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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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144(18) - should I plead not quilty?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Location: St. Marys
I was charged today with RED LIGHT - FAIL TO STOP and fined $150 and I guess 3 points. I was driving through the first of three lights in our very small town. There is a access to a business appoximately 50 ft from the intersection. A vehicle was turning out of this business as I crossed a bridge and approached the first of the lights. I took my eyes of the green light to watch this vehicle as it crossed my lane. I proceeded through the light noting it turned amber while I was entering the intersection. As I slowed and approached the next set of lights which were red, an officer was crossing on foot (j-walking across the street, so it appeared) between my vehicle and that ahead of me. He waved and I stopped, seemingly to let him cross the street. He then approached my vehicle and I rolled down the window. He indicated that I had run a red light. While writing the ticket he reported that the light turned red when I was half way through the intersection and that the law says that if you are in the intersection you can be charged. He initially fined me $300 and then said he was wrong - scribbled it out and wrote $150. Should I plead not quilty or simply pay the fine - lesson learned.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:28 pm 
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Just a thought... feel free to shoot me down on this one...

The cop only saw the red light from HIS side of the intersection, correct? Would he not have to appear in court and provide evidence that YOUR light cycles EXACTLY the same as his? Personally, I would think he has to see what YOU see to be a strong witness.

As you probably know, there is one intersection in Stratford where the eastbound light turns red while the westbound one stays green (Erie/Ontario).


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thanks
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Good point. I have never paid much attention, but he couldn't see what I saw. He also approached me more than halfway down the next block. That is why I was so surprised!

I am not overly concerned about the fine, but wonder what the loss of points will do to my insurance. Maybe I should plea guilty and appear before the justice of peace. Can he/she make it a lesser charge?

I have been driving for 20 yrs. w/o a charge, but I think I was treated unfairly by an overzealous officer.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:51 pm 
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No. Don't plead guilty. Plead Not-Guilty and check "officer to be present" on the back of your ticket. Take it to the court house at address on ticket (make a copy for your records) and wait for a court date.

You can always change your mind later, but this would be your first step. We can guide you through the rest of the process later (don't worry, it's not that hard). A good read is www.ticketcombat.com which is written and maintained by one of the members on this board.

I felt like you on a questionable ticket I received almost 30 years ago. A friend of the family turned out to be a Justice of the Peace (didn't know what that was at the time, lol) and she strongly recommended I exercise my right to a trial. I won and was very much appreciative of that advice!


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collecting evidence
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:54 pm 
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Thanks! The website was a great help! I also recorded everything I remember about the incident. I plan on taking pictures of the scene. Should I take pictures from the perspective of the police officer (based on the where he approached from)?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:26 am 
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Bookm gave you some good advice here. Photographs may or may not help, but be aware of the following:

- Have the originals and the camera that took them
- Take the photographs yourself
- After taking photos, have a real photo shop do the prints (e.g. Black's)
- If using digital camera, have the original data card, CD of the prints and the prints
- Go to a Commissioner of Oaths and sign a document testifying that the photos are true and unaltered

A lot of work. In Toronto they'll accept the as long as the photographer is present and the originals are available. As for the photos, if the officer was in the oncoming traffic lane and on the other side of the intersection, they probably won't be necessary. If he was approaching from the side of the intersection, then that might help (could show officer did not have a view of the traffic light you were facing).

Good luck with it, and as Bookm said, we'll guide you through the process.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:34 am 
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Radar Identified wrote:
Bookm gave you some good advice here. Photographs may or may not help, but be aware of the following:

- Have the originals and the camera that took them
- Take the photographs yourself
- After taking photos, have a real photo shop do the prints (e.g. Black's)
- If using digital camera, have the original data card, CD of the prints and the prints
- Go to a Commissioner of Oaths and sign a document testifying that the photos are true and unaltered

A lot of work. In Toronto they'll accept the as long as the photographer is present and the originals are available. As for the photos, if the officer was in the oncoming traffic lane and on the other side of the intersection, they probably won't be necessary. If he was approaching from the side of the intersection, then that might help (could show officer did not have a view of the traffic light you were facing).

