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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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144(8) I got a ticket for running a red... on an amber?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:50 pm 
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Hey,

I've chosen to fight the ticket that I was given. I was given a ticket for running a red light. The only thing is, I entered while it was yellow.

Here is the situation. I was making a left hand turn onto a road. I was going at about 50 Km/hour. As I was approaching the green light it turned to amber, in my opinion, with the rate of speed I was going, I could not have stopped safely. I entered the intersection on a Amber. I was I would say 15 feet from the stop line when it turned Amber. I was able to see the light turn red JUST as I was going under it.

To give some history to this, I was at a grocery store, and it was closing time, so there were no cars in the parking lot. I drove across the parking lot, and turned right onto the road. Later I found that that was when the police officer first saw me. It was obvious that he didn't like this so I feel he had it out for me and this gave him an excuse to pull me over.

Here are my notes from that night:

January 30th 2010

My wife and I left Food Basics at approximately 8:15pm. The parking lot was completely empty. We cut across the parking lot to the exit. I signalled that I was turning right, slowed down to look down the walkway, and then proceeded onto the roadway where I made and immediate left. I continued down the road and turned right again onto Metcalfe St. I then was faced with a green light and continued through the intersection. One block later I came to another light. This one turned amber a little bit before I came to the stop line. I proceeded to clear the intersection as I could not have stopped safely without skidding.

I then was pulled over by Officer X. He asked me 'Was that closed' I wasn't sure what he was talking about, whether it be was the amber light close, or if my trunk was closed? Because we had just put groceries in the trunk and wondered if the trunk had closed. I asked him what he meant and he said 'You're trunk is open, do you want it closed.' I said yes. The other officer attempted to close the trunk after looking in the back with his flashlight.

The other officer proceeded to look in the back seat with his flashlight. Officer X asked me why I ran that light. I answered 'just stupidity' Officer X chuckled a bit and said 'well at least you're honest.' Then he asked if I had anything to drink tonight. I said no nothing at all. He asked if I had any alcohol in the car, I said no sir. Then he asked me for my license registration and proof of insurance. I gave it to him and he looked at my registration, insurance and handed it back to me. He left and went back to the car at 8:28pm with my license.

At 8:33pm he returned with a ticket in his hand. He asked again "Why were you in such a hurry, where do you need to be?" I said I didn't have anywhere to be. And then he said that he saw me going across the parking lot in Food Basics and that I must have went down Colborne, because he was sitting at the first light and said 'there's that car' and pulled in behind me. He just handed me the ticket, he didn't explain anything to me at all or what I was being ticketed for. He handed me my license and the ticket and said drive safely, and I said 'Thanks'. I then turned to my wife and said, 'Did I just say thank you for a ticket? I drove off, and after getting off the main road I pulled over to look at the ticket. I saw that it was for running a red light. I believe that Officer X should have at least explained to me what the ticket was for, and the three options.

My question is, what can I use to fight my case. I mean, I know that I entered in on an amber light, but how do I PROVE it?

What is the procedure that the trial will go? How do I cross examine a police officer?

**note** officer name is not appropriate for forum and has been edited out with an "X" by forum moderator HB

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:37 am 
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You certainly have a defence on this matter. If you believe that you have entered the intersection on an amber light you should go to trial. It will be your evidence against the officer's. If your evidence will be accepted and found credible you have a good chance.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:28 pm 
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Thanks so much for the reply. The one thing I am unsure about is cross examining the officer. Could you make some suggestions as to the questions that I could ask. From what I researched I could have been charged with fail to yield to an amber light which carries the same fine. Is it possible that right in the trial they can change the charge to that? I will be using my wife as a witness, will I have to question her as well?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:51 pm 
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they have to deal with your case first/or change it at the start.

Cheers
Viper

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Could you please clairify
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:39 pm 
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viper1 wrote:
they have to deal with your case first/or change it at the start.

Cheers
Viper


Sorry if I seem a little thick but I just want to make sure I have this right as im going through something similar.

