How long does an officer/crown have to charge or alter a Highway Traffic Act charge?
An officer charged my mom under 141(6) but it should have been 141(5). Six months have passed already and the court date is set for a few months from now. My hope is that the crown will not be able to re-charge her once they realize during the trial that they have charged her under the wrong count.
Just wondering what leads you to believe that they have laid the wrong charge? Do you have disclosure yet?
They can ask to amend the charge right up until the trial starts.
They can not issue a NEW charge after 6 months.
141(6) deals with how to make the turn, where the left turning vehicle is physically placed on the roadway. Where 141(5) deals with turning left in front of another vehicle, not giving the approaching vehicle time to avoid a collision to the vehicle making the left turn. 141(5) would be a closely related charge to Turn Not In Safety, section 142(1), either could be laid. If the wrong charge was laid, the prosecutor may seek to amend the charge during the trial to the proper charge as outlined in the provincial offences act, section 34.
During the trial you should always object when they try to amend a charge with something like:
"The amendment will cause a prejudice and misleading to my defense as I was not giving sufficient notice of this change, and also I am not prepared to defend a different charge than the one I was initially charged with."
They may or may not warn you before the trial that they are going to amend it, but that is still not sufficient notice.
Yes, you can object. The Justice of the Peace will ask if you have any objections before making a ruling on any amendment. In this case, the amendment is very closely related to the origional charge. Both charges come from the same section, and are only one subsectio away from each other, so there is not a huge difference between the two. It is not like you are going from a turning charge to not wearing a seat belt. The JP can always stand down the matter for a while or even adjourn the matter to give you the extra time required to prepare.
This is one of those situations where you don't bring it up until the appropriate time during the trial. So essential they either have to proceed with the wrong charge and will be unable to prove the element of the offence (you win), try to amend the charge (object and at the very least get a delay attributed to the crown hopefully placing you in 11b territory) or withdraw/dismiss the charge (that they cannot reissue after 6 months).
What @screech and @ynotp said
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