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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Fail to Stop at Red Light -- slid into intersection
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:48 am 
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I just recently got a ticket for failure to stop at a red light, HTA 144 ( 18 ).

It was the middle of the night and there were no cars except for me and the police officer. I was traveling east-west while the officer was stopped at the light north-south.

I for sure was not speeding, if anything probably below the speed limit. I am sure of it because just before the light there is a valley in the road and a creek/stream that runs under it. It becomes misty/foggy in the middle of the night when the temperature drops (and not to mention it was raining too) and I ALWAYS slow down going into the fog.

As I saw the light turn amber, I jammed on the brakes and slid into the intersection, probably stopping at the middle or slightly before the middle of the intersection.

I told the officer the road was slippery and the officer said I should have stopped sooner. After the fact, the only thing I can think of that could have helped me stop sooner would have been to look at the pedestrian signal that has the countdown timer, which I admit I did not look at.

I've already been studying ticketcombat.com and followed it's instructions to get a court date.

I've driven for 13 years with no accidents or been ticketed for anything other than two parking tickets. I was driving a red Mini Cooper S.

It was certainly my intent to stop and if this fine/conviction is supposed to deter offenders of something, would it be counter-intuitive in this case? It would be implying I should have sped up a bit to go through the intersection? To me, that would be against my instincts, but on one hand the officer would have just let me go, or he would have given me the fail to stop at a red light ticket PLUS a speeding ticket too.

Any advice on what points I should use to defend myself?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:45 am
Posts: 38
Location: Waterloo
To be completely honest.

If I was the officer I would not of ticketed you if the light did not have a flashing counter.

I would of probably stopped you and made sure you weren't intoxicated and so long as it was an honest mistake then just tell you to be more aware and drive more according to the weather conditions.

BUT..

As you say there WAS a flashing counter.. so unfortunately it's hard to excuse the action as an honest mistake.

It could probably be more related to lack of awareness.. (drowsy driving late at night?)

Your job as a driver is to be aware of your surroundings, it was your job to realize that the counter was telling you this light is going to change.

If you didn't feel safe increasing your speed slightly to "beat the light safely" - (Bad idea anyways but still better than stopping in the middle of the intersection) then you should have slowed down and prepared for the red light which you were being told was coming soon.

I hope that one day EVERY intersection in all of Ontario/Canada will have counters because when used correctly it can create much safer driving for everyone and leave no excuses for:

"opps the light changed and I wasn't ready and didn't want to slam on my brakes a few meters from the white line"

Your best defense is to plea down to a lesser charge...

because your story confirms it was an appropriate ticket.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:29 pm 
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I pass by that traffic light pretty much every day, and when I went by yesterday, yes, I noticed that there was the count-down timer. On the night of the accident, I couldn't tell if it counted down, but I don't assume it wouldn't have done so.

So, in your opinion, there really isn't a good chance for me to be acquitted by some sort of defense, barring the case being thrown out for one reason or another?

I'm preparing the Disclosure request and line items I wasn't sure about I needed to include:

o witness will say statements;
o witness statements;
o any statements made by the defendant;
o copies of the original notes of such statements; and
o the names and address, occupation and criminal record of the persons providing such information.


There were no other vehicles so there are no other witnesses and the witness box was unchecked on the ticket. However, would the officer technically be considered a witness?

Is there any reason not to include any of those items above even though it may appear very generic?


I've given it some more thought:

I attempted to stop as the light was amber, but by the time I had come to a full stop, it was red. Should the ticket have been ‘fail to stop on amber’? I know this may be moot at this time, but it’s more for my own understanding as to why I was given the ticket.

Since the ticket was for ‘fail to stop on red’ would that suggest that after I had come to a full stop in the intersection the officer expected me to stay put until the light turned green for me? But because I pulled away slowly with caution while it was red that was why he gave me the ticket?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:26 pm
Posts: 2881
Location: Toronto
The only issue with 144 (18 ) Red Light - Fail to Stop is, did you cross the stop line and enter the intersection AFTER the light changed to red? If it was still amber at the time you entered the intersection, that may be any number of charges, but it is NOT Red Light - Fail to Stop.

If nothing else, as this is your first ticket, you may be able to plea-bargain it down to something like Improper Stop/Stop Wrong Place, which is under section 144 (5) and is less significant in terms of fine/points.

However, for your disclosure, request the officer's notes, and any photographic/video evidence (if any exists). As for the stuff on ticketcombat's website, I'll run through each item you mentioned, and why you shouldn't waste your time with it. Basically, your disclosure request should be focused, aimed at relevant items that would help you make a full answer and defence to the charge.

j3tang wrote:
witness will say statements;


Officer's notes already covers that. A will-say statement is not required.

j3tang wrote:
witness statements;


What other witnesses? Did other people make statements to the police? I highly doubt it. That's asking for something that does not exist.

j3tang wrote:
any statements made by the defendant;


You didn't make a statement. You may have said things to the officer, but that is not a statement. There is no point in asking for it, it does not exist for this case.

j3tang wrote:
copies of the original notes of such statements;


Same principle as above. No point in asking for it.

j3tang wrote:
the names and address, occupation and criminal record of the persons providing such information.


You wouldn't get a criminal record for a criminal court case, so you definitely won't get it for a HTA case.

_________________
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:58 am
Posts: 3
thank you for the clarification with the disclosure request.

My memory of the incident is fuzzy, but I don't believe the light was red when I was sliding into the intersection. I think it turned red after I had entered. Everything happened so quickly and I was in shock, so I cannot be 100% sure.

Just to add to the complexity, at the time I was pulled over, the officer gave me another ticket for failure to surrender insurance card CAIA 3(1). I handed him my insurance policy, but it was an out-dated one. I was pulled over on Aug 22, but the expiry date on the insurance policy was Aug 12. I do have an updated one and that policy does cover the day I was ticketed, but because it was just mailed to me it was my fault for not having it in the car or on me, but rather sitting at home.

I thought to myself that I would fight the Red Light ticket, but I would pay the insurance card fine. But as I've been reading up on cases on these forums, I realized that this is still going to increase my insurance premiums so I wanted to fight this ticket as well. As I browsed around here, I noticed that an argument someone made was that there is no where in the CAIA clause that says the insurance card must be valid (which to me sounds kind of silly, you can't possibly get away with showing an illegit card). Their argument was, either you surrendered an insurance card or you didn't. And often if you present your "valid" one to ..... the prosecutor? judge? somebody? ... they would consider dropping the charge. True?

edit:
I went back again on a separate date to file the NIA for the Insurance Card ticket. The lady there this time said to me I can try the First Attendance Meeting to see if that can resolve this without going to court. She also mentioned that because my ticket is so new, I should come back in about 2 weeks for the FAM because they might not have "filed" my ticket yet??

I was thinking of getting the Insurance Card ticket dealt with first. I won't mention anything about the Red Light ticket unless they know about it and bring it up. If I'm successful with that, should I ask about the Red Light ticket on the spot? or should I go back on another date to deal with that?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:26 pm
Posts: 2881
Location: Toronto
You could use the Fail to Surrender Insurance Card ticket as a negotiating tool for your Red Light - Fail to Stop ticket. They may reduce the Red Light - Fail to Stop to something less serious in exchange for a guilty plea on the insurance card ticket. But, it all depends on the Prosecutor and how you plea-bargain. (As in, be nice...)

_________________
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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