Handheld device - at red light - need advice

Ufo
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Handheld device - at red light - need advice

Unread post by Ufo on

Hi everyone - I recently received a handheld device ticket and I'm going to the prosecutor tomorrow.

Event:
Before starting the car I had punched in an address of a place I wanted to swing by before heading home. This was at night, the conditions were not great (wet roads, cold, but not snowing much). When I started driving, maps voice command wasn't clear and I also saw a text rushing me home (phone was on the seat). After awhile, after frustratingly trying to get maps to amend the location via voice command, I pick up the phone at a red light to check the map and look at the layout. Then I threw my phone on the seat which bounced to the ground..

I got pulled over by an officer and he said he saw me hold the phone with both hands and saw the light from the phone reflect off the glass. But he did not ask to inspect the phone and I don't think he saw any phone because the phone is somewhere in the car, in the dark (I doubt he did because later I had to turn on a light to find it). I got nervous (this was the first time I ever been pulled over for anything) and said I saw a text and I had maps on and was trying to get home (I may have inadvertently made it sound worse than it is).

Question:
I've read a few posts so far and want to confirm whether or not this is something that can be successful fought. He said he saw me hold my phone and I said something that could be incriminating. From my understanding - correct me if I'm off - but prosecutor just needs to prove I'm holding a device, not using it.

If I go to the prosecutor tomorrow - would I have an easier time getting him or her to help me reduce the fine (and ideally demerit point impact if that's possible) by having him change the charge to something else? Than say pleading not guilty and waiting to see the officers' notes?

Would the prosecutor get ahold of the notes tomorrow or only after I plead not guilty and they set a trial date?

Would pleading not guilty, then going to court and asking to plead guilty then make the prosecutor less inclined to give me a lower charge (as in, would it be better to do option 2 Given you're wasting less of his or her time?)

would my clean record (up until now) make any difference at all in terms of them willing to help me out (I've heard of cases where the prosecutor would reduce the actual offense or change it to something else - for example anecdotally someone's grandmother I know had a disabled sign but it wasn't on the dash, and the prosecutor ended up just cancelling her charge).

Is it worth going to a ticket fighter / ticket lawyer for something like this? I have yet to see any successful examples....

Tl;Dr: tried to use voice controls / guidance on maps, picked up phone at red light, is there any benefit to Option 2 vs option 3 besides saves time (e.g more leniency from prosecutor or prosecutor not having seen notes from officer?)

Thanks in advance!


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bobajob
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Unread post by bobajob on

If your holding it, that's all that is required, doesn't matter where, stop light etc, if the engine is running and your on the road i.e not pulled over and properly/safely stopped.
Clean record doesn't matter
I don't think it can be reduced as there is no other charge to reduce it to,

Others will be along to corroborate and offer advise
--------------------------------------------------------------
* NO you cant touch your phone
* Speeding is speeding
* Challenge every ticket
* Impaired driving, you should be locked up UNDER the jail


Ufo
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Unread post by Ufo on

Thanks bobajob.

So tomorrow - is there any benefit to me choosing option 2 vs option 3? For example potentially more leniency in terms of fine? (Cause it sounds like demerits maybe not)

Or is there downside to Option 3 given I could still just before the court trial ask for a plea deal with the prosecutor?


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bobajob
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Unread post by bobajob on

SO this is my 2c's (options)

1> work out the cost of going to court, parking, loss of wages and of course the fine. (it will only ever be mon-fri they want to punish you criminals even further :) )
2> I guess going to ER (early resolution) you could put a case, they "may" listen to you, you could do something on the fine, as you say you have a clean record, you show remorse,
3> Take it to trial , you can at anytime UP to going in, settle for the charge and pay it, get disclosure post it here (block out the personal details) some one can advise you

4> Demerit points have no effect on insurance, they are just a totting up thing for the ministry, when you hit (what ever it is) your license is suspended or something like that

5> IF they do not lower the fine, but say they will drop the demerits it's of no benefits.

with HH cases, like speeding, it is an absolute case, that is you either WHERE speeding (+1 over) or you WHERE holding the phone, generally they don't take an argument.

I think I saw a defense when I went to court, the guy said he didn't know about the rules, can't remember what the outcome was, but I saw several people, eat humble pie
and if the prosecutor was in a good mood, 1 or 2 got let off.




Ufo wrote:Thanks bobajob.

So tomorrow - is there any benefit to me choosing option 2 vs option 3? For example potentially more leniency in terms of fine? (Cause it sounds like demerits maybe not)

Or is there downside to Option 3 given I could still just before the court trial ask for a plea deal with the prosecutor?
--------------------------------------------------------------
* NO you cant touch your phone
* Speeding is speeding
* Challenge every ticket
* Impaired driving, you should be locked up UNDER the jail


jsherk
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Unread post by jsherk on

Personal opinion is that early resolution is a waste of time, because you have to take day off and even if you come to an agreement, you still need to show up on the court date anyways. If you just plead not guilty and ask for a trial, then you can just show up on the court date and meet the prosecutor before trial and discuss plea bargain then.

