"Failure to stop at red light"--Ticket at Critical

BR
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"Failure to stop at red light"--Ticket at Critical

by: BR on
Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:59 pm

Hi,

On friday I was taking part in Critical Mass, where we are now often "escorted" by police officers. The mass generally does not stop at lights, but does when the cops are present and make us, breaking the (200+) people into two groups.
I accidentally didn't stop in time for a light (stopped at second white line of pedestrian crosswalk instead of first) because I was spaced out and basically following the mass of people in front of me.

$180 for a mistake I would never make any other time. Bah.


A few questions:

1) I feel really, really dumb and did not notice that the cop wrote my name wrong on the ticket (though that is also dumb). Really wrong, like, my last name + middle as my first then my last name again. But I already went to the court office to make a trial date. Would that have invalidated it? Does it still? I don't have a driver's license, could I have just gotten away with not doing anything? Did I miss my "free-ride" loophole?

2) Does anyone have any experience getting a ticket at Critical Mass? Will that actually make things worse (court/fighting ticket-wise), since they probably don't agree with us doing it?

3) Any general advice for either presenting a case in court that will help, or for talking to the prosecutor (as I will likely do to avoid the overblown hassle of court)?


I would also like to add that in Kensington, where the ride ended, two cops blew through a stop sign that I stopped at (and put my foot on the ground and everything, LIKE THE LETTER OF THE LAW SAYS. Or whatever).

Thank you kindly!


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:23 pm

As for getting your name completely wrong... good question. A misspelled name is not a "fatal error" that would render the ticket invalid. A MISSING name would be a fatal error, but as for getting your name mixed up... that's kinda borderline, I think. Only part of your name is incorrect... so I can't say definitively. Anyone else??

Big thing is, if the officer took notes and has your correct info, they'd be able to track you down. I don't want to definitely say that yes, you can get the ticket thrown out for having part of your name incorrect, because if I'm wrong, then you'd get convicted and pay.

As for trying to make a deal with the Prosecutor, most of them are pretty good. You can try calling them in advance of the trial to work out a deal, or just show up early on the day of trial. The usual generic advice applies: be polite, dress nicely, etc., all that stuff. Main thing is, just tell them that you really want to avoid going to trial and taking up a lot of their time, so you're willing to work a deal out to make life easier for everybody. In the mean time, make a disclosure request to get the evidence against you (probably the officer's notes). If you do that, it shows that you are prepared to fight it out at a trial, so it gives them an incentive to try to offer you a deal.

EDIT: Just remembered something. What section were you charged under? This makes a big difference. From your post, it sounds like you DID stop. It then becomes an issue of disobey red light (which, if you stopped, you obeyed the light), or stopped in the wrong place. (I think that would be section 144(5) of the Highway Traffic Act.) If they charged you under section 144 ( 18 ), that's the wrong section and we'll be able to figure out a defence for you.

Some fellow members will be able to clarify this "incorrect name" issue and offer other advice, too.


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by: hwybear on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:18 am

I apologize, but do not know what a "Critical Mass" is ?

Unless, a intersection is controlled by a police officer (physically standing there directing traffic) all rules of the road apply.

I see this type of thing in funeral processions, drivers blowing lights, stop signs that are not controlled by police. These drivers will be at fault in a collision.

You are not required to put a foot down at a stop sign or red light while on a motorcycle, just stop.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: Proper1 on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:03 am

Is this "critical mass" not an event in which a large number of people on bicycles deliberately break traffic laws just to show other people that they can?


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by: BR on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:26 pm

@ Radar Identified

Thanks for all the info.

It is a 144, 18 ticket--so that's the wrong thing you think, huh?

Since you said that, I'm wondering if it makes a difference that I stopped when I heard someone (officer said he called out. Could have been someone else though) say to stop? I would have stopped of my own accord too, but this made it a bit earlier, because I was just pedaling away, following people, in own little world.



@hwybear

Critical Mass is a group bike ride that happens once a month and that has been going on for 10 years (in many major cities) where a few hundred cyclists ride together to promote cycling. Ask someone else and you will get a different response as to what it is, though the first part is a given.

It was on a bicycle, not a motorcycle.



@Proper1

I don't believe so, no.




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by: BR on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:17 pm

@Proper 1

I don't believe it is done just to "show people that they can".


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by: Radar Identified on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:24 pm

BR wrote:It is a 144, 18 ticket--so that's the wrong thing you think, huh?
I do. The officer can contend that you would have gone through the light, but if you did not cross or fully enter the intersection, you stopped. Here are the relevant parts of the Highway Traffic Act, just for illustration.

You are charged under this section:
(18 ) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown.
But the correct offence, I think, is this:
Where to stop – intersection

(5) A driver who is directed by a traffic control signal erected at an intersection to stop his or her vehicle shall stop,

(a) at the sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made;

(b) if there is no sign or marking, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk; or

(c) if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk, immediately before entering the intersection.
Don't tell that to the Prosecutor until the trial starts. Here's my idea: The officer will probably contend that "if I hadn't called out, you would have gone through." Well, your apparent intentions aren't good enough to convict you in this case. Have you made a disclosure request yet? You can get the officer's notes and some more info to help prepare. If it goes to trial, basically you want the officer and the Crown to prove, for you, that you stopped. Question him, but be sure to have him point out that you did fully stop on the near side of the intersection. What caused you to stop is irrelevant, the point is that you stopped. When they start talking about stopping in the wrong place, quote the section you were charged under, and argue that the Crown appears the be describing the elements of a different charge (section 144(5) of the HTA). As such, they have failed to prove their case against you on the charge brought before the JP, and ask that it be dismissed for lack of evidence. Point out that the Crown had a long, long time to amend the charge but did not do so. So you've got a defence if you decide to go as far as a trial. If you're plea-bargaining, don't let them know that the charge is incorrect. Anyway, the point is, you've got a number of options here.

As for Critical Mass, I admit I'm not particularly fond of them. In some cases, they have turned out to be exactly what Proper1 describes. Doesn't sound like that was the case in this instance, however.


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by: Plenderzoosh on
Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:13 pm

Also I just want to add in case you weren't aware that a ticket on a bicycle has no impact on your driving record + car insurance rates.


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by: liveontheedge on
Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:31 am

Plenderzoosh wrote:Also I just want to add in case you weren't aware that a ticket on a bicycle has no impact on your driving record + car insurance rates.
If so i definitely contest the charge to bring the officer to court, just to help him to get pay for overtime.


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by: racer on
Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:00 pm

Did the cop specify that you were riding a cycle on the ticket? Sometimes they forget, and the points end up going on the record.
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