Advice to presenting case

MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Advice to presenting case

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

I'm going to preface this with a little concern....I know that at least one moderator on this forum is likely a co-worker of the officer who tagged me. I'm hoping that by being involved here, this moderator is already acting unbiased towards incidents he/she is not directly involved in. Also hoping that the moderator is not this officer in particular.....

Anyway, I got pulled over doing 135 in a 100 zone on the 401 near London, ON. Yes, yes. I didn't do it. I actually DIDN'T do it. Everyone who has GPS knows that some of them keep a log of MAX speed. And, yes, I know that GPS is not valid defense against radar etc, and I do know that they can be reset. I do it every morning before I go to work. I didn't do it this time, and have pictures to prove my max speed (115 max all the way from Newmarket to this point).

I have no intention of taking the GPS to court (has been turned off ever since just in case) because it would obviously provide evidence of speeding. I also plan to select option 3, challenge etc. I plan to ask for full disclosure as well. I have a couple of questions. BUT, first the details (I took notes immediately after the officer left my window to go write the ticket):

1. The picture shows the exact location (plus or minus a few feet) of where and how the OPP cruiser (Crown Vic) was parked and what they would see looking out the drivers window. These lanes are westbound.
2. The officer's first comment to me was "I clocked you going 135 at the top of the hill. Do you have your license....." etc etc etc. Look at the top of the hill (far one, not the close one). That point is ~1.3km away (~4200 ft). I measured twice with 2 different cars and averaged the distance.
3. I haven't yet measured elevations, but suffice to say, a car will descend out of sight of this cruiser before re-appearing over the second hill just past the sign.
4. Immediately west of this location is a long incline past an inspection station which is at the top of a hill (at least 15-20 metres vertical elevation by my guess-timate) and then another long descent into the famous Elgin Road valley of OPP. I was pulled over more than 5 km from where the officer was lasing the highway (almost at Elgin road exit). I will re-measure to be sure, but I am 100% sure that I was out of sight more than once between being clocked and being pulled over. There was a similar amount of traffic continuously passing to what is in the photo and similar weather conditions.
5. When I was "clocked" (crested the hill) I was in lane 1, there was an F150 up my chuff and about 2 car lengths in front of me (having just passed me) was a silver Acura TL (I even got his marker and a photo of him, mostly because I was thinking about phoning him in for previous shenanigans a km or so prior to this) in Lane 2. I'm guessing this is the car that got lased, not me. Could have been traffic going the other way given the distance and incline maybe?

When the officer handed me my ticket, the conversation went exactly like this (wrote it down):
Me: Can I ask you a couple of questions?
OPP: What?
Me: The radar you used. Was it fixed or....
OPP: <interrupting me> I got you with Laser. You can ask all the questions you want in court. Have a nice day. <walks away>
Me: <yells out the window> And you have a super day too! Thank you! <looks more sarcastic than it was>

My questions:

What is the procedure that must be followed when doing a traffic stop? Can the OPP lase-away with abandon checking everyone or is there some sort of estimation (probable cause) required before using a laser or radar gun? Wouldn't blazing away with the laser contravene the Charter of Rights being tantamount to random searches? I know that there is an exception for RIDE spot-checks, but no others that I know of.

Any advice on how or even whether I should bother persuing this? I drive about 60-80,000km annually for work, so to get a 4 pointer would definitely cause me grief beyond the insurance hike. Should I try to plea bargain? Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
Attachments
radar point.jpg
radar point.jpg (225.22 KiB) Viewed 1383 times


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

Oh...just for grins, I've had 4 GPS units on my dash simultaneously (2 different manufacturers) and checked speed versus my dashboard from stop to 115 kms and all are within a hair of the speedo in my car.

Last question. What are the make/models of the laser units that OPP in this area use? I have manuals for many of them already, but want to be sure I have the correct one.


Stanton
High Authority
High Authority
Posts: 2111
Joined:
Location: Ontario

Unread post by Stanton on

1) No, there is no charter violation whatsoever.

