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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Any advice?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:44 pm 
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I have a trial tomorrow for two tickets
1)failure to change address on license (i got married a couple of months earlier and moved)
2) license plate not fully visible

I got pulled over because I had 2 letters peeling off my license plate. I know ignorance isn't a defense, but I really had no idea that this was an issue. Plus, you see many cars on the road with peeling plates. I got both tickets and went the same day to change my address and get new plates. Turns out my plates were on a list of defective license plates and they changed them for free. I got a letter from the MOT stating my license plates were defective. Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated.


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:52 pm 
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A defected batch doesn't cancel out your responsibility for clear plates, it just means they'll replace them at their own cost.

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if they worked something out with you. Bring whatever you have showing you took care of the issues right away and they might cut you some slack. Maybe they drop one issue for the other, or they drop both altogether. It's up to the person you're dealing with.


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:56 pm 
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You will probably have an opportunity to meet with prosecutor before the trial. Showing prosecutor everything MIGHT get one of them dropped. Maybe if they are in really good mood they could drop both. They do not have to drop any of them, but usually if you show you got everything fixed immediately it looks good on you.

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:01 pm 
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Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H. 8

13. (1) No number other than that upon the number plate furnished by the Ministry shall be exposed on any part of a motor vehicle or trailer in such a position or manner as to confuse the identity of the number plate. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 13 (1).

(2) Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times, and the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried. 1994, c. 27, s. 138 (7).

(3) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being accurately photographed using a photo-radar system. 1993, c. 31, s. 2 (5).

(3.0.1) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being accurately photographed using a red light camera system. 1998, c. 38, s. 2 (1).

(3.1) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device or material that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being identified by an electronic toll system. 1996, c. 1, Sched. E, s. 2 (1).

(4) Every person who contravenes subsection (2), (3), (3.0.1) or (3.1) is guilty of an offence. 1993, c. 31, s. 2 (5); 1996, c. 1, Sched. E, s. 2 (2); 1998, c. 38, s. 2 (2)

I'll be interested to see how this plays out for you. We discussed this in the office and felt that the charge applied when something was in front of the plate like a cover or a bicycle rack but that peeling numbers werent enough.

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:20 pm 
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Which section number specifically did you get charged with?

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:53 pm 
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The section for the plate charge was 13 (2). In the officers disclosure notes it says he say the plate was not at all visible but I have a picture showing it mostly was. I understand this is the responsibility of the driver to get them changed, but this wasn't known to me at the time.


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:32 pm 
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So 13(2) reads:
Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times, and the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.

Was there dirt on it? no
Was it obstructed? no
Was there anything that obscured or obstructed the view of the number plate? no
Was the number plate affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, was plainly visibile at all times? yes
If the numbers were faded or peeling, this is not dirt or an obstruction.
The only requirement for the numbers to be plainly visible is in where the plate is affixed, and that they are not obscured by something else. So the numbers were plainly visible, even though the were faded or peeling.

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:51 pm 
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great, thank you!


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:10 pm 
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jsherk wrote:
So 13(2) reads:
Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times, and the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.

Was there dirt on it? no
Was it obstructed? no
Was there anything that obscured or obstructed the view of the number plate? no
Was the number plate affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, was plainly visibile at all times? yes
If the numbers were faded or peeling, this is not dirt or an obstruction.
The only requirement for the numbers to be plainly visible is in where the plate is affixed, and that they are not obscured by something else. So the numbers were plainly visible, even though the were faded or peeling.


This was the exact discussion we had in the office.

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:53 pm 
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There's nothing in the traffic act that I can think of that discusses peeling plates or plates in disrepair specifically. The only other thing talks about intentionally altering a plate. So i guess it's up to interpretation.

Quote:
Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times, and the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.


It says the numbers must be visible at all times clear of dirt and obstruction. While it's not dirt, I think the argument could be made that peeling plates is an obstruction. It's an obstacle that blocks an officer or anyone else from reading plainly visible numbers. That's just my opinion.

Then it goes on to talk about the view of the plate, and not obscuring the view of the plate with objects, which is another thing altogether.


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:08 pm 
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To me an obstruction is something in the way. The law would have to read that the driver was responsible for the licence plate being able to be read from a certain distance.

