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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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The system works - it beat me down until I gave up.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:35 am 
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I've been researching for months for defence strategy and basic trial information regarding my speeding ticket. However, the information is so conflicting that I have no confidence whatsoever that I know what I'm doing.

I didn't get this info from a friend of a friend, it came from this website, court officials, case laws, and a consultation with a traffic ticket fighting company.

I still have no idea what they can and cannot bring up in court and what my options are to challenge it.

I had every intention to stand up for my rights and fight this, but I didn't expect to go in there blind, so I'm giving up. I went in this morning to plea bargain and get this over with, but was told I couldn't because the prosecutor is away sick. And since my court date is Tuesday I was told I have no time left to plea bargain so I have to attend the trial (which is not what the ticket fighting company said... but who knows...).

I wonder if I can call in sick. :roll:

If the "justice" system is designed to confuse the hell out of people to give them no hope and just plead guilty, then it works perfectly as designed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:56 am 
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You had the right idea, but unfortunately the prosecutor is sick. That happens to all people.

You did sorta wait til the last minute, but you can still talk to them on your court date.

Courts aren't simple and user friendly or easy to understand, they've gotten more complicated over the years unfortunately as a result of case law, rights, judicial decisions etc...

Go to your trial day, try for your plea on that date, if not ask for an adjournment saying as a result of not being able to meet with the prosecutor ahead of time...

Unfortunately like every thing else run by the government (read: lawyers) it's about as user friendly as an electric chair (and not the nice comfy massage ones either)...

Fight on!!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:17 pm 
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Hold on, did you hire a traffic ticket fighting company?

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http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:31 pm 
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Yes, rights make courts more complicated.. Maybe that's because an accusation doesn't necessarily mean guilt.. We should dispense with this nonsense, hang'em all and let God sort'em out :twisted:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Radar Identified wrote:
Hold on, did you hire a traffic ticket fighting company?

No, when I left the court offices, 50 feet away was this "we fight traffic tickets" place. So I went in for the free consultation. Only to leave more confused as what they said was different from what I was told literally 2 minutes ago.
This was the Tannery building in Newmarket.


But he did answer my question about the officer's notes not showing a time for the lidar retest. He said that since it's laser, and not radar, then it only needs to be tested once a day, which it was. There is no need for a retest at the end of the day so the JP will ignore the undocumented retest.

He also said if they bring up the original speed (not the lowered speed I was ticketed at), they will do this AFTER I'm found guilty, which basically means I have no way of fighting or objecting to the new amount since I'm already found guilty. I was under the impression they will suggest to amend to the higher speed and then ask me if I want to proceed or change my plea based on this new info.

I still don't know how to make a plea bargain. The people at the courts office said to come in the morning at 9 or 10 and speak to a Prosecutor (which I tried to do this morning). But the ticket fighting company laughed and said I need to show up 15 minutes before my court time to make a deal. If I show up even 1/2 hour early they won't see me, let alone 6 hours early at 9am.

I am sure this court (and all others) answer the same questions 100 times a day. It would be nice if they posted a FAQ document so there are no misunderstandings.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Just an FYI, the speed can only go up to the number given as evidence from the officer in a trial.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:02 pm 
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hwybear wrote:
Just an FYI, the speed can only go up to the number given as evidence from the officer in a trial.

Thanks, but that doesn't provide any comfort if he's allowed to go by memory (since nothing is mentioned in his disclosure notes). If his memory is not that clear he can basically bring it up to any number he "remembers". And I could be screwed even worse than the worse case scenario.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Gweedz wrote:
He said that since it's laser, and not radar, then it only needs to be tested once a day, which it was. There is no need for a retest at the end of the day so the JP will ignore the undocumented retest.


I don't buy that. I believe that the paralegal may have indeed said that, but I don't agree with his take at all. Here's why:

R. v. Schlesinger, 2007

And yes it did involve laser. Specifically, Justice of the Peace Cuthbertson said:

Quote:
The standards that would satisfy this court are:

a) Evidence that the laser tests had been done by a qualified officer according to the manufacturer’s specifications and that the device passed the tests and

b) Evidence of a specific time when the tests were done both before and after a speed enforcement stop .