2) There would certainly be nothing wrong with pursuing the matter. At the very least you're likely to get a plea deal to a lesser speed/fine. If you feel the disclosure doesn't accurately cover the issues you've raised, it may be worth going to trial.

3) Don't know, but the actual laser model used should be provided in disclosure.


User avatar
hwybear
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2933
Joined:
Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!

Moderator

Unread post by hwybear on

MagnaRGP wrote:I'm going to preface this with a little concern....I know that at least one moderator on this forum is likely a co-worker of the officer who tagged me. I'm hoping that by being involved here, this moderator is already acting unbiased towards incidents he/she is not directly involved in. Also hoping that the moderator is not this officer in particular.....
if you are referring to me, there is no need to have any concern at all, I have been on this forum almost since day one. I routinely ask other moderators and admin to pay close attention to my posts. I am neither pro or con towards questions, i remain on the fence so to speak, just try to add in 2 cents that some might not think of...
1. The picture shows the exact location (plus or minus a few feet) of where and how the OPP cruiser (Crown Vic) was parked and what they would see looking out the drivers window. These lanes are westbound. / / I was pulled over more than 5 km from where the officer was
I would wait for your disclosure to see where the cruiser was, the reason is after a distance before you were stopped, was there another overpass that you might have went by and the officer was at it and you now have photo at wrong location? Possibly the disclosure might show a distance when you were targetted, which could be 250m, which is the closest location, rather than the far hill, therefore all the pictures, etc is not applicable?
Could have been traffic going the other way given the distance and incline maybe?.
the lidar would show a negative sign to the operator, indicating it was a vehicle travelling the other way.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

I didn't think that there was a worry based on what I have read, but you never know. This officer could be a good friend...thanks for the reassurance.

As for the overpass, I pulled over east of the next overpass (right in front of the OPC sign before the exit, ironically) and there isn't one for quite some time prior to this location.

When disclosure comes, does it regularly show the distance that the reading was taken? And what about the procedures for using the laser-gun? Does there have to be some sort of "probable cause" (ie that car looks like it's speeding, so I will take a measurement) or can an arbitrary spot on the highway be blasted constantly?


User avatar
hwybear
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2933
Joined:
Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!

Moderator

Unread post by hwybear on

MagnaRGP wrote:When disclosure comes, does it regularly show the distance that the reading was taken? And what about the procedures for using the laser-gun? Does there have to be some sort of "probable cause" (ie that car looks like it's speeding, so I will take a measurement) or can an arbitrary spot on the highway be blasted constantly?
probable cause = too many USA tv shows :wink:

An officer using laser is experienced in traffic enforcement, he/she will visually monitor traffic, then observe a vehicle speeding, then activate the laser on the vehicle that was observed and obtain a speed reading.
To monitor traffic daily in being able to tell a vehicle's speed becomes very easy and very obvious, and I mean for the different speeds, not just speeding in general. To get somewhat of a perspective, if you can find a safe location, just sit and watch traffic, within 10-20min you can probably tell which vehicle you think is in the different speeds and at what rate of speed, now put those observations into a officer that is out there day/night with a tool that can display a speed and those skills become honed more and more each day/night. Not only honed, but have the skill to know that a vehicle is going 117 (wont bother with obtaining a numerical value from a radar/lidar) and same skill to see another vehicle going 129 (then activate the unit and obtain a numerical speed reading) thus confirming the observations.

I do not know of an officer that does not but a distance in his/her notes when using lidar.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

Sorry for using the TV show term, I make no claims to knowing what the correct terminology is. :)

So, what you are saying is that the officer has to make a judgment (and I am in no way planning on disputing an officer's ability to do so), then raise the lidar up, press the trigger and obtain the reading (yes, I know that reading is almost instantaneous). Is this correct? Is there a written procedure for this that I can ask for in my disclosure request?