As a side note, the court can NOT reduce demerit points for a charge. If the charge is 3 demerits, then it will be 3 demerits and they can not change that. They can however usually reduce the fine amount if you ask (always ask the JP, even if the prosecutor does not agree). The only way to get reduced demerit points is to accept a plea deal to a different charge that has less demerit points associated with it. And also remeber that insurance companies do not care about demerits, so even a 0 demerit charge can still cause your insurance to increase.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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highwaystar
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Unread post by highwaystar on

Actually, Early Resolution meetings are not a waste of time. You generally meet with the prosecutor within 10 minutes of your appointment time, meet with them in a private office for 3-5 minutes, and are then directed to go in to the courtroom to enter a plea (if you're pleading guilty). Your matter is then usually called up within 15 minutes. Its very much like an assembly line! So, if you're lucky, you can be in and out within 30 minutes with a reduced fine! Rarely will it ever be more than 1 hour. In Op's case, his fine will likely be reduced to $225 or $250 (plus victim fine surcharge and the $5 court cost) instead of the $400 set fine. So, its a savings of $175.

That sure beats wasting your time at a trial date where you won't meet with a prosecutor in private (you meet right there in court for perhaps a minute) and are less likely to get as good of a deal (since they've had to call in the officer/witnesses and prepared for the trial).

So, early resolution meetings can be very cost effective for the Crown (since they don't call any witnesses that day) and especially for defendants who don't have very good odds of winning their case. You should really only go directly to trial if you know that's what you want. If you know you'll be pleading guilty, then shoot for a lesser fine and a lot less time wasting by going the ER route.


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Unread post by jsherk on

My experience with early resolution is meet with the prosecutor at their office in Barrie and then come back on trial date to Oriilia or Penetanguishene court house (where ever is was scheduled). Orillia and Penetang only have certain days for court and the prosecutors do not have an office in those locations. So I guess it would not hurt to call the prosecutors office first and find out if you will be able to see JP right away if you come to agreement.

If you can do everything in one visit to early resolution meeting, then it may be more worthwhile. But I was unaware that was possible until now.
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


daggx
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Unread post by daggx on

jsherk wrote:My experience with early resolution is meet with the prosecutor at their office in Barrie and then come back on trial date to Oriilia or Penetanguishene court house (where ever is was scheduled). Orillia and Penetang only have certain days for court and the prosecutors do not have an office in those locations. So I guess it would not hurt to call the prosecutors office first and find out if you will be able to see JP right away if you come to agreement.

If you can do everything in one visit to early resolution meeting, then it may be more worthwhile. But I was unaware that was possible until now.
I would imagine that this depends on the jurisdiction. I know in Toronto both the Criminal and Provincial Offences Courts have a Judge and JP respectively who sit in something called Pleas Court and their whole job is just to rubber stamp plea bargains all day. However, smaller places like Oriilia or Penetanguishene probably don't have the volume of cases to justify this set up.


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Nanuk
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Unread post by Nanuk on

bobajob wrote:If your holding it, that's all that is required, doesn't matter where, stop light etc, if the engine is running and your on the road i.e not pulled over and properly/safely stopped.
Clean record doesn't matter
I don't think it can be reduced as there is no other charge to reduce it to,

Others will be along to corroborate and offer advise

Don't ask me how, but in Brockville ON they have been amending the charge to ''disobey sign'' . Apparently somewhere on the highway, perhaps when you enter the province there are signs that say you can't use your cell while driving.... its a stretch but its being done.


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bobajob
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Unread post by bobajob on

I think each region does things differently, one in TO, met in a private cubicle, very quick one in Miss. in an open court again done quickly
jsherk wrote:My experience with early resolution is meet with the prosecutor at their office in Barrie and then come back on trial date to Oriilia or Penetanguishene court house (where ever is was scheduled). Orillia and Penetang only have certain days for court and the prosecutors do not have an office in those locations. So I guess it would not hurt to call the prosecutors office first and find out if you will be able to see JP right away if you come to agreement.

If you can do everything in one visit to early resolution meeting, then it may be more worthwhile. But I was unaware that was possible until now.
--------------------------------------------------------------
* NO you cant touch your phone
* Speeding is speeding
* Challenge every ticket
* Impaired driving, you should be locked up UNDER the jail


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bobajob
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Unread post by bobajob on

ahh ok, txs

but either way, a minor conviction is still a minor conviction (as far as your insurance company is concerned
Nanuk wrote:
bobajob wrote:If your holding it, that's all that is required, doesn't matter where, stop light etc, if the engine is running and your on the road i.e not pulled over and properly/safely stopped.
Clean record doesn't matter
I don't think it can be reduced as there is no other charge to reduce it to,

Others will be along to corroborate and offer advise

Don't ask me how, but in Brockville ON they have been amending the charge to ''disobey sign'' . Apparently somewhere on the highway, perhaps when you enter the province there are signs that say you can't use your cell while driving.... its a stretch but its being done.
--------------------------------------------------------------
* NO you cant touch your phone
* Speeding is speeding
* Challenge every ticket
* Impaired driving, you should be locked up UNDER the jail


jsherk
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Unread post by jsherk on

Yes a minor is a minor for insurance purposes but I think disobey sign is a lot less expensive fine.




+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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