Interesting article about court appearances. Opinions?

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Bookm
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by: Bookm on
Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:18 am

hwybear wrote:The thought of sending in a certified statement is excellent.
There is a section in the Provincial Offences Act that appears to facilitate this type of trial in "prescribed parts of Ontario". The intention seems good, until you find out that there are NO "prescribed parts of Ontario" that allow it, LOL.

Tried it once with a co-worker. Shot down in flames. Pled down to a lesser charge.

Dispute without appearance, prescribed parts of Ontario
6. (1) Where an offence notice is served on a defendant whose address as shown on the certificate of offence is outside the county or district in which the office of the court specified in the notice is situate, and the defendant wishes to dispute the charge but does not wish to attend or be represented at a trial, the defendant may do so by signifying that intention on the offence notice and delivering the offence notice to the office of the court specified in the notice together with a written dispute setting out with reasonable particularity the defendant’s dispute and any facts upon which the defendant relies.
Disposition
(2) Where an offence notice is delivered under subsection (1), a justice shall, in the absence of the defendant, consider the dispute and,
(a) where the dispute raises an issue that may constitute a defence, direct a hearing; or
(b) where the dispute does not raise an issue that may constitute a defence, convict the defendant and impose the set fine.
Hearing
(3) Where the justice directs a hearing under subsection (2), the court shall hold the hearing and shall, in the absence of the defendant, consider the evidence in the light of the issues raised in the dispute, and acquit the defendant or convict the defendant and impose the set fine or such lesser fine as is permitted by law.
Application of section
(4) This section applies in such part or parts of Ontario as are prescribed by the regulations. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, s. 6.


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by: ticketcombat on
Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:47 pm

I was thinking of this section as well. The interesting wording is the JP "shall hold a hearing" which to me means he'll ask the cop questions in response to the defence statement. This in effect means the cop is testifying.


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Bear, you should be covered by WSIB if you drive your car for work related activities. If you are in a traffic accident, your insurance will apply. But if you receive a compensable loss time injury, you have the option of electing either WSIB or your insurance coverage. You also need to declare to your insurance that you are using your vehicle for work but you should also be getting a gas allowance from your employer to compensate. I'm sure the math wizes on this site can actually put together a formula to determine which option is more appealing. Cost of going to work and suiting up vs. driving yourself and reducing the amount of actual time to and from court on your day off.

I would say in Toronto, typically a third to half the traffic officers are in suits instead of uniform. However there is a greater "visual" presence of the uniform that adds a layer of credibility. Especially when most defendants don't even wear a tie.


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I've also got to comment on the original article.

First, since downloading court administration and revenue to municipalities, the number of traffic charges handed out has increased. See http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=1075646. Toronto jumped 78%, Ottawa 155%! This makes it much harder for municipalities to run efficient budgets or operations when they can "generate" their own revenue instead of belt tightening.

Second, while I have the greatest respect for police officers, they face situations and deal with things I would never want to touch, like any organization there will always be a small percentage of bad seeds.

Court appearances have a financial incentive. I've known about this salary grade loophole for many years. What is new is that I am now observing more and more people being stopped and ticketed by police and then encouraged to fight the charge by the very same officer who handed the ticket out! While they are careful not to cross the line, it appears they are playing a numbers game. Less than 20% fight their ticket. In order to generate one court appearance, you've got to write at least five tickets. More if there is mandatory first attendance. It seems that's exactly what these "top" officers are doing.

It also encourages laying more charges and more severe ones at that. Most people won't fight a parking ticket but they definitely will fight a more expense ticket. There seems to be an increase in the number of careless driving charges when the facts don't warrant the charge. A very expensive ticket all but guarantees a court appearance.

The result is that there is tremendous financial incentive for both the officer and the city to write traffic tickets. It also means there is less concentration on other types of crimes (violent crime, young offenders, drugs, etc.) as they won't generate revenue the way a traffic ticket does. The article mentions that Ottawa added 18 officers to their traffic enforcement unit. Did they add any to any of their other units?

