[Ont]Got a ticket for 13(2) obstructing plate, need help

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Esg876
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[Ont]Got a ticket for 13(2) obstructing plate, need help

Unread post by Esg876 on

I was driving my families older car and got pulled over, and the police officer informed me my plate was dirty. He issued me a ticket of $110 for the 13(2) act and obstruct plate as the offense. He informed me that such a plate could be used to avoid red lights as well as 407 tolls, also that buying a new plate can help to lower the ticket if I fight the charge, and that he also took a picture of the back plate on his phone. Before this point I thought my plate was simply dirty due to the recent snow and that my dad had used the car earlier in the day. It was only after he stated that and left, it dawned on me that the charge was because my letters where fading/faded out. I took pictures ~2 minutes later when I pulled into a parking lot of the back plate, as well as now when I got home although the flash had to be used due to the sun going down.

Here are a few images with a crude paint job done for privacy http://imgur.com/a/ZwVrd (Not sure if I am allowed to post images of my plates, please inform me if I need to remove the link)

I am going to fight the charge, and asking here for advice. My family has several years of 407 transponder history (and I believe your license plate is not needed for charges if you have a transponder?) and that in the last few months its actually increased in billing. Personally, I have committed 0 traffic offenses expect receiving a parking ticket at a private apartment, and I believe the rest of my family has very minor to 0 offenses, and I am pretty sure 0 red light charges, but will confirm when they come home.

If I bring in these pictures, my 407 records and the fact that I have had 0 red light charges in my history for all of our cars, can I hope to get the ticket waived or is the best I can hope for a reduction? Any advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance!


Stanton
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Unread post by Stanton on

Reading the section, I don't think the charge is appropriate. The section deals with failing to keep the plate clean or obstructing it from view. A plate that has simply faded doesn't really apply.

Your offence history (or lack thereof) is irrelevant to the charge.


Esg876
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Unread post by Esg876 on

Thanks!


Stanton
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Unread post by Stanton on

Again though that's just my opinion on reading the section. I'm not sure what case law there is or what other people have experienced in Court. Regardless though I'd suggest getting a new plate. The Crown may be willing to simply withdraw the charge if they see the issue has been taken care of. The MTO will replace the plate free of charge if it's relatively new (5 years iirc).


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Unread post by Decatur on

That is the correct section but the wrong wording. There are actually three offences in that sub section and a corresponding wording for each. The correct wording should have been: Entire plate not plainly visible.
The other wordings cover 1-dirt and obstructions like snow, and 2- parts of the vehicle or attachments like bike racks.


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Unread post by Stanton on

Decatur wrote:That is the correct section but the wrong wording. There are actually three offences in that sub section and a corresponding wording for each. The correct wording should have been: Entire plate not plainly visible.
The other wordings cover 1-dirt and obstructions like snow, and 2- parts of the vehicle or attachments like bike racks.
Have you seen a conviction in Court for a faded plate? I've never seen one go to trial, so I'm curious if it's case of people not disputing the charge or the Crown simply withdrawing it. A quick search of Canlii shows the following (non-binding) case where one JP dismissed the charge arguing the section doesn't apply: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/2 ... F0ZQAAAAAB

I'd still argue the charge doesn't apply. The section should be re-written as faded plates seem to be a very common issue.


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Unread post by argyll on

We discussed this in our office and came to the conclusion that none of the charges applied to a faded plate. If someone had scraped the blue off then that would be defacing but if the government can't come up with a paint that works then that's not the driver's fault.
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Unread post by Esg876 on

Thanks for all the great advice guys! My plan is to bring in the Hoffner case, purchase new plates and my 407 papers as well. I will inform the judge that the officer gave me a ticket for a dirty license plate, but then also informed me that purchasing new plates would help reduce the ticket. If my plate was simply dirty, there would be no need to purchase new plates, which means that the fading of the license plate played a role in the giving of the ticket. The precedent set by the Hoffner case, is that fading plates are not a cause for a ticket if it occurred due to natural wear and tear, and that the subsection according to the judge, requires an active or an action to obstruct the plate taken by the defendant, which we did not do. I hope having a long history of 407 tolls and the fact that we own a transponder, shows that we were not attempting to use the faded plates to shirk tolls, or for any other illegal purpose. Also we were not aware having faded plates was against the law, which again referencing the Hoffner case is technically true, although this is most likely an oversight on the ministries part, which a year later still has not yet been addressed. Regardless, we did replace the plates and hope that shows our willingness to fix the issue and that no malicious intent ever existed to take advantage of the fact the plate was faded.

Let me know if that sounds good, or if any portion needs to changed, thanks again!


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Unread post by Decatur on

Other than actual obstruct plate charges (tinted covers and dirt) I've never had any of the faded plates go to trial. It's entirely possible the prosecutor withdraws to charge after satisfactory proof of replacement or reduces the fine on a guilty plea.


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Unread post by Stanton on

Esg876 wrote:Thanks for all the great advice guys! My plan is to bring in the Hoffner case, purchase new plates and my 407 papers as well. I will inform the judge that the officer gave me a ticket for a dirty license plate, but then also informed me that purchasing new plates would help reduce the ticket. If my plate was simply dirty, there would be no need to purchase new plates, which means that the fading of the license plate played a role in the giving of the ticket. The precedent set by the Hoffner case, is that fading plates are not a cause for a ticket if it occurred due to natural wear and tear, and that the subsection according to the judge, requires an active or an action to obstruct the plate taken by the defendant, which we did not do. I hope having a long history of 407 tolls and the fact that we own a transponder, shows that we were not attempting to use the faded plates to shirk tolls, or for any other illegal purpose. Also we were not aware having faded plates was against the law, which again referencing the Hoffner case is technically true, although this is most likely an oversight on the ministries part, which a year later still has not yet been addressed. Regardless, we did replace the plates and hope that shows our willingness to fix the issue and that no malicious intent ever existed to take advantage of the fact the plate was faded.

Let me know if that sounds good, or if any portion needs to changed, thanks again!
Keep in mind the Hoffner case is not a binding decision so another Justice of the Peace may disagree. I’m not aware of any appeal, etc. at a higher court level which would make the decision binding. That being said the case still gives you a good overview of points to argue in Court.

I still don’t see any reason to show your 407 bills (assuming they’re even allowed as evidence). The charge requires no evidence of you obstructing your plate for some personal benefit. Furthermore how does that prove your plate was still readable to red light cameras, toll cameras, etc.?


Esg876
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Unread post by Esg876 on

Alright, thanks again!


playbytherules
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Unread post by playbytherules on

Don't be so cheap, just buy a new plate. It looks awful and it makes law enforcement's job more difficult.






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