On May 18, my wife received a ticket for "Disobey sign": 2 points and $110 total payable. Here's what happened.
On the way to work she came up behind an unmarked (though obvious, with radar mount on side) patrol car. He traveled between 68 and 78 km/hr in an 80 zone – always below the speed limit and varying his speed – for 2.8 km. A car in front of him gradually pulled far ahead. When they reached a passing zone, with the officer traveling at 71 km/hr per her digital speedometer, she passed.
She had the impression he sped up as she passed, and he immediately came up close behind her when she returned to her lane and pulled her over.
After a rather smart-ass approach, which included calling her "darlin'", he gave her a ticket. He wrote "Disobey sign", and quoted H.T.A 1361A. The offence in that section is "Disobey stop sign".
She pleaded "not guilty", and received her charge and the officer's notes. The charge was now spelled out explicitly as "DISOBEY STOP SIGN contrary to the HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT section 136(1)(A).
His notes indicate his speedometer reading 1 km under radar reading. His comments: "Argumentative!! patrolling @ 78 km/h, vehicle passed me!!"
We prepared a defence for the charge as presented.
We went to court in August, got there early and she met briefly with the prosecutor who said the "Disobey stop sign" was just a "clerical error" and would be amended. My wife was told to wait, and they'd have her back in before court. As court time approached, she finally had to remind them. Then, with the officer sitting about six feet away, the prosecutor offered a plea – speeding 15 km/hr over, reduced fine. My wife called me in – court was already due to open, so pressure was on – and while I said I didn't think it was right, she agreed.
After watching two people go through the process, my wife took the stand. When the prosecutor read out the facts – "traveling at 15 km over the speed limit" – and the JP asked if she was in agreement with the facts, she hesitated and I knew what was coming. "No," she said. She couldn't agree when she knew she hadn't gone that fast. So, now she'd changed her plea, and a new trial date was set for this month.
Original charge still stands (stop sign), though we're now prepared for it to be amended. The prosecutor had tried to get on the record that it would be amended to "disobey sign" and that the charge was based on "pacing".
Do the facts support a pacing charge? It was based on a very brief pass. If she was passing, he must have sped up to be on her rear bumper immediately after she returned to her lane; that is, he never followed her at pace for any distance. And the officer's own notes indicate he was going 78 km/hr at max; he never indicates a speed over 78 km/hr on the ticket or in his notes. (My wife says it was 71 km/hr when she initiated the pass.)
She's considering bailing – taking the points and the fine – when she could have got a break pleading to something she didn't do. But I'd like her to win this.