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Summons for Careless Driving!! Please Help!!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:47 pm
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Hi,
I have a summons for careless driving and am to appear in court on March 2nd, 2011. I am a starving student and really can not afford any of this right now, so I would really appreciate it if someone could please help me out with this. So here's what happened:
I was driving southbound on a single lane highway which split into a two lane highway at the intersection I was approaching. The collision took place on Jan 21st,2011, it was extremely cold that day and roads were wet and icy. I was in the single lane and when it split into two lanes there was also a left turning lane. I had to turn left at the intersection which was a red light as I approached it. No speeding was involved, I was at the speed limit when I was in the single lane and had let go of the accelerator so I was costing when I entered the left turning lane. As soon as I entered the left turning lane I applied the breaks but due to the poor weather conditions my car started to slide, so I released the breaks, reapplied them and turned the steering wheel the opposite direction. Unfortunately the car did not stop and continued to slide into the back of a truck that was stopped in the first lane to the right of the left turning lane. No damage was done to the truck, only my car suffered damage to the front right side, no airbags were deployed, no injuries. I had received 2 tickets prior to this but have not been convicted for either yet. This will be my first court case ever so I have a clean record going into this.

So far the action plan is to go in on the second of march and just plead not guilt and ask for an extension. Then to go back and blame it on the weather. Other than that I was looking at the summons and the accident took place on the 21st of January but the summons says it occurred on the 20th of January. Can I use that as grounds for anything?

I would really appreciate all the help I could get on this. Thanks


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Re: Summons for Careless Driving!! Please Help!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:26 pm
Posts: 2881
Location: Toronto
Blaming it on the weather will not help you. In fact, if the Prosecutor is semi-intelligent, he/she will totally smoke you in court. Consider this for a moment. You said:

- The roads were wet and icy
- You were driving the speed limit
- You braked too late on a wet and icy road

What this sounds like to a Justice of the Peace: "The roads were wet and icy, but I didn't bother to adjust my speed and driving habit for the conditions." The limit is supposed to be for ideal conditions, not ALL conditions. (It isn't really, many speed limits are underposted in my opinion, but we're talking about a legal matter here.) You would essentially be stating that you were being careless, by failing to change your driving for the conditions. Unless lots of other vehicles started crashing at that location, it is unlikely to succeed as a defence, unless you have a very sympathetic JP.

I'd suggest that you get the trial scheduled with a continuance, then ask for disclosure of the officer's notes and the collision report. That way you can figure out if there are any reasonable defences to help you. I'd still recommend hiring a paralegal, however you indicated that you cannot afford much. So, a likely outcome of this is that you will be offered a plea bargain to either "Follow too Closely" or "Fail to turn left to avoid collision." The latter one, I believe, is 2 demerit points; "follow too closely" is four. Talk to the Prosecutor, present your circumstances and show that you have learned a lesson, and they'll probably offer a reduced charge.

The date error on the summons does not render it invalid; it is not a Part I offence notice. It is only a directive to you to appear in court.

_________________
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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Re: Summons for Careless Driving!! Please Help!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
You can try to blame the accident on the weather, but you have to show that you were driving with due diligence for the conditions. If you hit a hidden patch of ice, or there was a sudden downpour of freezing rain, you might have an argument. When the weather has been poor all day, you're aware of it and strike another vehicle that was able to stop, it gets harder to argue. The fact that you weren't speeding is good, but the limit is the max speed you're supposed to go in optimal conditions. When the road conditions deteriorate, legally you're expected to drive according to the conditions.

As for the date error on the summons, it's pretty meaningless. In another thread there's been some discussion about errors on summons, and the general consensus is they're meaningless if the information in Court is correct. Even on a regular ticket, the incorrect date is not a fatal error.

Try speaking with the Crown on your first appearance and see if they're willing to offer you a plea deal to a lesser charge. Careless is a serious charge, and fighting it on your own could be difficult (and it doesn't sound like you have money for a paralegal).

Do you know why you were given a summons instead of a regular ticket for the charge? Were you charged with any other offences? Careless is typically given on just a regular ticket unless they're trying to seek a higher penalty.

Edit: In other words what Radar Identified said when he beat me to the punch. :)


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