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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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[HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 4:54 am 
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 10:11 pm
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Hello! I was ticketed at 10PM for going 30km over the 100km/h limit on Highway 401 on Tuesday, April 30th. I am being fined $220 for the ticket, and I am coming here to see what I should do about it. I have never been ticketed for any driving violation before, and do not have any legal training or experience in my life. (I'm an 18 y.o. uni student). I don't want to pay the fine because I don't really have the means to do so (no direct income to my name), and I don't want the possible 4 demerit points on my record or the possible increase in my insurance premium.

I SHOULD MENTION BEFORE CONTINUING- Honestly, I WAS going faster than 100km/h (the speed limit) when I got booked (about 130). A part of me is saying that I should just pay up the fine and live with the consequences (I now play a game of sticking EXACTLY to the speed limit when I drive- hilarious when I go 30km/h on the on-ramps with traffic behind me). However, there are some points to my case that make me question if I should try to fight this case. As well, personally, I don't believe a first-time offender should be charged as much as a non-first time offender.
-As well, I really appreciate the responses and support!

Summary of Events
I was on the left lane of the 401, going about 130km/h. I was ahead by a little from the pack of cars that were in the area. I think I saw one patrol car before (I think it was the one that marks the cars for the cop that books you), and it didn't occur to me that it could've been a cop. Then I passed under a bridge, and saw headlights flash on to my right, and pull out behind me. I slowed down as fast as possible, but by then, his lights were on. He signaled me to the right bank (I thought he would just stop me on the left lane), and I complied. I didn't turn off my engine, but rolled my window down all the way. I didn't expect the cop to go to the passenger side window (also, my friend was in the car). So he did, and I rolled down the window on the passenger side. His first sentence to me was: "Easier to talk with the window down".

Here's where it gets a bit tricky. He asks me: "Do you know how fast you were going?" And out of panic (never got pulled over before), I splurted: "Uhh, maybe 130?" but I never explicitly stated that I knew how fast I was going, just my guess. (does this mean I'm doomed? :( :( :( ) He said he clocked me at 137km, but did not show me the radar. He got my license/registration/insurance, went back to his car, and then came back with the ticket. He said: "I can't let you go with a warning, but I did take $60 off the ticket already". I asked "Sir, can I disagree with you on this?" and he said "Absolutely", and I asked why it was so expensive, to which he responded with only: "Well, it could be higher." I left the scene really mad at his attitude. I don't believe my actions warrant a fine that large. (Conditions were nice, it was nighttime, but dry, no wind, etc.) Do I have a case?? A point here is that he said that because my car had previous tickets on it (from my mom and dad), the fines for me, when I drive the car, is also increased. Is this true?

My Defense
- The only thing I can think of is banking on lack of evidence (no calibration report, etc) to get the case thrown out.
- If the cop doesn't have proof that he calibrated the gun before/(After?) the ticket, can I say that my own opinion on how fast I was going can be disregarded as well? (e.g. make the case that I was just guessing how fast I was going, since neither of us have proof of how fast I was actually going)
- I know you might be thinking "This kid just wants to get out of his ticket" yes and no. I do believe I should be punished somehow, but I also disagree with the context that I was ticketed, and believe that someone speeding 30k over in a highly packed area should not be ticketed the same as a driver who went a bit faster than the limit on a clear, no traffic highway lane.

Notes
-My car was packed to the brim with my dorm room things, as I was travelling from London to Toronto, but I did have my two side mirrors fully functioning (was using these to switch lanes)
-I had a passenger in the car that can remember what the cop said too
-It's my dad's car, and my insurance is tied to my parents' insurance as well.
-The cars in the pack were all going at least 120, as there wasn't really traffic (but no proof of that)

Questions
-Since the cop said he took $60 off my ticket, it originally would've been $280. I looked at the fines for going 30 over the limit, and it is only $220. Can I use this discrepancy/confusion to my advantage somehow? Or was the cop right in saying that the previous tickets on the car has an effect on my fine?
-How likely is it that the cop will not show up to court? As well, how likely is that the cop did not calibrate the radar gun/will not bring the calibration papers to court? If he doesn't bring the calibration papers, is he allowed to adjourn/recess to get them?
-How much will my insurance increase because of this one ticket?

Any help/advice/insight would be VERY appreciated. Thank you!


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 7:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 65
Pretty sure the $60 break he is talking about relates to the fact that you were ticketed for 30km over and not 37km over the posted limit. This isn't indicative of any confusion.

