How to approach this not wearing a seatbelt ticket in court

thestig
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How to approach this not wearing a seatbelt ticket in court

by: thestig on
Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:24 pm

Situation: Just finished exercising and playing baseball at the park with a friend. Mentally and physically drained, we walk to our cars in the parking lot. As we get to our cars, friend drives by, sees us and stops on the side of the road. Invites us over to his pool. We hurriedly agree and start the drive to his house.

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A combination of the exercise and sweat pouring off my body, the surprise of seeing a friend and inviting us over, the salivating temptations of a pool and subconsciously knowing that his house is right around the corner led me to not put my seatbelt on. All 3 of us had cars and me being the first one out of the park lot led me to be the first one to be seen by the police officer at the corner of summers and confederation.

Pulled in front of my friends house and he was next to me within ten seconds. Asks me for my license and registration and waits for me to get out of my car and give it to him (Odd? Or just lazy?). Thought because of that he might let me off with a warning, but no. Told him how we were just at the park down the street, but he was hearing none of it. Wrote me a ticket and then drove off.


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I was looking at the strategies on ticketcombat.com and amateurishly concluded that my best defence is the due diligence approach. Physically drained + the surprise of seeing a friend + the surprise of the pool offering + the known proximity of his house led me to just get in my car and drive. That combined with my clean record in my 8 years prior of driving would be my main arguments and then move on to how the ticket would not prove any benefit to the community or myself as it was a momentary lapse in judgement, and not a wilful disobedient act against the law.


Please save the "man up and pay the ticket" comments that I have seen on a lot of similar sites about people asking for advice. All I'm looking for is advice on how to defend myself in court because I will be taking option 3.


iFly55
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by: iFly55 on
Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:18 am

thestig wrote:I was looking at the strategies on ticketcombat.com and amateurishly concluded that my best defence is the due diligence approach. Physically drained + the surprise of seeing a friend + the surprise of the pool offering + the known proximity of his house led me to just get in my car and drive. That combined with my clean record in my 8 years prior of driving would be my main arguments and then move on to how the ticket would not prove any benefit to the community or myself as it was a momentary lapse in judgement, and not a wilful disobedient act against the law.
I don't believe you properly read ticketcombat, what you're describing is not a due diligence defence.
To argue due diligence, you must show that you took all reasonable care to avoid committing the offence. It is not enough to say that you are normally a diligent person or that you take care generally. You must show that you took all reasonable steps to avoid that specific incident.
I would say, you would need to have torn your shoulder muscles at the gym and were driving to the hospital... maybe have a gunshot wound, again driving to the hospital and were unable to lock your seat-belt.

Going hard at the gym and lack of situational awareness upon meeting a friend does not amount to a due diligence defence. You're basically telling the courts you were too tired and couldn't be bothered to wear your seat belt. They will not entertain your defence; they take seat-belt offences very seriously. The courts are uninterested in your clean record. They're more concerned about road safety and the # of people who die each year due to not wearing seat-belts.

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Recently Ontario's top court (COURT OF APPEAL) has ruled that drivers are afforded a due diligence defence in rare cases for seat-belt offences.

R. v. Wilson, 2014 ONCA 212
[4] Mr. Wilson testified that he had placed a coffee in a cup holder in the backseat of his car. While driving, he noticed the coffee was spilling on his laptop. When the officer observed him, he had just pulled up to a stop sign and removed his seatbelt so he could straighten the coffee cup.

[5] The Justice of the Peace interrupted Mr. Wilson’s testimony and told him that his evidence made him guilty of the offence as it was one of absolute liability. Mr. Wilson went on to say that there was no other traffic around and at the time, it was his intention to re-engage the seatbelt as soon as he fixed the coffee cup. The Justice of the Peace found Mr. Wilson guilty.

[33] Holding s. 106(2) to be an offence of strict liability comports with the wisdom of Sault Ste. Marie by enabling efficient and effective enforcement of Page: 15 important public safety legislation while avoiding the injustice of no-fault liability. The prosecution need only prove that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. As this court stated in Kanda, at para. 31, “[s]trict liability is what its name implies – a serious commitment to enforcement of the law.” But in the admittedly rare case where the driver has done his or her best to comply, the injustice of conviction without fault is avoided.

[34] I wish to emphasize that because of the way this case came to us, we are not asked to decide whether Mr. Wilson’s evidence at trial made out a due diligence defence. It is common ground that as he was precluded from advancing that argument before the Justice of the Peace at trial, if the Justice of the Peace was wrong in concluding that the offence was one of absolute liability, a new trial would be required. A defence of due diligence to this charge would only be made out where, although the driver was found not wearing his or her seat belt when driving, the driver had taken all reasonable care to wear the seat belt. As Doherty J.A. stated in Raham, at para. 48, citing Kurtzman at para. 37, “a due diligence defence is not made out by acting generally in a reasonable way”.
This is a case where a driver took all reasonable steps to wear his seat-belt. In your case, you were essentially too tired and couldn't be bothered to wear your seat-belt.

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http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statut ... quote]Seat belts

Use of seat belt assembly by driver
(2) Every person who drives on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly is provided for the driver shall wear the complete seat belt assembly as required by subsection (5). 2006, c. 25, s. 1.

How to wear seat belt assembly
(5) A seat belt assembly shall be worn so that,
(a) the pelvic restraint is worn firmly against the body and across the hips;
(b) the torso restraint, if there is one, is worn closely against the body and over the shoulder and across the chest;
(c) the pelvic restraint, and the torso restraint, if there is one, are securely fastened; and
(d) no more than one person is wearing the seat belt assembly at any one time. 2006, c. 25, s. 1.[/quote]Most police agencies in Ontario have zero tolerance policies for seat-belts and cellphones, which is why he didn't give you a break.

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I suggest choosing option 3, wait for your notice of trial in the mail. Once you get your trial date, request disclosure (officers notes). Review the notes and go from there.


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