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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Help, please! Is speeding ticket worth fighting?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:49 pm 
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Hi -- I'm new to this, and I do apologize if I'm posting my message incorrectly. I'd appreciate any help/advice that other readers can offer.

I was recently ticketed for speeding 100km/hr in a 90km/hr zone, which was reduced from a clocked speed of 116km/hr. This occurred midweek at ~3a.m. heading eastbound on Hwy 403 in Hamilton. The road was clear and there was very little traffic (i.e. no one else could have been clocked!). I'm confident the reading was fairly accurate as I was still accelerating, having just entered the roadway less than a km before detection.

The officer who pulled me over had been parked at the end of a long on-ramp; he told me that another car parked on top of a bridge had clocked my speed. There are 2 possible bridges upon which the radar could have been stationed; the roadway curves as it approaches and goes beneath both bridges, then straightens beyond this.

The reduced offence carries only a $40 fine and 0 points. However, after reading through many posts on this site, it seems to me that this may still be worth fighting. I'd appreciate feedback on the following points that I think may form my defence.

First, from the point at which I entered the highway to either the point of radar detection or the point at which the "chase vehicle" was parked, there is no sign indicating the 90km/hr reduced speed zone. The only 90km/hr sign after the on-ramp that I used is posted beyond the spot where I pulled over.

Second, given the curved roadway leading to (and beneath) the bridges, I'm wondering whether it is it possible to get a clear radar reading of approaching traffic below. I did not see the radar vehicle, however, so it's possible that the radar detected me after I had passed beneath the bridges, at which point the roadway begins to straighten. There WAS a delay between the time I passed the parked police vehicle to the time he started his car (and lights!), so it's possible that I was clocked "going" as opposed to "coming".

I can't think of any other potential arguments: without disclosure about the location of the radar, the signage seems to be the strongest argument. Unfortunately, everything on the ticket is perfect! ;)

So, finally, back to the original question: Is this worth fighting? In particular, given that the offence was reduced, is there any risk that this reduction can be overturned? That is, if I take this to court, and if the police present evidence that forcibly argues the merits of their case, can my offence be increased (back) to the 26km over, complete with additional fine and 3 demerit points?

I apologize if these are "dumb questions". At 48, with only 2 very old minor tickets to my name -- speeding, improper turn -- I'm very new to this. All that happened pre-internet, when I didn't know enough to research things and ask questions! ;)

Thank you very much for any help or advice you can provide!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:27 am 
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Most moving violation are worth fighting unless the original non-reduced charge is something major. I wouldn't call 26 to 10 something to worry much about. I'm no paralegal, but i've been in your situation so i'll try to help you the best I can.

Just because you plead not guilty, doesn't mean you'll be forced into a trial. There will be plenty of time to settle from now till your courtdate. This will give you months to think about and prepare however you wish with your situation. In that time, demerit points (not conviction period of 3 years) will run its time limit without ever showing up on your record.

So what should you do after pleading not guilty? Fire off a letter asking for disclosure to the prosecutors office at the court house where the trial is being held. I think they most important thing about your situation is that two officers were involved with distance between them. Hopefully, this will be noted in the disclosure notes. Don't mention that to them though. The less the prosecutor knows, the better. Simply asked that disclosure be mailed to you and refrain from any any communication like phone calls.

Did the officer with the radar ever come to the scene? Sometimes in these cases the officer ahead simply writes you a ticket alone and sends you on your way. The problem is the only communication between these officers is through a channel. In most cases the officer that writes you ticket is the one that shows up the trial, yet he serves no purpose to you. Everything he says is hearsay at the trial because he was never there to begin with. How are you supposed to question him about his radar device or your speed if he was involved in neither. Both officers should be present at the trial. It all depends what the disclosure says, but must of the time it's so full of *EDIT* to swing one way that you just never know till you get it. That's why it's important to request it.

Yes, your reduced fine can be brought back to the original offense should you make it all the way to trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't care whether it's 5 over or 30 over, nor do they care about points unless you've been suspended due to them. Anything from 1 to 49 over puts you in the same boat. It's up to you really. Demerit points don't really mean anything unless you're racking up plenty of them within a two year time frame.

It doesn't cost you anything to plead not guilty and/or request disclosure. If you still don't feel confident, simply plead guilty at any time.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:18 pm 
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browsing has made a few good good points, the only thing I would suggest is that you read over www.ticketcombat.com to get a better idea of how to ask for disclosure (and tons more of info). If disclosure is incomplete, you can ask for a second request.

To convict, the LEO needs to have "observed you at a higher rate of speed than posted, confirmed with a speed measuring device, and never lost sight of the vehicle in question". That is what you are trying to disprove. I guess you have already read over about non-disclosure strategies and radar/lidar testing procedures strategies from speeding sections of the forum.

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"The hardest thing to explain is the obvious"

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:42 pm 
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Thanks, Browsing and Racer! Your replies are very helpful!

I was focused on the location of the signage and the radar/lidar post, and hadn't even considered the distance factor between the ticketing & detection officers.

