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:30 pm 
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I was recently involved in a serious MVA. I was T-boned at an intersection by a large vehicle that completely disregarded a red light. They made no attempt to stop at any time but did try to swerve at the last second but made full contact with the driver side of my vehicle. My vehicle is a total write off and I'm lucky to be alive according to the emergency personel. I was the second car through the intersection and there was another vehicle behind me that witnessed the entire accident. According to the police who investigated the crash the driver who ran the red had at least 7 seconds to react to the red light so obviously this person was distracted for at least 6 of those seven seconds. I was not able to see the driver as the vehicle came towards me so I cannot make any statement as to what they were doing prior to the accident. My gut feeling is that they were distracted using a phone or similar device which could clearly account for the loss of concentration and attention. The highway traffic act of Ontario defines careless driving as "driving on a highway without due care and attention without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway". I realize that this is a difficult charge to determine and did request that the police investigate whether the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. They replied that they would need a search warrant in order to obtain this person's phone and that without a fatality this was unlikely. The driver was charged with running a red light, I just feel that they got off too easy and that there was more then just a "few seconds" of negligent driving in this case. Is there anything that I can do in regards to pursuing this further? I realize that it is up to the officer's discretion as to which charges to lay but reading the other posts on this forum I see many examples of careless driving charges which I feel are much less deserving. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:51 pm 
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It is difficult to say. The only thing you could really do is talk to the Crown Prosecutor about the situation, and see what they say. At this point, the Crown is the only one who can amend the charge.

Without seeing the collision report and the officer's notes, etc., I cannot really give a solid opinion as to whether or not I believe that careless driving should have been used. I'm also not a police officer or a collision reconstructionist. If the officer was experienced, he/she may have looked at the evidence, and decided that, to ensure the driver would be caught with something, that Red Light - Fail to Stop was the appropriate charge. Careless driving may have been an appropriate, solid charge, but it is also one of the most difficult HTA charges to prove.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Actually careless driving is possibly the easiest charge in the HTA to prove. Having investigated over 1000 collisions, I almost always lay a Careless Driving charge. A collision is almost always as a result of carelessness by one or both drivers.

Don't get me wrong, there is generally some leeway in court and I work with everyone charged to try and reduce this once I've consulted with our prosecutor...

But often times Careless is the most appropriate charge. But it is the officer's discretion.

Keep in mind both Red Light and Careless are major convictions on your record, the points are 4 / 6 respectively and although the fines have recently changed, they were $190 / $325.

Is there really a big difference?

If the officer laid the Careless charge, the prosecutor would have likely reduced it in any event.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:45 pm 
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FyreStorm wrote:
If the officer laid the Careless charge, the prosecutor would have likely reduced it in any event.


So now that it is a "red light-fail to stop" ticket, what will the prosecutor reduce it to now?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:51 pm 
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beleafer81 wrote:
FyreStorm wrote:
If the officer laid the Careless charge, the prosecutor would have likely reduced it in any event.


So now that it is a "red light-fail to stop" ticket, what will the prosecutor reduce it to now?


Possibly disobey lane light.

Red lights are three points.

If they reduce the charge it will be a plea deal. Either way, who cares what he got charged with or plea's to as long as he is guilty. Its not going to change your outcome. I can never understand why people are so interested in the charge the other person got. The officer wasn't there and didn't see the MVA so he can't testify to the light being red prior to the vehicle entering the intersection. Its going to be up to the witnesses who may or may not show up and testify. Same goes for careless but careless is more of a blanket charge and can be easier to prove in certain circumstances.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:55 pm 
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Well I think you got a break with the Red Light...but Disobey Lane Light is the next option...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:28 pm 
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FyreStorm wrote:
Actually careless driving is possibly the easiest charge in the HTA to prove.


Really? Of all the cases I've seen, careless is usually the one that gets the highest number of acquittals/withdrawals/reduced. How many of the people you charged (rough estimate) got professional help with their case?

cruzmisl wrote:
Same goes for careless but careless is more of a blanket charge and can be easier to prove in certain circumstances.


That's probably the best way to summarize it, IMO.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:58 pm 
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Radar Identified wrote:
FyreStorm wrote:
Actually careless driving is possibly the easiest charge in the HTA to prove.


Really? Of all the cases I've seen, careless is usually the one that gets the highest number of acquittals/withdrawals/reduced. How many of the people you charged (rough estimate) got professional help with their case?

cruzmisl wrote:
Same goes for careless but careless is more of a blanket charge and can be easier to prove in certain circumstances.


That's probably the best way to summarize it, IMO.



Kudo's for picking that out.

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