Good luck with it, and as Bookm said, we'll guide you through the process.


data on the card must be in "RAW" format. It is a format that can not be altered, unlike a jpeg. It will be stored/saved as a .raw file

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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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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:08 pm 
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Thanks for all the help so far. Two quick questions.

I received my notice of trial today. It includes a page titled NOTICE TO DEFENDENT. It is also the disclosure form. I had already written a disclosure letter based on the format on TICKET COMBAT - DO I NEED TO COMPLETE THIS FORM AS WELL?

It also asks that I call the Prosecutor to discuss "a possible resolution of this charge." It also states that if I choose to go to trial, the charges are unlikely to be reduced. SHOULD I CALL AND TALK TO THE PROSECUTOR?

I am following the steps as outlined on TICKET COMBAT quite closely. This a great website! I was shocked when even the clerk at the Court House told me to pay the ticket and that I shouldn't waste the Court's time! WOW!

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:24 pm 
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I never use the disclosure form that comes in the mail. I also ignore all threats and snide remarks from any employee at the courthouse. After all, they aren't paying my insurance bill, are they.

To ignore all offers and proceed directly to trial is completely up to you. If it were me, though, I would wave off all attempts at a plea bargain and go to trial. I would ask one question of the officer (when it's my turn): "Did you have a clear view of the light *I* was facing at the time? If he tries to claim that all lights are synchronized to change at precisely the same time, I would ask what his proof is to that effect. If necessary, I would show him a simple video clip of the lights at Erie/Ontario that clearly show one side red while the other side green.

Closing argument would be short and sweet, "The prosecutions' witness has admitted under oath that he had no clear view of the light in question and I ask that the case be dismissed."

But if YOU do this and lose, I don't want you to run back here and blame me! ;)


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one more ?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:46 pm 
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The clerk also suggested that the Prosecutor would call me, to discuss the charges and a plea bargain. What should I do/say if she/he does call?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:09 am 
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"I'm currently seeking legal advice and I'll meet with you in court on the date of the trial. But feel free to make your offer and I'll consider it."

Something like that. Be prepared for scare tactics. "The offer must be accepted now or will be withdrawn." That kind of thing.


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now what?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:59 pm 
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I received disclosure for my ticket. Not surprisingly, the officers statement is wrought with errors - his location, says he heard me rev the engine from 300 + meters away, who was in the vehicle with me, etc. So...it says on the website that likely the disclosure will just be the officers hand written notes. My disclosure is typed, not dated, and is headed with "Sergeant Name will state:. Does this mean that this is his statement and unlike officer notes - he must stick to what he has written? I also received a transcript he taped the my traffic stop. Is this admissable in Court? Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:22 pm 
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Sounds like a witness will-say statement prepared by the prosecutors office. If the details differ from those on the officers notes, by all means point out these discrepancies when questioning the officer on the stand.

I doubt a JP will put much faith in the crowns case if there are inconsistencies.

Write out detailed list of questions. After each question, write down what the answer should be (what you expect the officer to answer). Don't ask questions that leave the door open to an answer you might not want to hear ;)


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Re: now what?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:33 pm 
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cricket wrote:
I received disclosure for my ticket. Not surprisingly, the officers statement is wrought with errors -


I would not say errors. I would say from that persons point of view.

Similiar to any collision, witness statements, will all differ, even people in the same vehicle.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:23 pm 
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Point taken! So - 144(18 ) HTA says:

"Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication, or red light and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown. "Ontario Highway Traffic Act Section 144.18.

Approaching a tcs showing a circular red... , so it must be red before you enter the intersection? The officer has stated (as part of the transcript and as part of his will say statement, that it was not red until I was halfway through the intersection. So he charged me with the wrong thing and this is my defense. Could it be that simple?


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