Consequence of pleading not guilty to an unreduced charge?

runaway
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Consequence of pleading not guilty to an unreduced charge?

by: runaway on
Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:09 pm

I searched the forums and haven't found an answer to this. I'm wondering if there's an argument for pleading guilty to a full charge if there's even the slightest of uncertainty that you are guilty.

The charge in my particular case is driving with a handheld device. My case is borderline at best, but as opposed to pleading guilty in court after showing up and the officer is present, why wouldn't I plead not guilty, make my case, and be found guilty by JP? What's the worst that can happen?

My case, FWIW: I was using GPS on my phone. I have two phones, one with SIM card, one without, and I was using GPS on my phone without SIM card... But it was in my hand indeed. I was looking to left side of the road to see name of street coming up, and officer came up the right side of my vehicle.

This is my first post and this is a great forum - thanks in advance for running it and for any responses.




runaway
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by: runaway on
Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:28 pm

argyll wrote:I think you're being generous saying your case is borderline at best !
I meant I'm likely to be found guilty. To clarify, if I'm sitting there in court, what are the downsides of pleading not guilty and letting the JP find me guilty, as opposed to simply pleading guilty?


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by: jsherk on
Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:59 pm

As far as I am aware, you have nothing to lose by pleading not guilty and going to trial and being found guilty by the JP. Conviction and fine should be the same either way.

If the prosecutor offers you a plea deal ahead of time for a reduced fine if you plead guilty, then if you plead not guilty and lose you would be charged full fine intead of the lower amount offered by the prosecutor.

So there would be no downside to pleading your case if the prosecutor does not offer a plea deal before hand.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++






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by: highwaystar on
Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:02 pm

It could prove much more costly for you. Out of court, the set fine of $400 applies. However, once you go in to court, the set fine no longer applies but rather the statutory fine. In your case, the range is $300 to $1000. Rarely, will they go lower than the set fine. Rather, on a first offence, some JPs will go as high as $600 (but sometimes more if there are aggravating factors). It happens more than you might think. So, beware.

By the way, holding a cellphone with no sim card or that doesn't transmit is also no defence. You're still holding a cellphone. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the cell works. Read the Kazemi case from the Court of Appeal for confirmation.


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by: jsherk on
Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:30 pm

highwaystar wrote:It could prove much more costly for you. Out of court, the set fine of $400 applies. However, once you go in to court, the set fine no longer applies but rather the statutory fine. In your case, the range is $300 to $1000. Rarely, will they go lower than the set fine. Rather, on a first offence, some JPs will go as high as $600 (but sometimes more if there are aggravating factors).
I did not know this! Good to know.

So now I see that section 78(5) lists this range of $300 to $1000.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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by: ynotp on
Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:42 am

I agree with the other posters. That being said if you request and prepare for a trial there is always the possibility of a stay of the charge if the officer is a no show or it takes too long to get to trial either from scheduling or late disclosure on the fault of the prosecutor/officer. If you don't mind potentially paying an increased fine it is a good way to see how the court system works should you ever get another ticket.


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