I'm trying not to be cynical about this but remember when somebody finally spilled the beans about retail operators winning more lottery money than the average citizen? There has to be checks and balances in the system, and I am not seeing very many that protect the average citizen with respect to traffic charges. (don't get me started on 172!)
Fight Your Ticket!


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by: hwybear on
Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:21 pm

ticketcombat wrote: Bear, you should be covered by WSIB if you drive your car for work related activities. If you are in a traffic accident, your insurance will apply. But if you receive a compensable loss time injury, you have the option of electing either WSIB or your insurance coverage. You also need to declare to your insurance that you are using your vehicle for work but you should also be getting a gas allowance from your employer to compensate.
Happened to a coworker in an MVC on the way to work (same as going to court) not covered on WSIB.
Since my policy does not cover me to use my vehicle for work purposes, other than straight to work. if we use our own vehicle we have to apply to detachment commander to use our vehicle, if that is OK'd then we can use the OPP insurance policy and we are covered, but only with letter in hand.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: Reflections on
Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:19 am

FiReSTaRT wrote:Bear, we are a bit spoiled here in Ontario. You come off as a 100% honest guy and a great majority of our constables is like that.
I grew up in Serbia during the Milosevic era. At that time, it was fairly common for a person to get beaten, put into a van, beaten some more in the van, taken into the station, get beaten some more, taken out of the station, given another beating and left on the street. I knew this girl who allowed a group of 5 cops to gang-bang her so they wouldn't give her boyfriend that sort of a treatment.
The worst abuses of authority that I've witnessed here in Canada were idle threats and a dope-slap.
The reason why our legal system is so clean is that we have certain procedures that keep our system clean.
Every time somebody mentions a measure that aims to change that, you'll have a bunch of s***-disturbers like myself cryin' foul. We don't always succeed (like in case of Bill 203), but that won't stop us from throwing more sand onto the slippery slope.
Me thinks there would be some vigilanties waiting for them if that was to happen here.....
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


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by: FiReSTaRT on
Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:31 pm

We're too spineless over here. The government and the corporations can do whatever they want to us and we're just going to shrug the shoulders and say "life sucks."
Now the Frenchies got the right idea.. When the government passed a law that was going to screw young workers out of steady employment, they took to the streets and started rioting. The law got repealed.
Here we get screwed by the cell phone providers, the insurance industry, the ISP's and then our Charter gets raped by 172 and nobody bats an eyelash.
If cops started beating people up at random, most of the population would say "it's for our own safety," make no other statements and take it without Vaseline.
What kind of a man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.


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by: hwybear on
Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:52 pm

FiReSTaRT wrote:We're too spineless over here. The government and the corporations can do whatever they want to us and we're just going to shrug the shoulders and say "life sucks." .
sounds like automotive bailout money!!! too bad for any solo small business owner that needs help, but mismanaged funds of big corps get free handouts
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: Squishy on
Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:19 pm

Hey at least Obama is cracking down, telling Chrysler it's not a viable company. Burrrn :twisted:

Is it true that the "right to bear arms" in the States was to allow for a violent overthrowing of government should they get out of hand? I know I've heard that somewhere.
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by: FiReSTaRT on
Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:23 pm

That's a great example Bear. Here's a couple of specifics on each of the counts that I mentioned..

The Insurance Industry
1) They are whining about being overregulated but then they make dumb investments, lose money and raise premiums across the board.
2) If you call your insurance company and ask them "what if I were involved in a collision and had a $5000 claim" they'll raise your rates as if you have been in a collision.
3) Why in the world do they have access to minor conviction records and who gave them the right to jack up a person's rates 20% over a 5 over ticket?

ISP's
Bell and Rogers are allowed to control what sort of internet content we access by "traffic shaping" a.k.a. throttling. The CRTC's doing jack squat about it.
Speaking of CRTC, they're allowing any bum off the street to buy the national do not call list for $50, which means international call centers dialing via VOIP have a lovely list of active phone numbers. You can't even file a complaint unless you have the (blocked) number and the name of the company (which they refuse to disclose).

