No Front Licence Plate - Constitutional Challenge

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No Front Licence Plate - Constitutional Challenge

by: NoFrontLicencePlate on

Good day everyone.

First time poster.

Short version of a longer story: I was ticketed for no front licence plate. Being a lawyer with a hobbyhorse for Highway Traffic Act matters, I'm inclined to take a swing at having the law struck down. The prosecutor has offered to withdraw the charge in exchange for proof of my complying with the law - i.e. drilling a licence plate onto my front bumper and giving them a photo of it. I said no, and filed a Notice of Constitutional Question. The upshot of my pitch is that the law requiring a front licence plate is arbitrary and divorced of any valid interest underlying the regulation of Ontario's highways. Being stopped/detained/charged on the basis of an arbitrary law is in violation of s. 7 and 9 rights to liberty, security of the person and the right not to be arbitrarily detained (i.e. unconstitutional).

Re arbitrariness: I intend to argue that the law as it stands, among other things, incentivizes and manifests in unsafe front mounting and display practices (thinking of all the guys rolling around with their plates on their dash - essentially a flying knife in event of crash); compounds damage and danger from double the amount of plates/screws/nuts/bushings/brackets/plastic/etc. falling off and littering Ontario highways, doubling the deluge of rusty screws and other hazards, body/windshield/tire damage, etc.; impedes air flow and intake, increasing drag and emissions; and otherwise damaging, depreciating and degrading vehicles aesthetically, technically and literally, without any countervailing benefit, interest or purpose. Among other things.

I'm reaching out here (and on other forums) in the interest of putting my best foot forward. So if anyone can point me to one or more authoritative sources or persons who can speak to some or all of these things, arbitrariness (even counter-productivity) of the law, safety, performance, even aesthetics, that would be helpful (see: necessary). My thinking is real artists put real effort into creating real art, that thought, expression and beauty go into front design, etc. Requiring tens of millions of motorists to drill an ugly, rusty duplicate plate to it serves no valid purpose, and in fact undermines other valid purposes like value, performance, safety, environment, etc. It deprives us all of a little beauty in the world, for no good reason. Note that 9 of 14 provinces/territories don't require a front plate.

Anyway that's my aim here. I don't care about the $85 if I'm convicted. I'm making a Hail Mary attempt at changing the law. And it really is a Hail Mary. Courts are loathe to interfere with legislative intent expressed through statutory language. But I'm willing to go down swinging, and there's a smidgen of a chance I win - in which case we ALL win with a precedent-setting decision applicable throughout the province. Worst case scenario we'll have a bad decision we can send to Doug Ford with a cap-in-hand plea to cut it out with this front plate BS and change the law ;)

I'm no good at forums and signed up here specifically for this purpose. If anyone has any other ideas or reasons why this law is arbitrary, or other bases of attack, I've set up an email address you can reach me at: NoFrontLicencePlate [at] gmail [dot] com.

Cheers guys, wish me luck.

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Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 1:15 pm

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by: whaddyaknow on

While I applaud your initiative I also doubt you have much chance of success.

Where I'd rather see a lawyer invest some personal time is on the topic of administrative monetary penalties and/or roadside license suspensions, where there is a presumption of guilt.

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