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:25 pm 
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I took a quick look through canlli to see if there was anything interesting to add to this topic.

There's this judgment discussing the same charge where the driver had faded plates. The JP bounces through the section and its subsections to see if there's anything that specifically deals with faded/old plates and whether or not the correct charge was laid or maybe a more suitable charge would be more appropriate.

Quote:
....This is a charge that Wolfgang Hoffner did on June 5th, 2013 at 6:47 a.m. at King Street North in the City of Waterloo commit the offence of obstruct plate, contrary to section 13(2) of the Highway Traffic Act. Now I have the evidence of Constable Conyers who was on routine patrol on that day when he discovered or saw a vehicle travelling in front of him with plates that he couldn’t read from a distance, so he stopped that vehicle and discovered that the plates had nearly completely faded and were impossible to read at five metres even though it was light and it was overcast at the time....

....The officer said the plate was in good condition, just the blue paint faded off. There were minute traces of the paint...

He said I could not enter the plate until I made the traffic stop. Any sign that it was forcibly removed. No, just wear, faded elements. Age of plate good shape aside from blue paint on the digits. Cross-examination didn’t bring anything new out of that testimony. Mr. Hoffner said that he was not aware that his plates were faded. He said he could read them. And he did replace the plate after this was brought to his attention.

Now, referring to the legislation because I am concerned with the wording of this legislation and, as you know I am bound by statute.

In section 13(1) it says no number other than that upon the number plate furnished by the Ministry shall be exposed on any part of a motor vehicle or trailer in such a position or manner as to confuse the identity of the number plate. That’s not the case here. Subsection 2 – number plate to be kept clean. Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire plate including the numbers is plainly visible at all times. And the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars or any part of the vehicle. Any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.

Now this section seems to talk about an active, an action taken by a defendant that would obstruct the plate. I have no evidence that there was dirt and the numbers faded would be plainly visible except by reason that they were faded. It was not obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars or any part of the vehicle or attachments.

Now subsection 3 says the number plate shall not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire number plates including numbers from being accurately photographed using a photo radar system.

And 3.0.1 says not obstructed by any device that prevents the entire plates, entire number plates including numbers from being accurately photographed using red light camera systems.
And 3.1 shall not be obstructed by any device or material.

When you look at these additional sections they’re all talking about obstruction. They don’t talk about the age of the plate or the fact that the plate just wears out by normal wear and tear. It’s almost as if the Ministry or the legislature didn’t address this issue. So while I agree that faded plates should be required to be changed, I’m not satisfied that I can stretch this section to cover that...

There is not anything actively done by the defendant to obstruct this plate and the section speaks of some sort of action in order to obstruct the plate. On that basis I’m going to dismiss the charges; but if I’m wrong, if a higher court reasons that faded plates equals obstruction and if that were the case given that the defendant replaced the plates as soon as he was able to replace them, I would have suspended sentence. So I’m dismissing the charges. If I’m wrong in law, I would have suspended the sentence given your financial situation and the fact that you replaced the plates. You are free to go and you don’t have any fine to pay.


It's pretty similar to the discussion here. The hangup, if anything, is the word "obstruction" and whether or not the definition could be stretched out to cover faded plate, or if you'd need to take some sort of action to obstruct the plate.


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:55 pm 
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Thank you everyone!!

One more thing. On the disclosure CD that was sent to me, the name of the officer listed is different than the one on my ticket. Does this matter?


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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:30 pm 
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cpcpcp wrote:
On the disclosure CD that was sent to me, the name of the officer listed is different than the one on my ticket. Does this matter?


It might matter... Can you be more specific about where is the name of officer is listed? Are the notes from a different officer?

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Re: Any advice?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:39 pm 
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On the disclosure CD with the video of my interaction with the officer when I stopped me, it states the officers name as officer A. On the narrative text hard copy that came with the disclosure with his notes it says his name is officer B.

There were two officers in the vehicle that pulled me over.
Also, on my tickets there was no officer name listed, only a badge number, which matches the badge number on the disclosure notes, but is a different badge number than what's listed on the disclosure CD.


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