This is more of an FYI for the forum.
So when I spoke with the prosecutor, just as others have mentioned in this forum, there is no lower charge they can offer you for hand held devices. So it's not like they can change the nature of the charge (like change this to a non-moving charge for example).
However, they asked people in the courtroom whether you own the vehicle driven for the charge. They noted that if you own the vehicle they could offer a fine between $0 and $490, and 0 demerit points. But if you were driving a car you didn't own (say a family car - even if you're the primary or sole driver), then they can only offer to give you the minimum fine of $300 and it's still 3 demerit points.
So you'll want to bring documentation showing your ownership of the car listed on ticket.
The forum isn't allowing me to edit or add to the first post.
One additional observation: they ask people to show up 30mins early and as people are approaching the prosecutors, the officers are also entering the courtroom and taking their seats. So here is a good opportunity for you to observe whether the officer who gave you the ticket is in. That said, the JP would make a call for the officer when it's your turn (I can't tell whether it's just for the courtroom or over a PA system in case the officer is nearby). But if there's no answer after what felt like 5 secs, the prosecutor can move for dismissal. So in this case, it's advantageous for one to be called early (because some officers are coming into the courtroom late).
I honestly don't think the prosecutor knows what they're talking about. There is no short wording for the offence of owner use handheld device. Demerit points are also out of the control of the JP and prosecutor. They are applied by the MTO after a conviction.
What charge are they actually using to eliminate the demerit points?
That's the thing - I skimmed this forum and online and I didn't see what he mentioned as an option. But had asked for clarification on why ownership of vehicle should matter and he said he asked because that determines what he can offer as a plea bargain.
...Perhaps I misheard him? He spoke quickly and was also a bit agitated (probably not helped by my asking of questions). But I'm fairly certain I heard him say then the range of fines he could offer if you owned the vehicle is 0-490 and no demerits (and the demerit point goes counter to what we've been told and known thus far in other posts).
And there isn't a "lower" charge, because I asked it to confirm that that is the case.
Whether you own the vehicle or not has no bearing on what a fine should be in this case, and most others. Zero points is not an option if convicted of this offence.
Maybe the prosecutor needs to go back to school.
Let's assume I heard incorrectly on the demerits portion given he was mumbling and speaking quickly (I still think he said it could be 0) and say that it still stays at 3 points, I am absolutely certain that he said he can have the fine range from 0 to 490 (because he wrote it down) if I owned the vehicle vs a min of $300 and max of $1000 otherwise. I'm certain on the fine reduction because I went back to him to ask him why my ownership of the vehicle was relevant and he explained that it affected what he could offer as a plea bargain.
I did find it very strange because honestly I have never seen any mention of this in the forum. Maybe it's new?
In any case, my point is:
1) bring documentation showing you own the car listed during the offense - in case something like this happens
2) unless you're trying to get the trial moved to another date due to there being too many cases that day (and I think your mileage will vary based on which court house), it can potentially be advantageous to show up early for court. Because there's also the possibility of the officer showing up late (or after they dismiss the case).
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