Cellular companies
1) Everybody knows about system access fees. Nobody's ever raised a big stink about it.
2) While our providers charge $60 + tax for 3gigs of montly 3g traffic, south of the border they get unlimited for $50. 3 gigs isn't even a week's worth of work for me.
3) Speaking of their insane pricing.. When Fido started offering low flat-rate local service, the other players on the market got together, Rogers took'em over and jacked up the rates.
4) Everywhere else in the world you DO NOT PAY FOR INCOMING CALLS!!!

And don't even get me started on the joke that we call "democracy." Right now it's all about marketing. And do you think the ones providing the big advertising bucks to all major parties give a flying f-word about the average Joe? These days the only reason I vote at all is to say "I most certainly did NOT vote for that idiot."
And those idiots we elect into the office are the cream of the crop. Like MPP Jaczek.. She tried to pass a law prohibiting motorcyclists from taking passengers under 14 years of age, based on the fact that 200 kids got hospitalised IN A DECADE, while ten times as many kids playing hockey get hospitalized IN A SINGLE YEAR.

Ok.. Enough ranting :shock:
What kind of a man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:30 am

Would rather see Chrysler & GM (Ford if it needs it) get restructuring money than any of the financial companies in the US, like AIG, Citibank, Bank of America and the others that performed stunts with other people's money. Especially with the bonuses that were paid!!! At least with a car company, they make a tangible product that someone can use, for a lot of things. What exactly did all of those banks and AIG give consumers when they were gambling on derivative markets and subprime mortgages? Not saying the auto industry doesn't need a shakeup but they deserved taxpayer dollars much more than the main recipients of the bailout funds.
FiReSTaRT wrote:Speaking of CRTC, they're allowing any bum off the street to buy the national do not call list for $50
Yep, they turned the "DO NOT CALL" list into a goat rodeo. The Canadian Consumer's Association is fighting to get the CRTC to do it correctly. Give a bunch of red-tape bureaucrats the responsibility for doing something simple and they'll goof it every time.
FiReSTaRT wrote:Cellular companies
Ours aren't so bad. When I lived in the US I got more than familiar with their cellular companies. They're just as bad (actually worse in most cases) than their Canadian counterparts. They do charge for incoming calls. Even though I used one of the better cellular providers in the US, my cellphone bill is still about 30% lower with my current provider here versus what I was paying there. And the US companies nickle-and-dime you like crazy!!! Not to mention the other services, like cable and land-line phone were priced into the stratosphere and generally their services were half as good as those here. Then there was the power company. Cheap electricity, zero reliability. Every time there was a thunderstorm, I'd lose power, sometimes for up to eight hours. OPG & Hydro One may be a fiasco but at least there's a lot more reliability in the power grid.

Okay rant over...


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by: hwybear on
Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:17 am

Or natural gas/water/hydro

- delivery to us fee
- storage fee
- delivery to you fee
- connection fee

finally the fee for the product itself, which is nothing compared to the above add ons
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: tdrive2 on
Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:21 am

I agree but some times i think police don't realize with already low limits.

You can get dinged a few hundred and face insurance increases for going with the flow of traffic.

I like the idea of the officer's going to court.

As for over time bear i remember you telling me that they usually schedule court appearances when you guys are already on shift?

I assume your days include this. I believe you said OPP HSD shifts are 12 hours each. So i assume this includes time on road, at detachment doing paper work, along with scheduled court appearances.

As i assume in the GTA some aren't happy cause they spend their whole days in court arguing speeding tickets.

This is my theory why i always see more HSD on the weekends but during week i rarely see them. It is my guess they mostly give out tickets over 30 +.

So most people who get a ticket for going over 30 will go to court.

Since the limit is 100, 30 over is more serious and costly so the officer spends a ton of time in court and not on the road.

Unfortunately if those signs said 120 the officers would spend more time on the road, be able to target the faster and slower drivers.

Instead of making criminals out of people for going 120-130 with the flow of traffic and dining with them 20-30 over then they could go after more serious problems and spend less time in court.

If u get someone for going 127,129, 134 , etc they were probably speeding with a group of cars in the left lane.

It is not that this is dangerous but anyone who gets this will go to court. Why not try your chance to save a few hundred bucks.

With the price of tickets and the artificially low limit many more go to court. If the limit was higher, insurance rates not so high, and tickets not so expensive you wouldn't have so many speeders and more people would pay.

