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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Ticketed for right turn at yellow light [resolved]
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:54 pm 
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I was coming home this morning (just an hour ago) after dropping my mom off at work and was nearing an intersection. As there was no traffic near me, I slowed down and made a right turn since the light was yellow. The police cruiser stopped at the red light came right after me and pulled me over.

The reason? I "blatantly blew a red light".

I'm still trying to come to terms with this. I'm just a college student with a perfect driving record. I drive safe and my car is maintained properly and in fine shape. I did absolutely nothing wrong but knew that I couldn't argue anything with the officer. She was pretty adamant about giving me the ticket and claimed she had given out enough cautions about it. Ok, great, so why didn't I get a caution for a first time "offense"? Her words were that I will get demerit points and my insurance will "jack up". Excellent.

So now I'm sitting here with a $325 ticket for breaking Highway Traffic Act 144(18)

Red light

(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. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (18).

The ticket officially states "Red light - fail to stop"

This is a complete LIE!

I didn't argue it with her but I was clearly shocked that I was receiving the ticket in the first place. I know better than to provide a police officer desperate to meet her quota with an actual reason for trouble.

My question to you folks here is how good are my chances of overturning this charge since it's a complete and utter lie? I always get off QEW at Cawthra, turn south, and then turn right into South Service Rd. It's always a right turn for me at that particular intersection as it's the shortest route to my home. This means that I NEVER pass straight through the intersection. So how can I possibly run a red light?

I definitely plan to fight this, as a student I can't even afford this ridiculous charge and the fact that my insurance will skyrocket. I refuse to be a victim of a dishonest officer.

The way she was presenting the case was that I was driving recklessly and should've stopped before turning. The fact of the matter is that the light was yellow when I began turning and I obviously slowed down. If I had taken such a tight turn at 50km/h (posted limit on Cawthra) I would've obviously lost control and crashed into the median on South Service. At the very least my tires would've squealed. I still had my hockey gear in the car, my goalie pads and anything else would've tumbled towards the left side. Her point of view is completely illogical.

Image

Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.

PS. My insurance and driving record won't be affected unless I plead guilty, right? Is this something I will need an attorney for or will the judge understand my point?


Last edited by Mazda on Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ticketed for right turn at yellow light
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:21 pm 
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Mazda wrote:
I. This means that I NEVER pass straight through the intersection. So how can I possibly run a red light?


A vehicle that fails to stop at a red during a turning movement is still "running a red light".....just sayin' :wink:

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Last edited by hwybear on Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:56 pm 
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Ok, but it was yellow.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:54 pm 
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If your testimony is consistent, in that you turned right on an amber light, and you are not swayed or shaken by the Crown when you get cross-examined, you would have a chance of being found not guilty. Here's a case where the officer said "you ran the red light," but the defendant testified "no, it was amber," - and won:

R. v. Sandhu, 2009

Step 1 is always requesting the trial. In your Notice to Appear, make sure that you check the box that says you intend to challenge the evidence against you. In a few months, you'll get a trial date. At that point, you can file for disclosure and get the Crown's evidence against you. In that case, it should be the officer's notes. The key component is, the officer had to observe that the signal facing you was red, then afterwards your vehicle proceeded through the intersection. The officer cannot make an inference that the light was red; the officer has to see that the light facing you was red.

Mazda wrote:
My insurance and driving record won't be affected unless I plead guilty, right? Is this something I will need an attorney for or will the judge understand my point?


You are right (or if you get convicted). It may be worthwhile to get a paralegal - if you're interested there's a form to fill out on the bottom of the page for a no-obligation quote. They'd represent you and are just as good (sometimes better) than lawyers for traffic cases. If you do your research and preparation properly, and are thorough, you could win on your own - others have. But the advantage of a paralegal is you don't have to do any of the work. All depends on what you want to do/can afford.

Keep us posted...

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* 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: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Thanks for that, it was an interesting read. Since it is a large fine (in my opinion), is it safe to assume the officer will definitely show up on the court date?
I definitely plan to defend myself in a clear and concise manner, but I don't have any experience in this situation. I'm quick and able when the matter calls for it, but the prospect of having a prosecutor attempt to dispute my defense with legal jargon is not nice.

I'm only a college student, I don't think I could afford any legal help.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:21 pm 
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Well, for now at least, file to fight the charge. The charge will not affect you immediately, at least not until you are convicted. Read over similar cases on forum here, you can get more ideas.

What to do: make notes now, file with "option 3" and "officer present", make a photocopy of your ticket. When you are presenting evidence, be as clear, logical, and consequent as possible - that is, make sure you tell the story from start to finish, without contradicting yourself.

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"The more laws, the less justice" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"The hardest thing to explain is the obvious"

www.OHTA.ca & www.OntarioHighwayTrafficAct.com


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:12 pm 
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I'd say it's safe to say the officer will show up, mostly because it was the Peel Region Police (I'm assuming) that stopped you. They show up usually 60%-70% of the time. Toronto is more like 50%.

Mazda wrote:
I definitely plan to defend myself in a clear and concise manner, but I don't have any experience in this situation.


One way to get some experience without the risk is to go to the courthouse where your trial will be held (address should be on the back of the ticket). You can observe trials there at no cost, except for parking. Take notes, see what others do, and where people are successful, and where they fail. If you're lucky, you might get to see the officer who ticketed you in court, and figure out a plan for cross-examination.