Undoubtedly if you fight this and request disclosure the officers notes will reflect that the speed measuring device was tested in accordance with the manufacturers directions.

Insurance increases vary from company to company, yours may consider this a major conviction or a minor one. You would need to contact your insurance company to assess how serious they view this, and what impact it will have on your premiums.

On a personal note, I'm glad you've slowed your driving down. I'm not trying to be patronizing but things go wrong very very quickly, and 20km or 30km an hour can make a hell of a difference in outcome.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:59 am 
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 10:11 pm
Posts: 10
Thanks for replying so quickly, I really appreciate how this site is here to help!!

Do you think a Plea Bargain would be my best choice? Would you know how I could convince the judge/prosecutor to let me go with a lesser fine?

I was really hoping that the case would be thrown out due to backlogging or that the cop wouldn't show.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 65
You have the option of requesting early resolution or a trial, I'd suggest early resolution which would give you the chance to make a deal with the prosecutor for a reduction of some sort - if you don't like what they're offering you can still take it to trial, and then keep your fingers crossed that the officer doesn't show up (I wouldn't bank on that though).

There's already a lot of good advice in past threads on this, and you have to decide how you're going to proceed, but there is abolsutely no harm in requesting early resolution. You're not surrendering any of your rights by doing so.

If you have the time (You're a student with the summer off right?) attend your local Provincial Offences Court and sit in for a few hours in the morning (you're allowed to). You'll get an idea of how these things go, you'll see the paralegals getting reductions on behalf of their clients, you'll also see people defending themselves and how and what works or doesn't (for instance arguing that the officer read the device wrong or that it was improperly calibrated is unlikely to work).


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
ImJayson wrote:
I now play a game of sticking EXACTLY to the speed limit when I drive- hilarious when I go 30km/h on the on-ramps with traffic behind me

The yellow speed limit signs you see for on/off ramps are the suggested maximum speed, not the actual limit. They're a safe speed for a fully loaded transport truck that might tip, not your everyday passenger car. If you can safely go faster, do so, otherwise you're just annoying the drivers behind you for no reason.

In terms of your ticket, police are more likely to show in Court then not. They’re required by law to be there. As for calibration records, the only way to be certain is to request disclosure. If it was a highway patrol officer who deals mainly in enforcement who stopped you, probably a very good chance he was diligent testing his radar, etc.

As for insurance, typically any speeding ticket between 1-49 over, is considered a minor offence. Minor offences may result in a small increase in your insurance rates. Only way to be certain is to contact your provider since it varies from one provider/policy to the next.

In terms of the fine/demerit points, the Crown may offer you a further reduction in hopes for a plea deal, but it probably won’t be a huge drop. Still, even 29 over would be a good break. It drops you down to a $138.75 fine with only 3 demerit points. If you’re a G2 driver, this is very important because a 4 point offence would result in a 30 days suspension of your licence upon conviction.

In terms of the fine itself, even if you’re convicted you can still explain to the Justice of Peace your financial situation and ask for leniency. They may further reduce the fine or give you several months to pay. While there is nothing wrong with asking for a reduction, I would NOT take the approach in your post of arguing the fine is simply too high for the actual offence. I've seen that strategy used several times in Court, always to the person’s detriment. Courts taken speeding offences very seriously and if they think you’re trying to downplay what you've did, leniency will go out the window.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 10:11 pm
Posts: 10
Again, thanks for all your replies, I appreciate how all of you are trying to help!

-Could I request a First Attendance without requesting a trial/court date?
-I don't have a job, but my parents pay for the insurance (and I'm tied to their name). Will their insurance premium go up, or does it only affect me?

-Would trying to hire a lawyer help me in any way? (I think I have benefits from my mom's union to have subsidized legal fees to hire an attorney)

Edit: as well, I'm scared that if I go to court, the officer might try to convict me of going 137 instead of 130. Will he have written the clocked speed in his notes, or does he have to use the speed on the ticket?


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
ImJayson wrote:
-Could I request a First Attendance without requesting a trial/court date?

Check the back of your ticket. Some will have an option for an early resolution meeting, some don't. If not, request a trial and then ask at the Courts about an early resolution meeting. Even if you request a trial, you don't have to go through with it. You can either work out a plea deal, or simply change your plea to guilty prior to trial.

ImJayson wrote:
-I don't have a job, but my parents pay for the insurance (and I'm tied to their name). Will their insurance premium go up, or does it only affect me?
The cost for insuring you would go up. If someone else pays the bills, they'd be paying more.