I am sure you guys will have something to say back but lets face the fact. People will still do this every single day. No matter what you do people will still travel at 120-130 on the highway and many faster still. So every ticket in this range costs money and insurance.

They will go to court and the officers will be there, if the officer is in court he is not on the road.


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by: hwybear on
Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:51 pm

tdrive2 wrote:They will go to court and the officers will be there, if the officer is in court he is not on the road.
Whether I am on the road or in court I still get paid, does not matter to me.
Rather nice to be in court most days....winter time is warmer in the court, summer is cooler in the court, and I don't get assigned anything else on my task list, b/c I'm not responding to calls.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: tdrive2 on
Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:01 pm

I totally understand from your point of view bear i would say the same thing.

But really you guys are paid for by tax payers to make the roads safer.

We cant blame the OPP for all our problem's i think alot of it comes from the MTO which never gets any blame (speed limits, driver licensing/ education system, Julian Fantino, McGuinty.)

No one ever points the finger at any of them.

The MTO should get on the highways now and re paint some of those lines at night they are getting hard to see they are wearing out.

As far as officers spending time in court i wish they were on the road more dealing with other stuff such as traffic discipline, LANE DISCIPLINE!, aggressive, dangerous trucks.

I mean go take a drive along the 401.

Why are all these trucks going 110 parked in the middle lane with the right lane wide open.

These guys are completely messing with the flow of traffic and turning the left lane into a road rage scene with a bunch of pissed drivers who all have to squeeze into one lane to pass these trucks.

I am really sick of the speed kills thing to. Why is the speed limit the same on all places in Ontario. There is many sections with 3 lanes, safe design, concrete barrier that should have higher speed limits.

The province says we gotta get all the street racers and the kids and punks.

But i have been along the 401 many times with everyone stuck in the left lane riding the next guys ass going 130. There is alot of grey hairs to. Some women various ethnic backgrounds and all types of cars.

What bugs me is we got officers out there who give people tickets for going 125 with the flow of traffic. Then they go to court not on the road, people take time off work, etc.

The whole thing is so unproductive, wasteful and does so little to effect our safety. On the mean while we miss people who are really racing by doing this, people who pay no attention on the road, checking e-mails on their phone, blocking people, plug and clog the roads. Unsafe and late changes.

It sets a bad example to. There is so many dangerous things people do. I even watch my own parents drive them they all believe they are safe because they are not speeding. My Mother does this she hates changing lanes. I try to explain to her that it is necessary to allow the traffic to flow freely. But then ill go with her for a drive and shell sit in the left lane while everyone starts tailgating her and passing on the right, cutting her off etc.

We have plenty of well trained cops, good road design. We already have some of the safest roads in north America.

Why not make them faster, safer, and more efficient at the same time. I wonder if the cops spent less time in court fighting silly charges and out there on the roads looking for bigger fish to fry. Maybee we would also have a more realistic speed limit.

Maybe a la faster limit would mean not the whole road has to be in the left lane. The trucks could freely go a decent speed in the right side, and plenty of others could pass without all having to funnel into the right lanes.

I never understood this whole speed argument. I mean what good does it do to put artificially low limits in place anyways that no one wants to follow and are randomly enforced. It just wreaks with the flow of traffic and ruins the moral hazard of the road. Once people start speeding the rest goes out the window to.

Why do so many people have to be criminals for doing something so small. I mean if you have the flow of traffic and the left lane is going 130 and all following lane discipline with a safe following distance these people are not criminals? What are they doing that is so dangerous?

Every time i get on there and have a good drive and everything goes safe and fine i realize that all these people are "Criminals" and breaking the law. This is nuts.

I also think its nuts if everyone is going at 130 then one guy starts to go 140 to pass the pack but he misses all the people who are tailgating, making unsafe lane changes, not moving over, etc.

Why do trucks always park in the middle lanes. This is one of my pet peeves i think these guys cause a ton of this problem of all the extra volume and tailgating in the left lane.