So if you can convince the judge/jp that you actually: "failed to yeild to amber" then the red light ticket gets withdrawn and you are free to go? I guess what I'm trying to ask is if they can ony try to prove what is on the ticket. Lastly why would they cahnge it at the start?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 7:12 pm 
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I have gotten a copy of my disclosure. Here are the notes that the police officer has provided. I typed.


-Marked Police vehicle 5
-Observed vehicle exit private driveway at high speed- (gives address)
-Observed vehicle again at (Gives address)
-Followed immediately behid vehicle and observed it speed up and cut orner in an attenpt to bea(bea crossed out) what appered to be "beat the light"
-The light turned red prior to car entering intersection (FALSE)
-Roof lights on
-Vehicle to shoulder
-Valid ON photo DL/Own/Ins
-Unreadable content
-Obvserved intersection light for 3 complete cycles
-Lights cycled properly

Can anyone help me on how I can defend myself. He has written in his notes that he observed me entering on a red, that is absolutely false. I know that, how do I PROVE it though. My wife was with me in the car at the time and she saw the red light change AS we went UNDER it.

Also, can anyone tell me the order that a court case is carried out. For instance, crown speaks to his witness first? I cross examine? I call my witness? Crown cross examines?

If I am convicted, how do I ask the judge to reduce my fine due to circumstances of not being able to afford it?

Thanks for ANY help you can give me!

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Fail to stop amber or red light are two different charges
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 10:35 pm 
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You have a very good chance of prevailing in court, but you will not learn here everything you need to know to go for a trial. You better hire an experience representative. By experienced representative I mean a true litigator -ask for their performance statistics- and not a paper pusher or mediator.

In law, the charge can not be changed from red light to amber light. Case law shows that they are two different charges and one is not included in the other. Check s. 34 of the POA.

About the officer's notes regarding your speeding, they are irrelevant to the charge and, further your speed was not measured by a speeding detection device. Now when he asked why you ran that light and you answered 'just stupidity', you prove the offence of fail to stop at an amber light.

But do not worry, they can not legally change the certificate to that offence. What they could do withing 6 months from the offence date is to withdraw the red light charge and charge you with amber light.

Find a good licensed paralegal and go to trial. If you represent yourself, for what you ask and say, you will most likely be convicted. Even if convicted, a good paralegal will have put in evidence all necessary elements to give rise to solid grounds for appeal.

Cheers.


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Re: Fail to stop amber or red light are two different charge
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Biron wrote:
You have a very good chance of prevailing in court

Based on what? Nothing in the rest of your post gives any indication of why you believe this.

Biron wrote:
Now when he asked why you ran that light and you answered 'just stupidity', you prove the offence of fail to stop at an amber light.

How so?

Biron wrote:
But do not worry, they can not legally change the certificate to that offence. What they could do withing 6 months from the offence date is to withdraw the red light charge and charge you with amber light.

I dont' think he's worried about them changing the offence to amber light, I think he's worried about getting convicted on red light.

Biron wrote:
Find a good licensed paralegal and go to trial. If you represent yourself, for what you ask and say, you will most likely be convicted. Even if convicted, a good paralegal will have put in evidence all necessary elements to give rise to solid grounds for appeal.

Appeal based on what? It's a traffic ticket, not a murder trial :) It's not that complicated. If a defendant represents them self they're not more likely to be convicted based on what they say and ask, as you have suggested. A JP will not be swayed by the fact that the defendant is unfamiliar with the process.

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:21 pm 
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Yes I agree. I'm not to concerned with being charged with failing to yield to an amber light. Case law says that once I am in trial for failing to yield to a red light they can't change the charge.

I disagree that I HAVE to hire a paralegal to fight my case. I believe that the courts were set up so that we don't have to do that. I'm concerned with being nervous before the court. That is why I have asked the structure or order that they call witnesses. etc etc.

I believe I have quite a few things going for me. I'm 25 years old, married, child on the way with a clean driving record. I'm responsible and not out to cause trouble.

Also, my wife is a witness to what happened, she was in the car and saw the light change to red as we were going under it.