If you dress nicely, act professional and civilized, have a solid case prepared (not too hard in your case) and have a general understanding of the procedures and decorum, you'll be better off than 95% of the defendants who go to trial representing themselves. The majority of them never get disclosure, never prepare a case, and walk in to court with some seriously mistaken beliefs about how it works, and get their rear-ends handed to them on a silver platter. I've seen defendants curse and swear, yell, bring up stuff that doesn't make any sense, etc. One guy thought a good defence to speeding on LIDAR was "them things don't work anyhow." That was his defence. All of it. The JP tried to help him (and tried harder not to laugh) but ended up convicting him, no surprise there.

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* 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: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:38 am 
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I appreciate the responses so far, thanks folks. I'll write up a defense statement and post it here for comments.

I'm going to ask for the officer's notes when I go in on Wednesday. Anything else I should be aware of?

Radar Identified wrote:
One way to get some experience without the risk is to go to the courthouse where your trial will be held (address should be on the back of the ticket). You can observe trials there at no cost, except for parking. Take notes, see what others do, and where people are successful, and where they fail. If you're lucky, you might get to see the officer who ticketed you in court, and figure out a plan for cross-examination.


I had a ticket last summer (driving with G1, although friend who was an experienced driver was accompanying me) but the case was dropped as the officer did not show up. I sat there for about an hour and observed many cases, as well as one where a cocky lawyer got completely smacked down by the judge and prosecutor. It was like something straight out of those awful TV shows.


Last edited by Mazda on Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:00 pm 
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My trial is set for April 1st, 2010, only two months away. I requested the officer's notes at the prosecution office but that'll take another 4-6 weeks.

How is this enough time for a defense? This seems very prejudicial against my case.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:49 pm 
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WOW that was quick. They can't just give you the disclosure package on the day of trial or two days prior to trial and not have it be prejudicial... but 2 weeks-1 month prior might be enough... I don't have any case law references on that, unfortunately. Some others might, though...

In the mean time, get your defence statement ready. The Sandhu case that was linked above should be a good template for you. Have you had a chance to observe any trials in the mean time?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:43 pm 
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Disclosure Form just arrived, here are the officer's notes exactly as they are typed. Messy handwriting btw


-[unknown] stopped a stale red E/W
-observe [unknown] for Cawthra (N/S) cycle to amber
-observe silver veh S/B Cawthra, curb lane
-observe veh approach intersection
-no attempt to stop
-observe amber cycle to red (N/S)

-observe veh enter the intersection against the red & turn S.S
-veh crossed the clearly marked white strip line
-stopped veh on S.S W. of Cawthra
-single [unknown] in veh
-m. driver
-advised reason for 7/5
-id self with ON DL, produced ownership, ins.
-driver (i think) Mazda

-immediately returned to intersection
-observed 3 cycles of lites - all appear to be in working order

On the side she has written "did not lose site of veh" meaning she added it into the timeline of events she described.

First of all, I turned on a yellow light. I have a photographic memory and would never make such a stupid mistake as running a red, especially when I've spotted the police cruiser from a hundred feet away.

Basically, her claim that I made no attempt to stop is ridiculous. Since the light was yellow when I entered the intersection, there was no need to make a full stop. However, I did slow down to a crawl to make a safe and careful turn after observing that there were no northbound Cawthra vehicles in the left lane. The pavement was also wet that morning as it had been raining prior to me leaving home and my tires don't have the best grip - I would've most likely lost control and crashed into the median. It's also worth mentioning that my hockey bag was in the trunk at the time, my goalie pads and sticks were on top of the rear seats. Had I taken a reckless turn, they would've toppled to the left side of the car. They were still neatly stacked when the officer approached me.

Furthermore, there were southbound cars on the two lanes to my left on Cawthra that stopped at the yellow light (obviously they didn't want to take a chance with the police car present) so there would've been a brief moment when my small Protege would've disappeared behind the cars from her perspective.

Also, her claim that she was observing me for such a long time prior to arriving at the intersection is just ridiculous. She's only written that to further strengthen her case against me after pulling me over. The likely scenario is that she saw my car pass the white mark, she looked at the light and saw it was red (because the amber had cycled at this point) and then concluded that I ran a red.

I really don't have a case here, it's my word against hers.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:39 am 
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You do not have to prove complete innocence to win a ticket. All you have to do is to raise the reasonable doubt as to officer's testimony. It is the duty of the LEO to show that you have violated the OHTA beyond reasonable doubt. The fact that there seems to be something added on the side works in your favour - you can argue that she added stuff later, and there is no guarantee that she put correct information in her notes.

You have an argument here that she has looked at the light after she observed you cross the white line. It is a slim chance, but it is worth it to try.

You might also want to consult a paralegal - they can mount a better defence, although at a cost. That cost, however, nearly guarantees a win or a major reduction, plus, you do not have to spend a day in court. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page for a free, no-obligation quote.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:38 am 
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Thanks, I figured my defense would have to revolve around the added note and her observation of the light after I passed the white mark.

And I did in fact fill out the form after my post yesterday, I figure it's worth a try. Unfortunately, as a full-time college student, I really can't afford legal help at the moment.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:58 am 
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You'll need to make a strong defence - but if you're sure that the light was amber, and the Crown cannot make you falter under cross-examination, I'd say you've got a chance... a small one... but a chance nonetheless. Your version of events seems very clear and concise from what you wrote, particularly notes about the weather, your observations, the hockey equipment, etc.

The thing you'll have to push is getting the officer to at least seem a bit unsure if she saw the light change to red first, or saw your vehicle cross the stop line first then observe the red.

My only other advice is to show up early on the day of trial. Usually Prosecutors are reluctant to offer deals for this offence, but upon review of the evidence prior to trial, you might luck out.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:03 pm 
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I contacted Xcopper but their quote was $367 — that's just far too much for me. Looks like I'm in this alone.


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