ImJayson wrote:
-Would trying to hire a lawyer help me in any way? (I think I have benefits from my mom's union to have subsidized legal fees to hire an attorney)

Possibly. They might see weak points in the Crown's case to fight the matter on, but if it's a strong case you might end up paying more to still be found guilty. If you're content with a plea deal, try to work one out yourself first. Worst case you can still hire a lawyer/paralegal afterwards.

ImJayson wrote:
Edit: as well, I'm scared that if I go to court, the officer might try to convict me of going 137 instead of 130. Will he have written the clocked speed in his notes, or does he have to use the speed on the ticket?

Yes, the officer will have recorded your actual speed. The speed will be amended at the start of any trial back up to the full amount. Keep in mind that's only if you plead not guilty before the Justice to the Peace and commence with the trial. You can still fight the ticket for the time being and see what your options are without any worry.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 10:11 pm
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How would I change my plea before the trial, if I end up not wanting to go to court?
-Should I attempt to do option 2 (since the cop already caught me kind of admitting guilt/recorded my speed) or should I still chance the trial and hope during sentencing, the judge will be lenient?
-Speaking of that, if the judge does decide to be lenient, would the charge go below $220 (set fine) or could it be arbitrary (up to judge's decision)

Again, thanks for the support and responses!


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
- What is option 2 on your ticket? It varies from one jurisdiction to the next.
- An admission doesn't necessarily take a plea deal off the table. It can be problematic (if admissible) at trial.
- The Justice of the Peace can't reduce the charge (you'll still be convicted of the same speed), just the fine. They can go below the set fine with good reason. Typically they'll just grant you more time to pay.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 10:11 pm
Posts: 10
Thanks alot Stanton, for replying so quickly all the time. How can I give you a 5 stars rating?

Option 2 is Plea of Guilty- Submissions to Penalty. From what I understand, it means that the payable fine can be decreased from $220. However, would this mean that my demerit points/insurance would be still the same as if I chose option 1? My main concern is to not get destroyed by my insurance company for like 5 years.

I think I am still going to request a court date. I have read that the courts can not possibly process all the charges that were given out in the year, and are forced to throw some cases out. Is this true?


As well, how would I go about demonstrating my sincerity and remorse to the judge about this offense? It really has caused me psychological stress (This is the only thing I've been thinking about all week), worry, and anxiety, and I definitely do not intend to go above the speed limit again.

Note: I had an idea today to record a video while I am on the highway, going 100km/h, to show how often people go faster than the speed limit to try to demonstrate that my speed was not comparatively super fast, or that there was a chance to hit other motorists/cause injury. Thoughts on this??

As always, thanks for replies!


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
Yes, you'll want to select option 3 and request a trial (even if you don't carry through with the trial). You're correct in that the Courts could never cope with every person going to trial, but that's why they offer deals, most people accept a plea. You may luck out and land in 11B territory, but it's far from certain.

The video would be irrelevant in Court and could actually backfire making it look like you're trying to downplay your offence.


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Re: [HELP] First Ticket- 130km/h on Highway 401- Confusion!!
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:20 am
Posts: 1065
ImJayson wrote:
Option 2 is Plea of Guilty- Submissions to Penalty. From what I understand, it means that the payable fine can be decreased from $220. However, would this mean that my demerit points/insurance would be still the same as if I chose option 1? My main concern is to not get destroyed by my insurance company for like 5 years.


The points go automatically with whatever offence you are convicted of or plead guilty to, regardless of the $ amount of the fine you paid. Also, insurance companies care about the offence, not the points or the amount of the fine. Of course parenthetically, you can observe that the more serious offences (the ones they would care more about) are also the ones with more points.

ImJayson wrote:
I think I am still going to request a court date. I have read that the courts can not possibly process all the charges that were given out in the year, and are forced to throw some cases out. Is this true?


Yes, that happens, but it's not automatic. You have to be ready to file an 11(b) Charter motion and argue it in court. It's not just a freebie.

ImJayson wrote:
As well, how would I go about demonstrating my sincerity and remorse to the judge about this offense?


Normally this is just done by way of submissions. The evidentiary rules in sentencing proceedings are relaxed and you don't need to "prove" things in the same way as you would in a trial. Normally you can just make an assertion about something like remorse. If you are planning on representing yourself (and I would always suggest considering hiring a paralegal or lawyer) then you will want to research what things are considered mitigating factors on sentence (if you are looking to get it lowered from the amount on the ticket) and think about how you can establish those factors. Whether other people are also speeding is NOT a mitigating factor.

_________________
http://www.boryslaw.ca
NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.


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