Gweedz wrote:
I still don't know how to make a plea bargain. The people at the courts office said to come in the morning at 9 or 10 and speak to a Prosecutor (which I tried to do this morning). But the ticket fighting company laughed and said I need to show up 15 minutes before my court time to make a deal. If I show up even 1/2 hour early they won't see me, let alone 6 hours early at 9am.


They're talking about two different ways of plea bargaining:

1. Walk-in First Attendance. This is what the courts people said to do. You walk in at any time and ask to meet with a Prosecutor, and tell them you want to seek a resolution to your charge. They told you to do this so that they can reduce the Prosecutor's workload during trial sessions.
2. Pre-Trial Plea Bargain. On the day of your trial, you show up early and meet with the Prosecutor to seek a resolution. This is what the paralegal was referring to.

They are two different things but they have the same result. Either way, you simply talk to the Prosecutor and tell them you want to resolve the issue to avoid a trial and make everyone's life easier. At that point, the Prosecutor may present some options, or ask you what you are seeking.

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* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:51 am 
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Radar Identified wrote:
I don't buy that. I believe that the paralegal may have indeed said that, but I don't agree with his take at all. Here's why:

R. v. Schlesinger, 2007


I read that case and thought it was a slam dunk, until I spoke with the paralegal. Which is one reason why I'm confused going into this and considering a plea bargain.


Quote:
They are two different things but they have the same result. Either way, you simply talk to the Prosecutor and tell them you want to resolve the issue to avoid a trial and make everyone's life easier. At that point, the Prosecutor may present some options, or ask you what you are seeking.

From what I've been reading I believe my chances of getting this reduced are excellent, but do you think I have any chance of getting this cahnged to a non-moving violation so it doesn't affect my insurance? Even if I have to pay the full fine I don't care - as long as there is no insurance record.
But even better... if I mention the case law above and show him the officer's notes missing the time... does the prosecutor have the authority to quash this before even going to the JP?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:54 pm 
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Gweedz wrote:
I read that case and thought it was a slam dunk, until I spoke with the paralegal.


Just a question: Did the paralegal tell you "just pay it," or words to the effect of "if you give me the case I might be able to win" implying he knew some technicalities?

Also... worthwhile to note what the manufacturer's manual says regarding testing. (You'll need disclosure of the manual.)

Gweedz wrote:
do you think I have any chance of getting this cahnged to a non-moving violation so it doesn't affect my insurance?


Depends on the Prosecutor. It's not too likely, but I have heard of some rare cases where the Prosecutor has offered a rather expensive parking infraction (e.g. $100 parking fine for a $52.50 speeding ticket). But the amount of money it would save you on insurance (depending on your provider, some would forgive 15-over)... I'd call that win-win... see if they'd take it...

Gweedz wrote:
does the prosecutor have the authority to quash this before even going to the JP?


Some Prosecutors will withdraw the charge, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:38 pm 
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In my experience, you don't get much of a deal from the Prosecutor BEFORE the trial date.

The best deal for speeding is 10 minutes before the court opens. The Crown will find you. If not, find him/her yourself. Ask that the officer be pointed out as proof he is in court that day. It's almost assured that you can get 15-over ($60 and out the door, no points, no insurance hit).


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:44 pm 
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+1

That's what I'd do.

there are times when a paralegal / lawyer is of value, not thinking this is one of them.

Prosecutors are usually looking to make a deal.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:01 am 
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The paralegal didn't seem too interested. He seemed preoccupied with other stuff he was doing. But it was a "free" consultation after all.

Good point about the manual... I just went through it and it mentions "daily test to be performed before enforcement operations". I read this as being required only 1 per day, which is what the officer did. But this still goes against the case law that says it should be done twice daily. I may bring it up but if the prosecutor says it's only required once a day I won't push it.

