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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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when fighting a ticket, can they do this...?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:19 pm 
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Hello,

I got a ticket today which was reduced to '15 over' (no points). I think the actual speed was 70-something in a 50 (speed trap on a main road during rush hour...grr...)

I called a traffic ticket hotline thing and asked them some questions regarding fighting the ticket. They said that because the ticket was reduced, it is not worth fighting because if I lose, the prosecution or the officer can re-write the ticket in the original amount - in otherwords if I chose to fight this 15-over ticket and lose, they can give me a much higher ticket with 3 points.

Can anyone verify this claim? If anyone knows the answer and can back it up with documentation that would be great..I don't want to take any chances with this as points on my license would really mess me up.


Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:45 pm 
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Yes they can do that and do it all the time. A recent decision in the court of appeals upheld that ability too. So, either pay the ticket or take your chances.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:46 am 
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The higher charge won't affect your record with the insurance company any worse than the reduced charge. If you have under 6 demerits and don't want a conviction on your record, fight it. If you don't mind having a conviction on your record (which your insurance company will use to raise your rates especially if you have another one, even if it's for 5 over the limit) pay the reduced fine. If you'd like to keep your record clean, take it to court.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 am 
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FiReSTaRT wrote:
The higher charge won't affect your record with the insurance company any worse than the reduced charge. If you have.


each insurance company is different, check yours.

I know I pay a little extra each year to be given a "grace" ticket and a "grace collision".

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:42 am 
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Regardless, the ticket will be considered a "minor conviction." Some companies do let one slide. Some claim to let one slide but they eliminate your "conviction-free discount." Some immediately raise your rate. Last time I paid a ticket (without the intention to appeal) was when I got a 5 over ticket, while I still had a 10 over ticket. My rates went up significantly. (*)
My take on it is that if I drive around with a clean record, I have the peace of mind that my insurance won't go up (or at least won't go up by a lot) if I do get charged and convicted for something.

(*) At the time, due to my age/gender I was already paying more for a compact sedan than I'm paying now for a car and a 600cc supersport bike, so the 15-20% insurance rate increase was a big deal.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:06 am 
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thanks guys. I'm still waiting to talk to my insurance to see what their policy is. I'm thinking of fighting it though, and I would love to get some advice based on these facts:

First of all, I want to ask for some sort of proof or evidence that the gun was targeted at me, and not the person in the lane next to me where traffic was moving much faster. Does this seem like a reasonable approach, and what should I expect? The reasons for this are as follows.

I have been having issues with my clutch slipping recently, and am in the process of getting it repaired. Because of this I have had to be extra careful not to accelerate quickly and risk doing further damage to the car. So I have been watching my speed even more than usual. The officers were located 300m from the intersection where I turned on to the road. I had to come to a complete stop and was waiting to turn left, which means that in order for me to have been going 70-something like they claim they clocked me at, I would have had to have accelerated quite quickly in order to get to that speed within 150 metres (or whatever the range for a radar gun is, minus the 300 m distance they were from the intersection where I turned on to the road). Given the fact that I was driving very passively due to my clutch, and also given that this trap was set up at an area about 2 minutes from my home, and is a known speed trap location, where I see the trap every week, it doesn't make sense that I would have been going that fast. I know the officer's word is taken as the truth, so if he says he clocked me going xxx then the court will believe he clocked me going at xxx. How am I supposed to fight this?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:47 am 
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Many people get caught in an enforcement zone they KNOW exists. Was the officer using laser or radar? What proof or evidence do you want from the officer? The only evidence you're going to get is his/her statement that he pointed the radar/laser at your car.


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Speeding Tickets
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:41 am 
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Speeding tickets are considered an absolute liability offences. What it means is that if prosecution proves that you exceeded speed limit, it is not open to the defendant to exonerate him/herself by explaining yes, I was speeding because.......
A defence of nesessity is still applicable to speeding offences and is a difficult task. In most speeding tickets nesessity is not an issue.

So, returning to your comment what needs to be proven in court.

1. Police officer has to be qualified to operate a particular device (Laser / Radar)
2. The device has to be operated in accordance with manufacturer's speciffications (testing, observations, etc).

All of the above information is open to cross-examination in court. If you manage to establish an inconsistency - you are in good spot.


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Re: Speeding Tickets
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:32 pm 
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Traffic Law wrote:
All of the above information is open to cross-examination in court. If you manage to establish an inconsistency - you are in good spot.


This is very difficult though.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:56 am 
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Hey guys,

thanks for the info so far. Here's one more question though. If I opt for trial and ask for disclosure, and when I receive it I am satisfied that everything is in order, proper procedure was followed, etc, can I at that point change my plea and avoid the court session? Or would I go to court still and just plead guilty right away? Is this a reasonable thing to do or would the judge likely throw the book at me for 'wasting the court's time'?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:48 am 
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Actually, if you show up in court, everything was ok with the disclosure and the cop shows up, you can plead guilty and probably get a reduced fine, for not wasting any more of court's time 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:53 am 
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FiReSTaRT wrote:
Actually, if you show up in court, everything was ok with the disclosure and the cop shows up, you can plead guilty and probably get a reduced fine, for not wasting any more of court's time 8)

The fine was already reduced, the only reason I am not 100% certain about going to court is because I am afraid the prosecutor might raise the charge back to the original amount (which has points with it). Although, I feel that since it is my right to fight the charge, having the prosecutor move to revert the charge to the original non-reduced amount violates my right to dispute / fight the ticket in the reduced amount...does it not?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:54 pm 
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apparently_speeding wrote:
Although, I feel that since it is my right to fight the charge, having the prosecutor move to revert the charge to the original non-reduced amount violates my right to dispute / fight the ticket in the reduced amount...does it not?


The Crown has the ability to bring the speed back up to the original speed. Court of Appeal ruling 3-0 in favour of Crown "ammending up" the offence to the original speed.

Here is the thread on the case:
http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/topic1393.html

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:12 pm 
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You can enter a guilty plea at any time. If you decide to appear at your trial date and plea guilty to the ticket "as is" it is open to you. At that point prosecution or Justice of the Peace cannot interfere or disallow your intention to plead guilty.

Prosecution may ask for the speed to be amended only if you shoose to conduct a trial.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:30 pm 
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Traffic Law wrote:
You can enter a guilty plea at any time. If you decide to appear at your trial date and plea guilty to the ticket "as is" it is open to you. At that point prosecution or Justice of the Peace cannot interfere or disallow your intention to plead guilty.

Prosecution may ask for the speed to be amended only if you shoose to conduct a trial.


alright, thanks guys, I really appreciate the advice. I guess I just have to decide if it's worth fighting and taking my chances or not. Still worried the charge will be raised back to the original if I don't make my decisions properly etc...

13 days left to decide :/


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