Let's face it. I have driven the 401 so regularly over the past 6 years, I can probably tell anyone where the speed-traps are most likely to be at any point between Brockville and the 402. If you look at the photo (you've probably manned that very point yourself) when a car or group crests that first hill you would have about 1 second or less to determine that a car is speeding, raise up the gun and pull the trigger. At that distance, (by my calculations) the beam has a diameter of ~12.5'. This means that (given the swift motion required to raise the gun, aim and fire) if the officer was able to hit my license plate with accuracy, the beam would, with 100% certainty, extend into lane 2 (given an 11' wide lane and me being approximately centered in the lane) and also target the Acura which was directly in front of me. It could also possibly etxtend across my roofline (descending, remember) to the F150 that was practically scratching my rear bumper and register against that vehicle too. In theory, of course.

Further at that distance ("...going 135 the top of the hill..."), every 0.1 degree of mis-aiming would result in an error of ~7.33' at the far end (again, by my calculations and anyone please feel free to correct my math). with that margin of error, how can there not be reasonable doubt that my car is the one that registered the speed?

As to your suggestion, I did just that on the day I obtained that photograph. I plan to do it again with a camera to simulate what the officer would be doing.

As you can probably guess by now, I am not intending to disparage the officer's skills or credentials (I will ask for proof of them) unless disclosure reveals something. I'm more looking to suggest that a reasonable possibility exists that an error was made in the presumption that MY car was lasered rather than the car next to or behind me. This is a simple error that could happen to anyone (not discrediting the officer's ability or skills in any way) made all the more possible if the officer is well into his/her shift by this point and fatigued from doing this for some time already. You folks may me good, but you're not super-human.

If I did speed, I would just pay the fine and move on. I got radar-ed on the 401 in Leeds and Grenville about 7 years ago doing 123. Hoping the officer wouldn't show I opted for trial and was offered a plea of 115 before even being asked what my intent was and accepted (obviously not the best choice in retrospect). I have no problem with admitting error, but in this case, it wasn't me. The standard questionable proofs apply here of course -- cruise, speedo, GPS records but what else do I have to judge my speed by? Ambient traffic flow? That would be easily be 120 on this day and so this is why I'm going to fight it. Nothing to lose but about $30 extra in administrative fees. Frankly, if offered a plea of 115 plus a huge fine, I would take it, simply because I can show that this is a speed that I did reach at some point on my journey. If my GPS is sufficient evidence to prove me guilty of speeding, then it should be sufficient evidence to prove me not-guilty of speeding at the rate at which I am alleged to have gone.

Thoughts? I do thank you and appreciate your, and anyone else's opinions.


User avatar
hwybear
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2933
Joined:
Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!

Moderator

Unread post by hwybear on

MagnaRGP wrote: If you look at the photo (you've probably manned that very point yourself)

big ole negative, never worked that area
when a car or group crests that first hill you would have about 1 second or less to determine that a car is speeding, raise up the gun and pull the trigger. At that distance, (by my calculations) the beam has a diameter of ~12.5'.
Beam is 30cm per 100m distance. (ie: 500m = 1.5m wide, 1km = 3.0m wide) and a lane of 400 series is usually 3.75m wide.
This means that (given the swift motion required to raise the gun, aim and fire) if the officer was able to hit my license plate with accuracy, the beam would, with 100% certainty, extend into lane 2 (given an 11' wide lane and me being approximately centered in the lane) and also target the Acura which was directly in front of me. It could also possibly etxtend across my roofline (descending, remember) to the F150 that was practically scratching my rear bumper and register against that vehicle too. In theory, of course.
A majority of officers watch the traffic thru the "scope" on the lidar (variety of magnification, pending on unit) therefore no raising of the gun. There is either a dot and/or crosshair to directly put the beam on an individual vehicle. The lidar will not provide a reading if more than one vehicle is within the beam at once.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

So now that I've chosen to fight, do I wait to receive a notice of trial or file immediately for disclosure? Here's what I plan to ask for (knowing I wont get it all):

1. Speed measuring device manufacturer, model, serial number, certification history, repair history and owners/operators manual.
2. Copy of officers notes for the entire shift (redacted to remove private information of other people) and a translation of any abbreviations used within said notes (pertaining to this specific alleged offence). Typewritten if illegible.
3. Copy of and/or transcripts of any recordings (photographic, audio, audio-visual) taken by any means from such time as the action began to the time the officer departed the scene.
4. Copy of written procedures/pertinent portions of Standard Operating Procedures pertaining to conducting a speed trap.

