Hi, I got a speeding ticket on July 17th. I was on highway 402 going about 115 in a 100 zone. Another driver kept drifting over slightly into my lane and I got frustrated and sped up to get by him. Got pulled over and clocked at 148.
The officer bumped my ticket down to 140 and the fine was $295 and it will be 4 demerit points.
I'm going to take this one to court for sure but want some advice, and have a bunch of questions.
I'm not too concerned about the money. I am however concerned about the 4 points as I'm only a G2 driver, but mostly the insurance rates. I've read insurance companies only look at the number of offenses, not the severity of them, is this true?
In the model of car box the officer marked down HON Silver. My car is a Honda Civic, it is however gold not silver. Does this matter? I think it is just too small a detail but any chance there.
Any chance if I took a plea bargain I could pay the $295 but have them strip the demerit points?
If the officer doesn't show up this is grounds for dismissal correct? I was thinking of getting my court date in the mail, then rescheduling it. If the officer has all of his tickets for one day, if I reschedule I may catch him on an inconvienient day. I know there is an Officer that posts here, your thoughts?
Finally, while fighting this I won't see an increase in my insurance or have to pay anything until I am proven guilty, correct?
Most people would rather pay a mistaken ticket than experience the stress of going through the trial process. But you need to know that the courts are there to protect YOUR rights. You have the right to face your accuser in a neutral setting and have your concerns brought to the attention of a trier of fact (Justice of the Peace).
This is what I recommend to everyone moping around with a recent ticket in their pocket:
- Fill out "Not-Guilty" on the back (check off the "officer to appear" box).
- Make a photo-copy of both sides and take the original to the Provincial Offences office shown on the back of the ticket. Just pretend your going in to a Burger King if it makes you feel more comfortable... walk up to the counter and tell the clerk you'd like to submit a not-guilty plea as noted on your ticket. She'll make a copy and date-stamp it. This is your receipt. Do this within 15 days of the offence date.
- Several weeks later, your court date will arrive in the mail. Now you can fill out a Request for Disclosure Form (this is the form I use... feel free to right-click it and print it out).http://img157.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... deljt3.jpg
Take the completed form back to the same office you took your ticket to. Tell the clerk you would like to submit a Request for Disclosure and give her the form.
- Your Disclosure (all evidence that will be used against you) will arrive in the mail (or you'll be called to pick it up) and you can review the evidence the officer plans to provide at the trial.
- Based on this information, sit down and pencil out a few questions you would like to ask the officer. You want to create a reasonable doubt in the JP's mind as to the methods used to provide your speed on that day. You will ask about other vehicles around you. You ask if he saw that another car, very similar to yours but with US plates, had just passed you. etc. etc.
- If one officer was operating the laser/radar and another stopped and ticketed you, BOTH officers will need to be present or you can ask for an immediate dismissal of the charge.
- After all questioning is complete, you will get a turn (when directed by the JP) to read a closing statement, summarizing all the flaws with the Crowns case, and explaining your reasons why you believe the officer stopped the wrong car.
NOTE: Even if you plan to chicken out and accept some crummy plea deal the Crown is sure to offer you, at least go through the above steps right up to your appearance in court. You can make your plea deal just before court opens. The Crown will call everyone in shortly before court opens and make plea deals with all the poor saps who came completely unprepared. Agreeing to a plea may save you a point or two, might even save you $40-$50!... but it's not going to save you from your insurance company. They look at the NUMBER of convictions when setting your renual rate, not the number of points you have. Sure it takes guts declining an apparently wonderful deal the Crown is sure to offer, but you're sure to regret it later. So many people say they wished they would've fought the ticket completely, but once you make that deal, your fate is set. You just plead guilty to something!
Read this over again later (when you've calmed down a tad). Consider this a learning experience. Even if you lose, you'll have vastly greater knowledge on procedures for NEXT time
This is the best advice.....from Bookm one thread down. If you schedule a Notice of Intention to Appear...you can go and plea down. If you don't like the offer you can turn it down and opt for trial. If your trial date is 8-9 months from the date of occurance then you have more options. Try this and report back. You have more time then you think.
I have worked Hwy 402. As like the 401 west of London it is a very straight forward area to conduct speed enforcement. Not many interchanges (on/off ramps) no collector lanes, simply 2 lanes each direction. Easy to see someone passing or accelerating away from another vehicle (hence visual observations)
In these areas of the 401 there are several options that you could have used, rather than accelerating.
- slow down and pull over for 30 seconds to let that vehicle carry on OR
- call *677 (star OPP) and report this driver as potentially impaired or tired, give dispatch the plate, hang back and give updates so OPP can check out the driver's condition. Further, if the driver was drifting this much, you can opt to provide a statement and have the officer lay an appropriate charge and you can come to court and give evidence on behalf of the crown for prosecution.
As far as court goes it is all scheduled on our working days, provided there is no priority calls, we will be there, scheduled, re-scheduled or
re-re-re-re scheduled. Only time that is not on our working days is if I happened to work another area, so a trial might not fall on a working day. We still have to attend court on our days off so it would be OT for the officer (approx $55 hr).
That 8-9month thing mentioned, is only for a first appearance, should someone rescheduled/cancel then does not apply as the person caused the delay not the courts.
I also noticed the day of your stop. I know the traffic officers working on that day on the 402 (they have the same schedule as I do and have worked with them). They are Very compentent officers.
There are very few excuses that will work when defending a speeding ticket. But I had a very similar situation happen to me and I won! (... sort of). I went out wide and sped up to pass an erratic driver (a lady who spilled her coffee upon exiting a Tim Hortons). Sure I could have slowed way down and piddled along and miss the next green light (likely). And I could have stopped and phoned the police and made a big deal out of it. But I know what I did was fine. I put another dangerous, slow, distracted driver "behind me", exactly where I like 'em!!
I have no idea where the copper was, but he hit me with radar and asked why I was in such a hurry. I asked him if he saw the events I described above. He said, "No". So he said he would lower the speed on the ticket. I told him (politely) that I understand he has a job to do, but that I want a judge to here my story. The officer stated that he wasn't completely convinced of my sincerity, but would let me off this time.
So I never actually found out (in court) if I was justified, but I was left with the impression that I was. Since MY safety was my primary concern, I felt justified in briefly speeding, to put some distance on a dangerous driver.
This is why I despise "radar traps". The officer usually has no idea what led up to a possibly justifiably brief maneuver that resulted in exceeding the speed limit. I feel that "pacing" is the best form of speed enforcement. The officer then has a complete history of the offence.
What do you think is the best case scenario I could get from a plea bargain in terms of points and money?
Also, this is my first offense...will my insurance rates go up a lot?
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