I've printed off pictures from Google Earth as to what the officer would have seen. The intersection is not a north south east west intersection. If you are to turn right it would be a 90 degree angle, or you could make a slight right to go 'straight' but the 'left' turn is more of a 45 degree turn. So I believe that from the way that the officer was looking he may have 'seen' that I entered the intersection on a red, but I plan to bring doubt on that.

One way I plan to do that is to introduce the picture as an exhibit x. The other way I was thinking is to mention that in his notes the officer didn't mention anything about where my car was in reference to the stop line, why is that? Most cases that I have reviewed, the stop line is the integral part of this charge, it truly is the determining factor as to where the car was in the intersection. He doesn't mention it at all in his notes? I believe it's because he was to far back to see the stop line, and therefore didn't have a good enough view of the intersection, which is obviously correct based on his notes that I HAD entered the intersection AFTER the light turned red.

Any feedback on all of this? I'd truly appreciate it.

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:34 pm 
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RYOUNVS wrote:
I disagree that I HAVE to hire a paralegal to fight my case. I believe that the courts were set up so that we don't have to do that. I'm concerned with being nervous before the court. That is why I have asked the structure or order that they call witnesses. etc etc.


The majority of JPs recognize that defendants are nervous and will make a reasonable allowance for it. What I've found useful is to go in and observe trials. That gets you a feel of what the process will be.

As for photos from Google Earth... they'd only be admitted on mutual agreement with the Crown. Otherwise, you're looking at the requirements under Guidelines for Submitting Photographs (see the Courts & Procedures section of this forum).

Biron wrote:
Now when he asked why you ran that light and you answered 'just stupidity', you prove the offence of fail to stop at an amber light.


From what I see, it was not a cautioned statement, and therefore cannot be admitted as evidence at trial.

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Radar Identified wrote:
[From what I see, it was not a cautioned statement, and therefore cannot be admitted as evidence at trial.


Whether under caution or not, a statement could still be used in court as evidence, as I have used it many times. What happens is we go into a "voir dire" (a trial within a trial) to determine how and what context the statement was made. If the JP agrees how the statement was obtained, it can be used in the regular trial. If the JP disagrees it won't be used in the regular trial

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:21 pm 
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The officer's wording was "Why did you run that light" I answered "Just stupidity" The only thing, if anything I can see them proving is that I failed to yield to an amber light. But that is not what I am being charged with.

How can I go about trying to get a visual of the intersection and where it happened without the use of a photograph. (I haven't read the section you have referred to Radar, I will be going to read that after I post this, maybe that answers for me.) But that is my main point of using a photograph is to prove the way that the intersection is set out. I suppose I could use a street map for that, but I thought it worked better with an actual visual.

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:31 pm 
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To answer your question about the basic trial format, the crown calls it's witnesses to prove it's case, then you get a chance to cross, then you call your witnesses to raise a defence, then the crown crosses. Then comes final submissions and then the verdict. After that you both have the opportunity to make a submission as to penalty.

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Perfect! Thank you. It's nice to know the basic format that will take place.

So my understanding is that the defence is governed differently as far as how they can question the witness. Meaning they are somewhat permitted to ask 'leading questions' to have the witness say what you want them to say.

The main thing that I am concerned with is questioning the officer. I'm nervous of that and concerned that he will stick to his guns and even bend the truth to what he believes. Some part of me is tempted to pass on the opportunity to cross examine the police officer and just call my witness.

The other thing I'm concerned with is that on the day that we go to trial my wife will be 6 1/2 months pregnant. I'm concerned about the amount of stress that the crown will put on her questioning her. Is there something that I can say before the cross examination to the JP asking them to be calm and easy on her and not try to rattle her, as I know most crown's do?

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 6:15 pm 
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Don't worry about what type of questions you can and can't ask. The JP will keep you on track. In my experience they're usually good about it because they know you're not familiar with the rules.

I would suggest that you should definitely anticipate the officer will stick to his evidence on cross examination. He's not likely to chance his story and admit that he just perjured himself.

I also wouldn't worry too much about the crown grilling your wife. This is a traffic offence, not a serious criminal trial. It's not like on TV where they get the witness to break on the stand. That's just not the way it works. :)

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