Bookm wrote:
In my experience, you don't get much of a deal from the Prosecutor BEFORE the trial date.

That's intersting, why do you think it is this way?
I assumed that if all they want to do is save the court's time then it would be best to go before the trial date since then they wouldn't have to book the trial and call in the officer. But if you go 10 minutes before the trial the booking is already done and the officer is already there so they don't save much and there's not as much incentive to give you a good deal.


Bookm wrote:
The best deal for speeding is 10 minutes before the court opens. The Crown will find you. If not, find him/her yourself. Ask that the officer be pointed out as proof he is in court that day. It's almost assured that you can get 15-over ($60 and out the door, no points, no insurance hit).

That's what I plan to do. Court date is today, I'll be going in early. I thought insurance companies view EVERY moving violation as either a minor or major and assumed 15 over would be a minor one, just like 29 over (I also thought 30 over and up is a major). If 15 over has no insurance hit then I'll go for this as it seems more do-able than converting to a non-moving violation.

Any other last minute tips would be appreciated - I'm leaving for the courts at 1:30. I plan to bring a stack of papers (case laws, laser manual, etc. etc.) hoping they don't want to waste the time going through them and just make me a deal I can't refuse! Whatever happens, I thank you all in advance and will keep you posted on the outcome.


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Finally Over
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:32 am 
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I spoke with the prosecutor 10 minutes before the trial. Standing next to us was this tall bald officer, who I think was the one that stopped me (not 100% sure). I don't remember him being that tall when he stopped me, which was pretty intimidating. Prosecutor asked what I'd like to do and I said I'd like to get this over with ASAP. She laughed and proposed 15-over (just like Bookm predicted). Before replying I asked the officer if he was Mr. xxx (who stopped me), and he said yes. I turned to the prosecutor and said I'll take her deal. She laughed again and said he's not really as mean as he looks.
When I walked back to my seat I noticed he was standing on a step!

After the formalities I pulled the officer aside and showed him his notes where there is no time indicated for the second laser retest (but there is mention of the test) and asked him what would have happened if I brought this up in court. He said the entry before the test was 17:22, and the entry after the test was 18:00, so even though the test itself doesn't show a time, it happened between 17:22 and 18:00. Which all the courts care about is that it happened. This makes sense and now I'm glad I didn't go through with the trial.

My only regret is no asking the prosecutor for a non-moving violation charge. I was the first one up and was surprised with how easily she dropped from 29 over to 15 over and think I said "OK" too soon.
I guess I will never know what her response would have been.

FYI She proposed the 15-over to everyone in the courtroom (about 8-10 people) and they all accepted. All the cases were between 22-over and 29-over.

One thing I learned after all this... a traffic court judge has a boring job, does the least amount of work and gets the most respect!

Once again thanks for everyone who offered help... I really appreciate it and it did make life easier.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Gweedz wrote:
Bookm wrote:
The best deal for speeding is 10 minutes before the court opens. The Crown will find you. If not, find him/her yourself. Ask that the officer be pointed out as proof he is in court that day. It's almost assured that you can get 15-over ($60 and out the door, no points, no insurance hit).

That's what I plan to do. Court date is today, I'll be going in early. I thought insurance companies view EVERY moving violation as either a minor or major and assumed 15 over would be a minor one, just like 29 over (I also thought 30 over and up is a major). If 15 over has no insurance hit then I'll go for this as it seems more do-able than converting to a non-moving violation.


I grilled my Insurance guy a couple years ago, so I would have a better idea how to handle a speeding ticket I had at the time (completely innocent of course! :wink:).

Other insurance companies policies may differ, but my guy stated fines without points will not be considered at renewal time.

Link to my Insurance questions...
http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/post5387.html?highlight=#5387

BTW, my last court attendance (speeding), I tried for a non-moving violation. She chuckled and asked if I was from the States. LOL. She said they don't do that here.


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