Fail to stop at red light - 144(18)

stek
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Fail to stop at red light - 144(18)

Unread post by stek on

Back in April I got a ticket for $150 ($180 total) for failing to stop at red light.

I have to mention right away that I am a totally inexperienced driver. I got my G2 license 6 weeks and bought my car only 2 weeks before that ticket.

Here is how I remember what happened:
I was driving on Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga early in the morning, the road was a bit wet after the a light rain. I didn't have anyone in front of me, but a large SUV was tailgating me for some time (making me really nervous), and traffic in other lanes was more or less in line with me. The speed was around 80 km/hr. The lights on the overpass after 403 went amber, but I wasn't sure if I could stop safely before the intersection, so I went ahead. When I already was at the intersection the lights changed to red. Some time later I was stopped by police car that followed me and got the ticket.

Later on I decided to go for trial, since I think I should have been charged with failing to stop at amber light - 144 (15), not 144 (18). I requested disclosure and below are the officer's notes:

0622
- TSTCP (?) EMP / Credit Valley on lic XXX
- Moments earlier I was stopped in the middle lane of NB EMP traffic for a RL for EMP while 403 off ramp traffic WB had just been given green light to proceed
- I was stopped for approx 5-7 secs then I obs(served ?) ACC (?) NB EMP thru RL making no attempt to stop. Speed estimated @ 70 km/h, no brake lights activated
- 403 traffic had to stop quickly to avoid MLC (?) as I activated ER equip
- No other vehs in area (?) RL clear + unobstructed


Clearly, the officer describes the situation very differently from what I remember.

The question is what should my strategy in court be?

Any help and advice will be appreciated


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Unread post by Simon Borys on

TSTCP = TSTOP which is short for traffic stop. You're probably reading the O as a C.

ACC = Accused (that's you).

MLC = MVC which is short for motor vehicle collision. You're probably reading the V as an L.

No other vehs in area = no other vehicles in area (probably referring to the area he stopped you.

If you remember it differently than the officer then you can go to court and explain your version to the JP. The officer will explain his and articulate why he chose to charge you with red light instead of amber light. Then the JP will decide if there is reasonable doubt to acquit.
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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Your testimony is going to have to be consistent and unshaken on cross-examination by the Prosecutor. If you are certain you entered on an amber light, and can testify to such, there's a chance you should win.

BTW... I thought there's a red light camera on the Erin Mills Parkway at the 403, no?
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Unread post by stek on

Thanks a lot for the replies.

I don't know about red light camera there, all I know it was not mentioned in the disclosure I got.

Is there actually any chance the judge will take my word over the officer's? Cause he's saying that he was staying at the lights for 5 - 7 seconds before I came, which is a lot.


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Unread post by Simon Borys on

It's not that he needs to believe you over the officer - that's probably not going to happen. All you need is for the JP to find you credible as well, then apply the test outlined in R. v WD and hopefully find that there is reasonable doubt. Basically WD allows the JP to acquit based on reasonable doubt without saying they disbelieve the officer. If both of you are equally credible then in theory there should still be reasonable doubt.
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Unread post by stek on

Radar Identified wrote:BTW... I thought there's a red light camera on the Erin Mills Parkway at the 403, no?
Is there any way to learn if the intersection is monitored by red light camera? And, if it is monitored, can I somehow use this fact during the trial?


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

I know that southbound Erin Mills Parkway at the westbound 403 off-ramp light has a red-light camera, as I have seen it activate to catch people blowing the light. If that wasn't where the offence occurred, the best thing to do is actually go to the intersection and see if there are any cameras there. You could ask the officer if he noticed the red-light camera activate, if there is one. It's marginally helpful, unless you also get a red light camera ticket, which would indicate that you definitely ran the red. :shock: You could argue that if you did blow the light, the camera should have gone off, and you have not received any ticket from it yet. Will it be convincing? Don't know. Camera could've been out of service, etc. If you also got a red-light camera ticket, you should be able to get one of them dropped.
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Unread post by stek on

Radar Identified wrote:I know that southbound Erin Mills Parkway at the westbound 403 off-ramp light has a red-light camera
It was the same intersection, but I was driving north. I guess, they probably put cameras on both sides of intersection?
Anyway, how does the red light camera look like? And how do you know when it "activates"?
Radar Identified wrote:You could argue that if you did blow the light, the camera should have gone off, and you have not received any ticket from it yet.
Thanks, I'll try to use this argument.


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Unread post by stek on

I had my trial today.
Acquitted based on reasonable doubt!
Thank you Simon Borys and Radar Identified for your explanations and help. And special thanks to the author(s) of TicketCombat!


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Unread post by Traffic Law on

Congrats on your win.

FYI.- set fine for your offence was wrong. It should have been $260 and total payable #325. Your ticket was wrong to begin with. Set fine for this offence was changed effective 01 January 2010.

You can find more information on <a href="http://www.trafficlawparalegal.com/red_ ... .aspx">Red Light Tickets</a> here.


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Reasonable doubt? Nice job on the win. :D

Would you mind sharing some of the details (eliminating the stuff that would make you or the officer easily identifiable) so that others can learn from your experience?
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Unread post by stek on

Radar Identified wrote:Would you mind sharing some of the details (eliminating the stuff that would make you or the officer easily identifiable) so that others can learn from your experience?
Well, I guess the officer helped me a bit :) In his testimony he basically repeated his notes.
He also stated that
- the weather was clear and it was around 20C (6 am April 5!),
- that I was in the curb lane,
- and that traffic was very light.
During the cross-examination I asked him if he remembered any vehicles following me - he couldn't recall.
He also confirmed that he was going North along EMP straight from EMP and Dundas and he did not come from 403 (you'll see why I needed that in a moment).
Then I asked him if he had to stop for red lights shortly before EMP and WB 403 ramp-off - he couldn't recall.

Then I testified - I gave the same story that's in my first post with some more detail.
I mentioned that I was driving in the left lane. Later during cross examination I explained that I am sure I was in left lane because I at that point I have been driving my own car for just a couple of weeks and I was a bit afraid of lane changing at EMP since the speeds there are often high - so I always stayed in the left lane when going to work in the morning since I need to turn left from EMP further north.
I stated that road was wet because of the rain and that it was much cooler that 20C - at this point I provided a printout of the weather report for that day and time, which said "light rain showers" and 10C.
I said that traffic wasn't "very light" - there were vehicles in all three lanes.
I also stated that I stopped at the red lights at the previous intersection which is just 350 meters away ((EMP and EB 403 ramp-off), which explains why there were no vehicles directly in front of me at the intersection in question. I said that the officer must have stopped at the same intersection, otherwise he would have been far ahead of me already.
Then I showed very simple calculations (not taking into account acceleration and deceleration) that for the officer to be 5-7 seconds ahead of me at the intersection he had to travel those 350 meters at 100 to 130 km/hr.

The prosecutor was trying to convince JP that my evidence is not reliable since there are several regulated intersections in the close proximity in that area - so I must have got confused which lights I am talking about. At that point I wanted to note that this argument works equally well in both directions, but JP didn't give me an opportunity to do so and declared case dismissed referencing R. v WD. :)

I guess the bottom line is that if you want to win - be prepared, think your defence through, prepare questions that might demonstrate that the other side has no independent recollection of events, be consistent when giving your side of the story.


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Thanks for sharing! You definitely were well-prepared for the defence. This should help many others.




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