I'm new to this but would really appreciate any help I can get.
I was going SB on the 404 South of Finch Avenue, and stuck in rush hour traffic. I was late to work, so decided to cross the white line marking the lanes to take the exit onto Sheppard Ave. However, the cop pulled me over as I failed to stay in the marked lane.
Couple of questions:
a) I got a $110 ticket but want to fight it as I'm sure my insurance will go up if I'm convicted of an offence under the Highway Traffic Act. However, she let me off easy by not giving me any demerit points as I was honest about being late to work and making the unsafe lane change. Just wondering though, if I go to court to fight this - can they still increase my ticket to give me the three demerit points anyways?
b) Is it worth fighting or should I just plead guilty and accept it? Should I ask for a disclosure of the officer's notes to challenge the evidence. I fully admit I was in the wrong so not sure if going to court will do anything besides reducing my ticket. As well, if I go to court - wont I have to pay court fees and what not...
Any advice would be really appreciated - I'm a little nervous about going to court as I havent done it before so think any help would be beneficial!
Problem is, the officer does not have discretion as to whether or not to apply demerit points. In your case, a conviction under section 154 (c) of the Highway Traffic Act would result in 3 demerit points. The courts actually don't have the power to change that, either. When you get convicted of any driving infraction, it goes to MTO. If the offence is supposed to have demerit points, MTO will apply them to your record. The courts can give you a lower fine (even as low as $1), etc., but there is nothing they can do about demerit points, unfortunately.
By fighting it, you are given more options. For example, you would have the option of plea-bargaining to something without demerit points. or, if the officer does not show up for trial, most of the time in Toronto they simply drop the charge. (That's about a 50-50 chance here.) If nothing else, at least the conviction stays off your insurance and driving record until 8-10 months down the road (at least). The court fee is $5, already included on your ticket. And yes, I'd suggest obtaining disclosure.
As for going to court - it's not that bad. When you go to file the ticket with the trial option and Notice to Appear filled out, you can stop and observe a trial or two for free, just to get familiar with the process.
Just a heads-up... it can be up to a 2-hour wait to file the paperwork. BUT, if you show up with the ticket and your Notice to Appear already filled out (it's available on the City of Toronto website), the clerk that is handing out numbers will sometimes take your paperwork, stamp it and file it for you. (I was in and out in 10 minutes while everyone else was waiting 2+ hours.)
Keep us posted on what you decide to do.
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca
Thank you so much!!! A lot of information to process...
I will definitely be going to court, and will apply for a disclosure to get the officer's notes before a trial. If there is even the remote possibility of getting this ticket cancelled, I'm definitely up for it (50/50 odds sound pretty good to me).
I'm thinking though that I will try to speak to the Prosecutor before-hand if possible, and plea bargain it down to something without demerit points (Thanks for letting me know, I didnt know something like this was possible.) I'm still in the high-risk category so I think my insurance rates will skyrocket...
How exactly would I apply for a disclosure if you dont mind me asking? And would I need to apply to speak to a Prosecutor or just find out which one is assigned to this case? Totally clueless about how this process works but will definitely take all the help I can get...
Thanks so much!
SunshineGirl wrote:I'm thinking though that I will try to speak to the Prosecutor before-hand if possible, and plea bargain it down to something without demerit points (Thanks for letting me know, I didnt know something like this was possible.) I'm still in the high-risk category so I think my insurance rates will skyrocket...
Some courthouses in Toronto offer "walk-in" first attendance, where you can simply show up and try to resolve your case by meeting with a Prosecutor. In that case, it really is as easy as just showing up (after you have a trial scheduled) at the times when they're offering it, and asking to speak to a Prosecutor. If they don't offer it, you can schedule a meeting with a Prosecutor for a plea-bargain. If nothing else, on the day of trial, you can show up early and see if the officer is there, and if so, see what they are willing to give you.
SunshineGirl wrote:How exactly would I apply for a disclosure if you dont mind me asking?
After you get your trial date in the mail, you can fax a disclosure request, mail it via registered mail or courier, or drop it off at the courthouse yourself. Beware the on-line forms offered by the city of Toronto! They only say "I want disclosure," they don't give you options on what to ask for. Check out this webpage:
A word of caution: On there is a sample disclosure form that you can use, but it is a sample only! It talks about things like statements made by the defendant, witness contact information, etc. You have to modify the requests to your case. The rest of the form is good, but I'd suggest asking for:
- A full copy of the officer's notes, typed if not clear and legible, and
- Any photographic and/or video evidence, if it exists and the Crown intends to use it at trial
And that's it. It should be focused and to the point. Some people ask for all kinds of irrelevant and extraneous material, and that only makes it much harder to get a stay if the Crown fails to provide disclosure.
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca
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