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no plate light, should i fight it?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:34 pm
Posts: 5
several days ago i was driving down a hill just after a rain fall in waterloo. a traffic light at the bottom of the hill turned yellow. i braked a bit to check the roads, and decided to proceed through the light in order to avoid the risk of skidding. i made it through the entire intersection without the light going red. a police car that had been waiting at the intersection pulled me over.

confused, i very politely asked the officer the purpose of the stop. he first said he didn't need a reason to pull me over. he then said it was illegal to go through a yellow light unless it would be unsafe to stop. i told him, again very politely, that i truly believed in my case i could not have stopped safely (i.e., without skidding). i was travelling at the posted limit, 60km/h, not speeding.

the officer then inspected my car, told me my shocks needed work (they don't), and issued me a ticket that reads as follows:

===
Did commit the offence of:
Improper amber
plate light (white light only shining on plate)

Contrary to:
Highway Traffic Act

Sect: 62 (19)

Total payable:
$110.00
==

the officer told me i was lucky to get away with just the plate light offence, and i was lucky he wasn't giving me a ticket for the improper amber, nor doing a full inspection on my car. i thank him for his understanding and drove away.

questions:

1) does the plate light (no points) offence have any chance of affecting my insurance rates?
2) if i fight the ticket, can the officer choose to add the "Improper amber" to the list of charges?
3) i had an over-50km/h speeding ticket a year ago. will the officer bring that ticket to the judge's attention as part of my driving record (which has otherwise been quite clean for 25 years)?
4) if i show a mechanic's receipt for the fixed plate light and ask that all charges be dropped, do i have any chance of winning?

i live in toronto, and would rather not take the day off work to attend court if my chances are very low.

thanks!

~nta


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:20 am
Posts: 1065
First of all, the correct charge wording for the offence under 62(19) is not "Improper amber plate light (white light only shining on plate)", it's "improper number plate light". You could raise this issue, but I don't know if it's a fatal error. Your previous conviction for speeding is unrelated to the plate light so will not likely be held relevant. It is extremely unlikely that they will add any charges if you fight it. If you get the plate light fixed, the prosecutor may drop the charge, but more likely they'll just offer a reduced fine.

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http://www.boryslaw.ca
NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:34 pm
Posts: 5
hi simon,
thanks so much for your super speedy reply!

any thoughts on my first question:

1) does the plate light (no points) offence have any chance of affecting my insurance rates?

also, a new question, if i do fight the ticket, what is the most effective, polite way of asking the judge to drop the charge? something along the lines of "your honour, i'm very glad the officer brought this issue to my attention. i immediately had the light fixed, and i would very respectfully like to ask that the charge be dropped."

is it worth mentioning my financial situation? for example, i help my nephew (who has a single mom) with school fees, and i would much rather have the money to support him than risk higher insurance rates. is that kind of position ever taken into consideration by the judge?

(lastly, just for the record, on closer inspection, the officer's handwriting has an error which he seems to have attempted to correct. the word "number" is written as "aumber" which i read as "amber". so probably not an issue worth raising.)


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:34 pm
Posts: 5
hey simon, one more : )

you wrote: "It is extremely unlikely that they will add any charges if you fight it."

just out of curiosity, though unlikely, in the court room, is it technically possible for an officer to bring a new up charge from memory that's not on an original ticket?


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
Posts: 2110
Location: Ontario
1) Any conviction can impact insurance rates, check with your provider to find out. It would be a minor conviction, so a rate increase should be minimal if any.

2) The Justice of the Peace can't withdraw the charge, he can only find you guilty or not guilty. Only the Crown can withdraw the charge. The JP can however offer you a reduced fine for financial hardship. Regardless the conviction would still be on your record.

3) The officer would need to serve you a summons for the new offence. It's possible it could be done, but I've never heard of it.


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:34 pm
Posts: 5
thanks again! and thanks for all the fantastic information you have contributed on this site.


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:34 pm
Posts: 5
an update:

i just received my "Notice of Trial". the original ticket reads:

Improper amber plate light
Sect: 62 (19)

but the "Notice of Trial" reads:

4 LIGHTED HEADLIGHT - CMV
Sect: 62 (9)

questions:
1) can i use this discrepancy to my advantage? if so, how should i proceed?

for example, can i simply attend the trial and plead not guilty to 62(9) because i definitely don't have more than 4 headlights?

2) if the prosecution asks for an amendment that is granted, can i ask for a new trial on the grounds that i had prepared to defend 62(9) not 62(19)?

thank you!
colin


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Re: no plate light, should i fight it?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Posts: 2933
Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
The "charging" document before the court is the original ticket.
The "notice of trial" is just that, notifying you of a trial. Simply whomever typed in the "notice of trial" forgot the "1" in "19" and the computer defaulted to the other wording.

_________________
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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