Anything else? I am going to be out of the country early next year (booked and paid for in July of this year), so I fully expect that the date will be smack in the middle of this time period. When and how do I ask for the date to be changed if this happens?

@hwybear: any idea what the laser gun model is likely to be? I have several manuals already, but want to be sure that I have the correct one(s).

Thanks


User avatar
hwybear
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2933
Joined:
Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!

Moderator

Unread post by hwybear on

MagnaRGP wrote: @hwybear: any idea what the laser gun model is likely to be? I have several manuals already, but want to be sure that I have the correct one(s).
There are a few different ones in the field and some might even others that I am unaware of
- Marksman LTI 20-20
- Ultralyte
- Laser Atlanta Speed Laser
having said that, manuals do change from time to time
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


User avatar
Radar Identified
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2881
Joined:
Location: Toronto

Moderator

Unread post by Radar Identified on

You'll probably get the manual and the notes. The SOP might be made available, can't say for sure. If the OPP procedures differ from the manufacturer's manual then they should be made available to you (R. v. Lorna Bourget case from the Northwest Territories).

FYI as hwybear said the officer will typically monitor traffic through the scope on the LIDAR, form an opinion that a vehicle is exceeding the speed limit based on that observation (the term you're looking for is "reasonable grounds") and then activate the device to confirm the visual observation. It is long-settled precedent that the police cannot just fire away with the radar or laser until one of the readings exceeds a certain number and then pull the person over. The visual observation by the officer must be done first ("tracking history").
* 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


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

WOW this is old....updating with current status and questions. Also going to include the response (almost verbatim) so others can get an idea of what to expect.

I received my notice of trial on Oct 23rd -- Trial date is 28 March 2012. Sent in my disclosure request via registered mail on 1 Nov with the following request:

1. Speed measuring device manufacturer, model, serial number, certification history, repair history and owners/operators manual.
2. Copy of officer’s notes for the entire shift as they pertain to traffic enforcement (redacted to remove private information of other alleged offenders) and a translation of any abbreviations used within said notes (pertaining to this specific alleged offence) such that a layperson can understand what he/she is reading. These notes to be typewritten if illegible.
3. Copy of and/or transcripts of any recordings (photographic, audio, audio-visual) taken by any means from such time as the engagement of my alleged offence began to the time the officer departed the scene.
4. Copy of portions of OPP Middlesex/London Standard Operating Procedures Manuals and/or “Rules of Engagement” pertaining to conducting a speed trap (including any requirements for operation of speed measuring devices and procedures for establishing reasonable grounds prior to using such devices).

Just received my disclosure in the mail today and here is what it contained:
BEGIN QUOTE

In your letter, sent Nov 1st, 2011, you requested disclosure on the following items, namely (paraphrased):
1) Speed detection device's Make, Model, Serial #;
2) Speed detection device's "certification history";
3) Speed detection device's repair history;
4) Speed detection device's owner/operator manual;
5) Copy of officer's notes relating to all traffic matters;
6) Translation of any abbreviations within notes;
7) Copy of any records made at roadside; and
8) Copy of "OPP Middlesex/London Standard Operating Procedures Manuals and/or Rules of Engagement"";

In response to your request, enclosed with this letter are the notes of the officer as well as the testing procedures for the device. With respect to the enumerated request above:
1) These items are listed in the notes attached with this letter;
2) The testing times of the device are included in the notes of the officer;
3) We believe the historical information of the device is irrelevant to the charge at hand and hence will not be disclosed. If you wish to review the historical documents, they are available to be viewed at the local OPP detachment;
4) Included are the testing procedures. The remainder of the manual is available to be viewed at the local OPP detachment;
5) Matters not in regard to your offence are irrelevant and hence will not be produced;
6) Abbreviations include (list of abbreviations, not reproduced)
7) To our knowledge, the extent of the disclosure is the officer's notes included with this letter; and
8) We deem this document, if in existence, are irrelevant to the charge at hand and hence will not be produced.