I think the problem is the trucks see the limit as 100 so they say okay why not go in the middle lane right. But what happens is most people go faster then this. So they all have to shuffle into the left lane. So now the middle lanes and the right lanes are useless from a few slow trucks. They make the road hell on the left side. Everyone has to squeeze into one lane to pass these guys and some people get very upset.

I think its the OPP that have more common sense then the MTO. Why don't you guys discuss some of this with them. I can not be the only one that notices some of this stuff.

I think we have one of the safest, best highway system's in North America. Our 400 series are great the OPP are a good force. So why can't we make them faster, more efficient, and safer at the same time.

I have alot of faith in our roads, if they are working like this already i wonder what a realistic limit that would promote proper lane discipline would do. Along with that maybe some laws that reflect cause and effect properly and a police force with proper resources who would be instructed to look after more serious matters.


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by: Squishy on
Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:28 pm

Speeding is not a criminal act per se. (edit: I'm not using that in the legal definition. I don't even know how to use that in the legal definition.)

What incentive does the MTO have to change the speed limit? Traffic flows above the limit; things just "work". Get everyone to follow the limit, and maybe we'll have traffic backlogs in urban areas which makes it hard for the MTO to ignore. Maybe traffic will flow just fine at 100 km/h - in that case, what's the hurry?
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by: tdrive2 on
Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:51 pm

Not at all. It does not flow fine.

The 100 limit wreaks havoc on lane discipline.

I don't think we have good lane discipline and a real speed limit when every vehicle on the road is going 15 over and they are crammed into the 2 left lanes trying to pass a bunch of slow moving vehicles in the middle lane who are scared to drive in the right lane.

I think they would work alot better. Maybe some paint to end the ending right lanes, some brighter re painted lines where they are fading, some big signs on all the over passes reminding people to move right except when passing.

And perhaps a more realistic limit 110,120,130. Then just maybe some of those trucks might stay in the right lane, not every vehicle will exceed the limit, we wont have a pile of tailgaters all plugged in the left lane, and we would get places faster.

Then maybe to those who feel frightened to drive fast might stay off our roads along with the fact the officers might have a better chance at being able to look at those who disobey lane discipline. With a more realistic limit not ever vehicle will have to be in the passing lane, and those who speed and really do dangerous things would stick out alot more and give the officers a better chance to go for the bigger fish to fry.

Driving on the 401 on a Sunday from London to Toronto i would say sometimes is anything but proper lane discipline. You got everyone in the left lane trying to go 120-140 with no one in the right lane and all the trucks in the middle of the road trying to go 110. Then they gotta fit into the left lane to pass the slow trucks so you end up with a massive tailgating party in the left lane except there is no beer, no football, and no hot dogs.

Even Cam Wooley himself thinks the GTA has pathetic lane discipline!

As for people going 100. Well it happens in the GTA where 3 lanes cant handle it all, so it's either traffic or they're is an officer in a marked car. That may be the only time people will drive the speed limit, and i mean the majority of the drivers.

Our speed limits make no sense i mean come on.

The King Street Bypass has the same posted speed limit as the 401. Its twisty hilly, dangerous and goes down a small little poorly lit bridge that is squeezed into 2 lanes. And this is safe?

The DVP has a posted speed limit of 90 it is twisty, has a ton of volume, many curves, heights, etc and this is safe at only 10 km/hr less than the 401 to Montreal?

We have city streets with posted limits of 70 and 80. They have lights, intersections, bus stops, and pedestrians that dart across the road all the time? This is safe come on.

I feel a hell of alot safer going 140 something on the 401 at 3 am then i do driving downtown Toronto at 60 km/hr.

We have crappy 2 lane highways with poor design, visibility, nothing to stop trucks from flying through the middle, and these roads have posted limits of 90 only 10 km/hr less than a 3 lane expressway with a concrete median that is well lit?

I mean common let's compare the king Street bypass or Hwy 7/8 In Kitchener to the 407. The 407 only has 10 km/hr more posted thats nuts. I cant be the only one that notices this.

I mean look at the king street bypass vs the 400 or the 407. How can these roads possibly have the same posted limit?

Who sets our limits anyways? Atleast in kitchener they use round abouts those work very well in those low to mid volume areas.


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