Actually, after submitting my post I thought it probably sounded kinda whiny -- I mean, even at 116, I was still over the typical 100km/hr highway limit! I suppose I was feeling whiny, though, thinking that my ticket had little to do with "road safety": The police should have been out there the following night, in a miserable rainstorm, busy road, with poor visibility, and cars flying through at 120+! ;)

Anyway, I digress ;) A big chunk of me believes that I should just accept responsibility for my actions, accept with gratitude the lowering of my offence by the ticketing officer, and be done with it. Notwithstanding all of the excellent information on this site and ticketcombat.com, reading through the recent CBC article posted by Hwybear (http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/topic1393.html) has added to my reluctance to pursue this further. Especially since I drive this route home every night (though usually many hours earlier!) and should probably know better.

Nevertheless, I will first try to check how my insurance company deals with traffic offences, as that's the one key point that is still pushing me towards a non-guilty plea (despite feeling very guilty about what I, admittedly, was doing!). While my record is currently clean, you just never know what's around the corner... And, frankly, I've been lucky in not getting caught more often ;)

And I will consider that idea of the non-guilty plea, knowing I can change this later without penalty once I've collected more info and have a chance to digest it. This initial 15-day deadline just seems so short! And time's up on Thursday.

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions!


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Issues with police reports--relevant?? Trial date Monday.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Hi -- I was ticketed Dec '09 for 100km/h in a 90 zone, which was reduced from a laser-measured speed of 112. I opted to plead not-guilty and had an initial trial date in July. The offence involved 2 officers -- 1 on overpass to detect ("PC 1"), 1 on an off-ramp to ticket ("PC 2"). As of the trial date, I'd received PC 2's notes, and he was present at court. I had not received PC 1's notes, nor was he present; as such, the trial was adjourned, with new date this Monday. I also received PC 1's notes in the interim.

For a variety of stress-inducing work and family reasons, I was just going to pay the fine today and chalk it up to a learning experience. However, in filing my papers last night, something flew off the page, which I had not previously noticed...

PC 1 states his location as "King St. overpass"; PC 2 states that PC 1 was "standing on Main St. E. exit ramp". The locations do not concur, and I'm wondering if this is sufficient to have the ticket dispensed with. While there are two "Main St. E." exits, the westbound highway ramp is the one that makes sense; although the notes do not specify, I'd imagine this was the location (if it, indeed, WAS the Main St ramp!).

Being on a bridge (whether King St or Main), I don't know if I was lasered heading towards or away from PC 1. From everything I've read, this probably isn't much of an issue; while I've read of the "slip effect", this is a bit of science that goes beyond me, and something I wouldn't feel confident arguing.

Admittedly, there is not much location difference between the King St overpass and the Main E ramp; the Main E ramp actually swings underneath the King St overpass. So, it's possible that one heading eastbound could be detected in the same vertical plane from either bridge -- just that the King St location is several feet higher than Main St.

Sorry if I'm too long-winded -- I wanted to provide sufficient detail to enable respondents to comment. The key question is whether this discrepancy is critical. If not, I'll pay the ticket today; if yes, I'll go to court Monday.

The following are a few additional details from officers' notes, included in case they may be helpful:
- equipment -- Ultralyte LTI 20-20
- pretests -- at 2204, tests 1, 4 (with 1 & 4 circled); pages provided from manual do not refer to such tests (just a series of numbered bullets that don't go beyond "3"), but I'm not prepared to belabour such a point on its own
- location -- PC 1 -- King St overpass; 7.48m high [this was noted for a stop at 0252; as no change of location was noted prior to my event at 0314, I assume detector was maintained in stationary position]
- detection -- 112 @ 90.6m
- posttest -- laser retested after my event
- zone -- PC 2 notes this was a posted 90km/h zone; while there is no signage indicating this (as the sign is posted before the on-ramp I used, and not again until beyond where I was stopped), I believe this is a moot point as 100km/h is still considered speeding

I would very much appreciate any insights that forum members could provide! While I'd rather not have a minor conviction on my otherwise clean, 30+ year driving record (and risk even further insurance rate increases!), I am fully prepared to set this aside and pay the fine unless I hear that the location discrepancy is a critical and relevant factor.

THANK YOU!


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Re: Help, please! Is speeding ticket worth fighting?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:37 am 
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Location: somewhere in traffic
Quote:
while I've read of the "slip effect", this is a bit of science that goes beyond me, and something I wouldn't feel confident arguing.


Best that you don't then. Although you have the perfect set-up for it.

Quote:
PC 1 states his location as "King St. overpass"; PC 2 states that PC 1 was "standing on Main St. E. exit ramp". The locations do not concur, and I'm wondering if this is sufficient to have the ticket dispensed with.


Not huge and won't save you.

Quote:
- zone -- PC 2 notes this was a posted 90km/h zone; while there is no signage indicating this (as the sign is posted before the on-ramp I used, and not again until beyond where I was stopped), I believe this is a moot point as 100km/h is still considered speeding


You could get this to work if you wanted to....

Quote:
pretests -- at 2204, tests 1, 4 (with 1 & 4 circled); pages provided from manual do not refer to such tests (just a series of numbered bullets that don't go beyond "3"), but I'm not prepared to belabour such a point on its own


This is improper disclosure and the timeline of you getting PC1's notes could get this tossed if you argue.

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Re: Help, please! Is speeding ticket worth fighting?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Thanks, Reflections! I appreciate your helpful comments.


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