We recognize our ongoing responsibility to provide relevant disclosure and it is our position that we have satisfied this responsibility. I trust the foregoing is satisfactory. In the event that it is not, you have the option to bring a motion for particulars if you wish.
Thank you.

Sincerely,

END QUOTE

Attached were the following:

1) 4 pages (including cover) photocopy of the Laser Atlanta Speed Laser Users guide showing 5 tests (including description) and multiple procedures for more than one of the tests.
2) a photocopy of the original ticket with the following (redacted by me) typewritten on a lined margin (and signed by the officer):

2011-09-07 : While running Laser on 401 Highway at Putnam Rd, I observed a <my car type>, bearing ON PL: <my plate> travelling at a high rate of speed W/B in L1. Vehicle locked on Laser at 223.03m at 135kph in a posted 100 KPH zone. Laser Atlanta Speed Laser sr# <number> tested as per manufacturer's instructions at ________hrs & ____________hrs. (both blanks handwritten times)

So if anyone is still awake by this point, any opinions?
Is this sufficient disclosure? (I don't think so)
Is that REALLY all the detail that is in the notes? Nothing about weather, traffic conditions etc? Perhaps a more specific location? Number of occupants in the vehicle?
Intentionally vague so as to leave room for "...I don't recall..." if questioned about detail on the witness stand; which would basically turn this into a my word vs the police scenario (guaranteed no-win since any "proof" I could conceivably be expected to produce would be circumstantial at best, and I DO have some includ).

Does anyone have any suggestions about other info that I could/should request or have been provided with my original request.

I thank all in advance, and wish all readers (and posters) a Merry and safe Christmas.


Stanton
High Authority
High Authority
Posts: 2111
Joined:
Location: Ontario

Unread post by Stanton on

In my opinion they’ve provided exactly what the Courts would expect them to. If you go to Court and present a good argument, you may be able to obtain some additional disclosure, but you’ll likely have to explain why it’s required for your defence. I could see you getting the full manual, possibly repair records, but I can’t see you getting info relating to other stops made by the officer.

As for the officer notes, I doubt they’re intentionally vague. The reality is that traffic stops are such a regular occurrence, that many officers don’t see the need to record every detail. The more serious the offence, the more notes that an officer will make. Impaired driver? Half a notebook. Speeding driver? Half a page. Not saying the offence isn’t serious to you, but that’s just the reality for most police. I rarely see speeding notes that consist of more than the main facts in issue. Personally I’d agree that traffic conditions could be relevant, but number of passengers has little bearing on the offence and not really needed in the notes.


MagnaRGP
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined:

Unread post by MagnaRGP on

but number of passengers has little bearing on the offence and not really needed in the notes.
I would agree with you, however, MY passenger(s), who will likely testify as a witness(es) and will vouch for the fact that I am not speeding.

So here is some of what I intend to do:

1. When the officer is called, I will object to him/her reading from notes until independent recollection of events is tested. I want to ask a couple of questions pertaining to details to ensure he/she is a witness, and not just reading notes
2. After the testimony, I intend to question regarding the "tests performed as per manufacturers instructions", and some other details that I have noticed missing
3. Once it's my turn to present, I will call my passenger(s), and myself to testify and present my case.

Basically, I hope to create a reasonable doubt as to ME being tagged vs other traffic.

thanks Stanton for the opinion. I value thoughts and insights of others.






Post Reply

Return to “Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h”