I recently hit a van from behind, at a busy cross section. The reason was my lunch bag and coffee dropped to floor with a 'bang', so I did not fully stop. The police came and charge me with HTA 130 (careless driving), is this too much for me?
BTW I did not mention the coffee thing to the police since I thought this would only involve insurance company (I was hit by somebody a few years ago, the police just came and gave us a report number, did not charge anyone).
I plan to fight on trial, any suggestions?
Thanks in advance
How much damage was done? A fender-bender bump with no injuries where you were otherwise driving somewhat normally does not qualify for a careless driving conviction. To use some technical jargon, careless driving requires a large departure from the standard of driving of a reasonable and prudent driver. The courts have ruled that momentary inattention that resulted in a fender-bender is not sufficient to count as careless driving. If the van ahead of you was stopped and you hit it, generally you will get the careless driving charge, but it can be beaten in court.
Couple of relevant cases here:
R. v. Erredia: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... cj303.html
R. v. Morgan:http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... cj336.html
You should know that, more than anything in your case, careless driving has disastrous implications for your insurance. You may want to consider hiring a paralegal on this one. It is beatable, in that careless driving is one of the hardest Highway Traffic Act offences to get a conviction on, but with severe consequences possible I'd recommend professional help.
Thanks for all your info. will study them later.
The police said the damage is over $1000, the van (Taxi) was actually modified on the bumper for picking up disability people, the driver tried but could not open the door. My sedan has a couple of dents and scratches on the hood.
The van was stopping before a traffic light (the van is the 3rd car before the light), not sure if it is fully stopped! No witness mentioned in police's ticket.
If at trial, will the judge believe 'the bag&coffee droping' caused my "momentary inattention"?
Do you know the cost to hire a paralegal?
It will also depend on how long the light was red. If it was just turning red and traffic started slowing, then yes it could be momentary inattention. If the light was red for a minute then you were driving up to a red light and should have been preparing to stop in which case the coffee excuse is worthless.
Would also like to add... those two cases basically say that minor misjudgments and momentary inattention are not grounds for careless driving. Also in Erredia, the officer charged the driver with careless "because no other charge fit." (This was due to a cracked mirror where a transport truck tried to squeeze by a parked garbage truck on a narrow road under construction.) The JP at trial agreed that it had to be careless because no other charge fit, but the appeal Judge ruled that was wrong and that a person must exhibit a departure from the standard of care of a reasonable and prudent driver, not just make a minor mistake, to be convicted of careless driving.
I had kind of the same issue. Last week I was driving in Guelph Ontario to work. There was a truck in front of me and a car in front of her. The car slowed down because he was going to turn. sHE APPLED HER BRAKES BUT DID NOT STOP.As a result I applied my brakes. The cart did not turn and she then had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting him(which she admitted to) i then hit my brakes and i wouldve been able to not hit her but the road was wet and my brakes locked and I skid into her. I hit her hitch and my car has all of the damage. She was a real piece of work trying to say that I was riding her bumper and driving out of control. i was going 50 which is the speed limit and if I was riding her bumper like she said the damage would have been much worse. I got charged with careless and got a fine of $500 and 6 points. The cop said that now the new rules is that if the cop does not see it happen they have no choice but to charge you with careless. I have been driving for 8 years and have never even had a parking ticket. He then told me not to go thru insurence because she wasnt going to. I then found out that I had to cause the police would send the charge to my company and would would have to report it. I just want to know why i got such a heavy fine when i was following the rules of the road but i still get screwed? I have a court date in Jan and i really dont want this charge. I just dont fully believe that i should have been charged with careless when I was not speeding,I was wearing my seatbelt and the roads were wet and cold due to weather. He said he didnt care about my side. Is this fair? I dont think he shouldve been giving me insurence advice when obvisally he did not know what he was talking about. Luckly i know an insurence broker who told me the truth and my uncle is a lawer so he is gunna try to help me.
Well, I'm sure then that your uncle will tell you that following the speed limit does not mean you can not be guilty of careless, nor does wearing your seatbelt. You were ticketed for careless for one of 2 reasons: either the officer felt you were guilty of careless driving or they didn't know what other charge to lay but felt you needed to be charged with something. There is no such rule, new or old, that says an officer must charge you with anything, whether they saw the collision or not.
If you feel that, given the totality of the circumstances, you were not guilty of careless driving, then your option is, of course, to fight it.
NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.
Then why would he tell me that he had to charge me with careless cause that was the law? I just dont get how someone with not even a parking ticket get such a harsh penalty?
Careless Driving is the only charge that fits in that situation,
"Driving without due care and attention"
Retired Toronto Traffic Officer, Hit & Run Squad Detective,
Breathalyzer Tech, Radar/Highway Patrol
So your saying I deserve this charge? I was not driving out of control... i know I hit her from behind and it is my fault but I would like to fight the charge of careless
Careless driving does not mean you were driving out of control. Careless driving means, as OTTLegal says, you were driving without DUE care and attention. You could be "out of control," but you do not have to be in order to be charged/convicted of careless. If you really were driving out of control, that's beyond careless driving - that is Dangerous Driving, a criminal charge.
Your options include:
- Pleading guilty to a lesser charge (e.g. following too closely, fail to turn left to avoid a collision, etc)
- Fighting it in court (prepare for a full-on battle)
It is one of the most serious HTA charges, but also one of the hardest to prove. I would recommend getting professional legal help from someone who is familiar with dealing with traffic court. You said your relative is a lawyer, so he should be able to point you in the right direction.
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca
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