Several weeks ago I got stopped driving a commercial vehicle in a truck blitz. I was driving a Ford F 450 and trailer. I was stopped by a Toronto police motorcycle officer and taken to a temporary inspection station for a truck inspection. I got 5 tickets and the owner got 5 tickets all under the HTA
My question is, does the officer have to inform me of my right to counsel? Section 10 B of the charter of Rights and freedoms
10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
I am pretty sure I was not informed of my right to counsel but the officer was wearing a body cam so I should be able to find that out. I was definitely detained as the inspection took over 2 hours. If I had known I was able to talk to my lawyer I definitely would have and I believe that might have saved me some tickets. For example I admitted to talking on my cell phone in the belief that being co-operative and friendly would save me some tickets. ( it does not)
I was totally unsure of what my rights were during the inspection, whether I was able to make phone calls or whether I had to answer all the questions. The two hour delay made me miss a very important job and we had to send another truck (I was not late and speeding, rather I was early and doing 80 kph in a 90 zone)
All input is appreciated
There is a JP in eastern Ontario who mistakenly advises those self-representing if they waive their right to counsel - there is no right to counsel.
I did a quick google search and I found this on the Alberta law society page
You have the right to talk to a lawyer
If you are arrested or detained by the police, you have the right to "retain and instruct counsel". This means you have the right to talk to a lawyer without delay. You should be provided with privacy, a phone, and appropriate phone books to contact a lawyer.
So this is my point. I was defanetly detained, but I wasn't advised of my right to speak to a lawyer. If I had know of that right I would have used it and not incriminated myself.
Does the fact that it is a traffic stop, where driving is a privilege not a right, change the dynamic of the situation?
I could see the crown arguing that it was an inspection and I did not face criminal charges, but I would argue that it was Toronto Police who stopped me so I could definitely face criminal charges. In my mind, and on the face of things, I was detained by the Police.
Generally, you should never talk to police:Heynow999 wrote:For example I admitted to talking on my cell phone in the belief that being co-operative and friendly would save me some tickets. ( it does not)
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++
The HTA allows commercial vehicle inspections as part of their licensing conditions So you were not detained either
I read this " Triggering the Right to Counsel:ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Å“DetentionÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Â and Section 10 of the Charter"
It does say that you can be detained, but not arrested, and should be given your right to counsel.
I emailed the author, who is a law professor, and he sent me this comment.
"As a general rule (without in any way commenting on your specific circumstances), police can detain people for a short period of time to deal with vehicle-related offences without complying with the s. 10(b) right to counsel. But if a detention extends beyond a "brief" period, they must inform the detainee of his or her right to counsel."
So this is my point. I would like to argue that I should have been read my 10(b) rights because I was stopped by the police, not the MTO. The MTO can't lay criminal charges (I think?) so they don't need give a 10(b) caution, but when I am stopped by police, I face the possibility of criminal charges, so I should be informed of my right to counsel
Imagine this situation, MTO stops a truck and can tell the driver has been drinking. They would call police, and the first thing police would do is give the 10(b) caution
Look, I know I'm grasping at straws, but I have successfully fought many tickets a layman and I know the only thing I have to do is make a half decent, logical argument, just enough to make the judge go Hmmmmm, and I can get the ticket thrown out. I am just looking for an obvious flaw in my reasoning.
Were you issued Offence Notices or Summons? The fact that you go the distance by getting disclosure and showing up for trial, will probably at least get you some kind of plea deal offer where they may offer to drop some charges if you plead guilty to some of the others. You then need to decide if you take the deal, or try to fight all of them based on "brief" detention.
Anyways I am very interested in the argument you decide to present, so please post it!
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++
R v Ladouceur
http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-cs ... 4/index.do
I don't see what the Right to Counsel would have done to avoid you being subject to a commercial vehicle inspection and any charges that came about because of it unless you can demonstrate that a potential conviction can only be supported due to something you said to incriminate yourself. So perhaps you could try to argue that incriminating statements you made should not be admissible, but take note that evidence such the officers observations of your behavior, the condition of the truck and whether you presented the complete relevant paperwork is likely strong enough evidence to support a conviction.
If you really want to go down the constitutional route you might as well challenge the provisions in the HTA allowing the inspection as unconstitutional (potential breach of S. 8 and 9) due to the inspection taking an unreasonably long period of time. I'm guessing that there was some sort of long lineup of people waiting? IMO once at the station an inspection longer than half hour is unreasonable.
Other than talking on a cellphone what exactly were the charges?
I understand that police can stop vehicles as part of an organized program like RIDE. I imagine this is why the police announce to the media that they are having a truck/seatbelt/speeding or whatever blitz. It nullifies the argument that you were stopped randomly. The can say," of course it was part of a program, we even announced it"
I also understand that driving a commercial vehicle I have to stop at inspection stations, and I have to cooperate with the inspection.
I thank you for referring to R vs Ladouceur as it supports exactly what I am saying. The case deals with section 7, 8 and 9.
