Drive Without Proper Lights - Mistake by officer

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travis_bicks123
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Drive Without Proper Lights - Mistake by officer

by: travis_bicks123 on
Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:52 pm

Good evening all,

I'm wondering if anyone could enlighten me on what to do about the following scenario:

I was pulled over by a YRP constable because I only had one front head light working. Upon being pulled over, I also realized my insurance card was expired by one month and my car permit was not on me at all. (It doesn't matter now but my valid insurance card was sitting at home in an envelope and my permit was stapled to an emissions test result also left at home.)

I got 3 tickets:
1) Fail to have insurance card - Sect 3(1)
2) Fail to surrender permit for motor vehicle - Sect 7(5)(a)
3) Drive without proper headlights - commercial motor vehicle - Sect 62(1)***

The officer was actually pretty friendly to me and suggested that I get the headlamp fixed right away, take photos of both working properly, and set up an Early Resolution meeting to show the prosecutor my repaired headlamp photos, my valid permit, and my valid insurance card. He said the prosecutor might be nice enough to drop the charges. On the day of the meeting, that did not happen at all. He offered to drop the #1 and #2 tickets if I plead guilty to the #3. I guess I asked too many questions and took up too much of their time, so he set a trial date for me.

***I have my Notice of Trial, and the court date is set for approximately 15 business days from today. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I don't want to plead guilty to the #3 ticket because I believe the officer wrote me for the wrong offence. He wrote the offence for "commercial motor vehicle" with a Set Fine of $200 (Total Payable $240 after the surcharge). But my car is not a commercial vehicle. It is our family's "motor vehicle" which should carry a Set Fine of $85. I never told the person at the Early Resolution meeting that I spotted this discrepancy.

I also haven't sent a Request for Disclosure. I have just learned I should have done this some time ago. Should I get this request sent off tomorrow asap? Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Possible relevant details:
-Constable was wearing a body cam throughout the interaction.
-Why does my Notice of Trial ONLY cite the #3 offence number. There is no reference to the #1 and #2 tickets anywhere. I certainly did not receive any other Notice of Trials in the mail.


jsherk
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by: jsherk on
Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:33 am

The prosecutor does not have to offer you any deals at all. The two ticlets for fail to surrender insurance card and fail to surrender permit are nearly impossible to beat.

Now if indeed the officer gave you the wrong charge for the headlights and you can prove it in court, you will still be found guilty of the other two two.

So you can take the deal and have one charge, or fight all three charges and end up with two charges (maybe three if you dont win the headlight one).

I would send a request for disclosure asap. I would only reference the one headlight charge in the disclosure request and not the other two charges. What this will means is that on your trial date, you can ask for an adjournment to a new date because most likely you will not get disclosure until the day of trial. In discosure request you are simply asking for "a copy of the officers notes, typed if hard to read, and include a list of any short forms or abbreviations used."

Once you get the notes, you can then decide further if there is any chance of beating the fail to surrender insurance and permit tickets.

Thinking out loud now... Another thought is to actually bring up the fact that the one charge is the wrong one, and say you will plead guilty to the corrected charge with the lower fine if they drop the other two.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++




jsherk
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by: jsherk on
Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:31 am

Looking at section 62(1), I do not see any reference to commercial motor vehicle:
Lamps
Lamps required on all motor vehicles except motorcycles

62. (1) When on a highway at any time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 metres or less, every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle shall carry three lighted lamps in a conspicuous position, one on each side of the front of the vehicle which shall display a white or amber light only, and one on the rear of the vehicle which shall display a red light only.


So I would suggest that the charge itself is correct, but when I look at set fines I see what you mean that Drive without proper headlights‑ motor vehicle is $85 and Drive without proper headlights —commercial motor vehicle is $200.

What kind of vehicle is it (year, make model)?
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


travis_bicks123
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by: travis_bicks123 on
Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:00 pm

Thank you both for your responses. I do appreciate you taking the time.
jsherk wrote:Now if indeed the officer gave you the wrong charge for the headlights and you can prove it in court, you will still be found guilty of the other two two.

Thinking out loud now... Another thought is to actually bring up the fact that the one charge is the wrong one, and say you will plead guilty to the corrected charge with the lower fine if they drop the other two.
How could I possibly prove that the charge is wrong once I am actually at trial. Is it enough to print the list of charges, offences, and their set fines and then say "Your worship, I do not believe I am guilty of this offence because I do not own or operate a commercial vehicle."? Could it then possibly be thrown out, withdrawn, or quashed? (Sorry I am not sure of the applicable terminology here)
bend wrote:Maybe someone who knows the regulation can respond and give you a clearer answer. I don't believe being classified as a commercial vehicle is dependent on whether or not it's used for business.
Thanks for your response.
jsherk wrote:Looking at section 62(1), I do not see any reference to commercial motor vehicle:
So I would suggest that the charge itself is correct, but when I look at set fines I see what you mean that Drive without proper headlights‑ motor vehicle is $85 and Drive without proper headlights —commercial motor vehicle is $200.

What kind of vehicle is it (year, make model)?
I agree with you. That's the discrepancy I found.
It is a 2003 Mercedes C240. It is a sedan owned by our family for quite some time. It is in no way shape or form related to a business or any other commercial reasons. It does not have a C.V.O.R. which is what I think makes it a commercial vehicle?


jsherk
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by: jsherk on
Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:10 pm

Personally I am one who likes to fight just about every ticket, however given that you probably do not have much experience in court, my suggestion is that you bring this discrepency up with the prosecutor.

Print out section 62(1) of HTA https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08#BK120
And print out schedule 43 (lines 125 and 125.1) http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do- ... hedule-43/

Then go see prosecutor and say that you are willing to plead guilty to the $85 125.1 fine, but you believe the 125 $200 fine is the wrong one.

You will then have several options depending on their response...

If in a good mood, they may drop the first two and drop the fine to $85 for you and this is probably the best outcome you can get.

If in not such a good mood, you might still get offer to drop first two but still take the $200 fine. Probably second best outcome.

If there is no offer to drop anything, or you don't like the offers then you have to take it to trial and try and convince the JP that the $200 was the wrong AND that you pointed that out to the prosecutor but they would not change it. Most likely I think you would be succesful at convincing the JP to drop the fine down. However if you proceed to trial on this charge, then the prosecutor will probably not drop the other two charges and you will still end up with 3 convictions.

So my advice is to consider that 1 conviction is better than 3.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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by: Stanton on
Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:52 am

travis_bicks123 wrote: It is a 2003 Mercedes C240. It is a sedan owned by our family for quite some time. It is in no way shape or form related to a business or any other commercial reasons. It does not have a C.V.O.R. which is what I think makes it a commercial vehicle?
While there are some exceptions, the HTA generally defines a commercial motor vehicle as "having permanently attached thereto a truck or delivery body and includes ambulances, hearses, casket wagons, fire apparatus, buses and tractors used for hauling purposes on the highways". I'm going to go out on a limb and guess there was no dead body in your trunk so your vehicle wouldn't be considered a hearse or any other of the above.

Out of curiosity, was it a typed ticket? I can the the mistake being easier to make if the officer was flipping through drop downs on his computer versus actually looking up the fine amount and writing it out by hand.




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