I am a long time (anonymous) reader first time poster. Last night I was coming home and made a left turn (north) on an amber light. At the time I slowed down and did not think I could stop before the line, so I looked in the direction I was going to turn to ensure it was clear then travelled through the intersection making a left then proceeded 100ft where I saw the police lights come on. I pulled into my driveway because I routinely see police race down the street so I thought it was regarding something else. I got out to go inside and the officer pulled up and asked for license/reg. I asked what for, and he said going through an amber light. I told him I did not think I could stop safely so I proceeded with caution, he said it was clear, road conditions were fine, and that it turned red during me travelling through the intersection (I did not see it turn red). A bit annoyed, I gave the information as requested. He looked at the papers then squinted and put them back to read. I asked if everything was okay and he said its his glasses/eyes. He then told me that I lived in a community safety zone and that my fine was doubled plus 3 points (written $300, final $365).
I haven't had a ticket in 12+ years so I'm quite annoyed. He mentioned when giving me the ticket that I should consider all my options especially since I have a good record and pointed three times to Option 3 (trial). This was interesting. He left and I went inside, very upset. While I do admit I went through the light, I was concerned that I would overlap the pedestrian lines or abruptly stop causing an accident so I proceeded with caution. I walk my kids across that street almost every day so I know the dangers. With a bad nights sleep behind me I began to read about my options.
On the ticket it reads "Failure to Stop Amber Light in Community Safety Zone". Reading the municipal information about this law, it states that east of the intersection is a CSZ and shows a sign after the crossing. South of the intersection shows a sign, and north of the intersection shows a sign (about 80m in). Going east toward the intersection but not before it, there are no signs indicating entry into the CSZ. I read the by-law and the MTO rules and it appears that CSZ's are only enacted when there is both a start/stop sign facing the direction of traffic. The by-law states that the north road CSZ goes from the intersection (start) to the North sign (80m in), I am questioning whether this part of the ticket is valid (fatal error?). I have looked (briefly) at the road going north to the intersection and there is no CSZ sign either as a warning (only when you cross the intersection is there a single sign). If a person is driving in any direction then turns north at the intersection, there is only one sign (end) which makes me think this is invalid. Since the officer wrote on the ticket that I was in a CSZ when I went through the amber, I am wondering if its potential a fatal error since the offense is wrong (potentially not in CSZ), fine is wrong (should be lowered), and technically the location is questionable too (it's written location at E road at N road). I checked this morning and did not see a single sign within 1km going eastbound stating there is a CSZ leading to the intersection.
I am planning to fight this ticket as I do not have the money to pay a lawyer and it will be difficult to pay the ticket itself (ignoring insurance concerns). I feel the amber light is very subjective as well so it makes me question when he hinted at choosing option 3.
Any thoughts on what happened? This is all very new to me.
I suggest you immediately make written notes (in pen with the date you are writing them) about what happened.
Then you should also remember for future reference that you do NOT have to answer any questions the police ask you EVER (except name, address and date of birth if you are driving or being charged with a crime).
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++