Life, liberty and security of person
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice
Search or seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure
Detention or imprisonment
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
And it was decided that random stops were not OK, but stops as part of an organized program were OK, such as Ride. The idea being that these stops would be quick. From the judgement.
"Le Dain J. held in Hufsky, supra, at pp. 636ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â€˜37 that "The nature and degree of the intrusion of a random stop for the purposes of the spot check procedure in the present case . . . is proportionate to the purpose to be served." This observation is equally applicable to the routine check made in this case. These stops are and must be of relatively short duration, requiring the production of only a few documents. There is a minimal inconvenience caused to the driver. The Canada Police Information Centre (C.P.I.C.) data system accessible to police officers from their police cars ensures the speed and reliability of the process. The driver generally is questioned in his or her own vehicle or at worst, when there is an infraction, in the police cruiser. There is seldom a need to bring the driver to the police station. Nor is there usually a need for intrusive searches of the driver or the vehicle. If they were intrusive, they would probably be subject to challenge as infringing s. 8 of the Charter . The routine check impairs the s. 9 guarantee against arbitrary detention as little as possible"
So what happened to me was anything but brief. As I mentioned "spot check" detained me for at least 2 hours. I was stopped by Toronto Police, not the MTO. I faced the possibility of criminal charges. I incriminated myself with the mistaken belief that I should offer information.
I am not claiming any infringement under 7,8 or 9
I Am claiming that I was detained by Police for two hours, and was not informed of my right to counsel guaranteed under section 10(b). Why was I not entitled to that right?
From a government of Canada website
"The Constitution is the supreme law of Canada. Generally speaking, all other laws must be consistent with the rules set out in the Constitution. If they are not, they may not be valid. Since the Charter is part of the Constitution, laws that limit Charter rights may be invalid. This makes the Charter the most important law we have in Canada"
The Constitution (and Charter) supersede other laws. Please show me where it has been decided that my right to counsel when being detained was taken away
That is my argument
There was no lineup at the inspection station. It was a temporary station in a parking lot, they would get one truck at a time, inspect it, then go get another when they were done. There were 3 Toronto police inspecting the vehicle for two hours
I got the following tickets
Handled device- I admitted to that
Fail to surrender CVOR- my employer is disorganized with their paperwork
Overweight vehicle- it wasn't, we weighted it after the stop at proper certified truck scales
Fail to surrender inspection report- I have no excuse
Fail to display device- expired safety on trailer by 9 days, again company disorganized
It has been established that's is OK to infringe on someone's rights under section 7, 8 and 9 because road safety is more important to the public good.
Does that mean that it is OK to infringe upon other Charter rights in the interest of road safety? Do I still have my rights under 10(b) when I am detained for a traffic stop? The answer is obvious, of course I still have my other rights. If I didn't, I could be pulled over if I were say Jewish
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion"
Or when I was pulled over the police could waterboard me
"Treatment or punishment
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."
So of course I have the right to counsel, and I was not told of that right
"10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right"
Again in this case Neither applies as comercial vehicles accept they are subject to these inspections as part of their operation conditions. There fore there is no detention or arrest it is a traffic stop ans inspection that is explicitly allowed under Ontario laws and regs of the road.
I've never heard it phrased as a part of the operating condition. The way I see it is that if you want to drive in Ontario have to follow the laws though if the laws are not constitutional that is a matter you have to resolve through the courts.OPS Copper wrote: Again in this case Neither applies as comercial vehicles accept they are subject to these inspections as part of their operation conditions. There fore there is no detention or arrest it is a traffic stop ans inspection that is explicitly allowed under Ontario laws and regs of the road.
Section 82 of the HTA specifies that you can be "required" to submit to and assist with inspections and tests the officer considers "expedient".
If you had done the pre-trip inspection you would have seen an expired inspection sticker for the trailer and missing CVOR and parked the truck and told your employer you cannot drive the vehicle as it is. If you only have a G license you may have not ever really been trained on how to perform one, but I would hope from a worker safety standpoint you employer would ensure that you were.
As it stands most of the tickets are for things that would be apparent as soon as you were pulled over and have very little to do with an in depth inspection itself (cracked springs or tires, loose steering. etc). Even a successful constitutional argument might only offer you relief from the officer stating as evidence that you admitted to talking the phone while driving but as I said would not stop him from saying he saw you using it while driving.
Weighing a truck on mobile scales is problematic as they usually only weigh one axle at a time and are not always certified devices. When you leave a gravel pit their certified scale ticket will trump a portable scale for gross weight. If you don't already, you need to understand that the trucks plates need to be registered for at least the entire weight for both truck and trailer when fully loaded and that every axle needs to be loaded evenly in a manner that does not exceed its manufacturer's weight rating. I don't know that an after the fact weigh in will help much.
Most of the time when you get a whack of charges they tend to offer a pretty good deal in exchange for pleading guilty. It may be your best outcome.