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improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Hello,

First time poster here, so I hope I'm posting in the right forum.

In Aug '11 I got a ticket for turning right without signalling. However, I believe the officer only gave me the ticket because he was hoping to get me for something else but he couldn't.

I drive my wife to the GO station for her 5:55 am bus, and while I was driving to a restaurant for breakfast, I received a text. A friend and I always listen to a radio context in the morning.

Anyway, I pullled into a parking lot of a buidling to check my text and a prostitiute approached my car. She left after I told her I wasn't interested.

However, a police cruiser was on the street and was able to see this incident. The next thing I know, the copy car pulls up behind me and the officer starts asking me questions about the prostitute and so on. To make a long story short, I think he finally believed that I wasn't trying to pick her up (if you saw her, you wouldn't either! lol). It took about 15-20 minutes of convivince though. I even showed him my phone and the text I received.

After this incidient was settled, he gave me a ticket. I asked him what it was for and he didn't respond. I looked at the ticket and it was for turning without signalling.

Now, there is NO WAY the officer saw my car turn and I have pictures of the intersection. So I think he just gave me the ticket because he wanted to get me for something. My court date is coming up because I refused to plea-bargain with the prosecutor for a reduced ticket.

I took pictures of the intersection and drove for 15 second from the light. I then got out and took some pictures of how far I was from the intersection where I supposedly turned without signalling. The officer was AT LEAST 30 seconds behind me when I was on the road at the intersection. During disclosure, I noticed that he said he was about a minute behind me.

I feel I have a really strong chance of having this thrown out.

As I'm new to this board, and have never run into any "situations" before, can anyone give me any advice on how to proceed in my court case?

Also, does an officer have to tell you why he is detaining you and why he is giving you a ticket?

Because he didn't tell me why he was detaining me (which, according to the ticket, was for improper use of a turn signal), I feel this contravenes my Constitutional rights (Sec10) that states I must be informed of why I'm being detained.

Thanks!


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Prostitute or not...

Were there other vehicles around you when you made that turn? If there are no vehicles that would've been "affected" by your turn, you don't have to signal.

The officer didn't violate your rights by not explaining why he stopped you. It's not the same ballpark as slapping cuffs on someone and tossing him in to the Crowbar Hilton. He was within his rights to start asking questions about your exchange with the prostitute as well.

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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Radar Identified wrote:
He was within his rights to start asking questions about your exchange with the prostitute as well.


I believe this is misinformation. There was no crime, and although the PO could ask whatever he wanted, he didn't have to receive an answer. When you're pulled over by the Police, your only obligation is to cooperate in providing your Driver's License, your Proof of Insurance and Ownership. Anything else, unless exclusively dealing with a specific investigation and which should be made aware, is not constitutionally correct. Not to say they can't ask of course. They can lie and ask whatever they want, but your right is to find out if you are being detained, and if so, why. If you are being detained, you clam up and call your lawyer or request to speak to one. Anything else could end in a self-incriminating situation.


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:25 pm 
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s. 10(a) of the Charter enshrines the right to be informed on arrest or detention of the reason. A traffic stop a detention. It's a justified detention under s. 1 (R v Hufsky (1988) SCC), but that doesn't relieve the officer of the obligation to inform the person of the reason for the stop.

The problem is, it's not clear what exactly the remedy is for this violation. Possibly the exclusion of any statements, but those would probably be excluded as hearsay anyway.

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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:53 pm 
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My main issue is that the officer issued me a ticket without telling me why he was issuing me a ticket.

And I think he only issued me the ticket because he couldn't get me on anything else.

BTW...I know that I signalled when I turned. I always signal, and it's a huge pet-peeve of mine when people don't signal. I even signal in empty parking lots. lol


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:24 pm 
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jeff_j1701 wrote:
My main issue is that the officer issued me a ticket without telling me why he was issuing me a ticket.


Well the reason he gave you the ticket is presumably clear - because he believed you committed the offence. But I don't think not telling you why he was giving you the ticket is not a legal problem.

I understand you feel that you got the ticket because he thought you were trying to pick up a prostitute, but the officer is not likely to admit that.

You will just have to see what his notes say.

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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:37 pm 
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mnstrcck wrote:
There was no crime, and although the PO could ask whatever he wanted, he didn't have to receive an answer. When you're pulled over by the Police, your only obligation is to cooperate in providing your Driver's License, your Proof of Insurance and Ownership. Anything else, unless exclusively dealing with a specific investigation and which should be made aware, is not constitutionally correct. Not to say they can't ask of course. They can lie and ask whatever they want, but your right is to find out if you are being detained, and if so, why. If you are being detained, you clam up and call your lawyer or request to speak to one. Anything else could end in a self-incriminating situation.


I see your point, but I disagree on one area. The actual "crime" which wasn't committed would've been solicitation. The actual act of prostitution isn't illegal, it's solicitation for the purpose of it (well, unless you are found in a bawdy house but that's a different matter). So when the prostitute approached the OP's car, the officer probably had grounds to believe that an offence had been committed. He might've assumed that the prostitute and the OP were arranging for a rendeszvous somewhere else, even though that wasn't the case. Yes, I agree that the OP didn't have to answer any of them, but the officer did have the right to ask. Now the question is, did the officer say anything about "I'm stopping you to ask you some questions about that prostitute you just talked to"? (I'm going to guess he didn't.)

As for the ticket... the interesting thing is that there have been a couple of cases I've seen where a defendant testify that the officer never said why they were being pulled over. The officer demanded their licence, registration, and insurance, stomped off, came back and then slapped them with a ticket. The JPs ruled that the officer issuing the ticket with the HTA charge was sufficient grounds for explaining the stop. It was literally a case of:

Officer: "I need your licence, registration and insurance."
Defendant: "Why am I being stopped?"
Officer: "HAND ME THE F***ING PAPERS OR I WILL ARREST YOU FOR OBSTRUCT."
Defendant: "Uh... okay... wow, someone's having a bad day..."
(I think both of them filed complaints for abusive behaviour.)
Five minutes later, ticket. BTW, it was the same officer in both cases...

Cause for appeal??

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* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Radar, you are correct, the Officer [especially given the 15-20 minute investigative questioning] was required to inform Jeff of the reason for his detention. That's a basic privilege as protected under Section 10 of the Charter. As for appeals, well, I'd have to spend some time digging through case law. Logically, it would make sense for the Officer to mention why he'd be stopping someone. It's also a good tactic when it comes to getting confessions, and I think it's a question most Officer's ask right away, ie "Do you know why I'm stopping you?". It comes down to basic courtesy, if all cops pulled people over and without saying much and angrily issued tickets, we'd have a huge backlash from communities as well as further erosion of the Police/Public relationship [which I think is falling apart these days].

In this case, it's a bit tricky because the end result is a ticket for an HTA offence. I concur with Simon that the first thing to do would be to request disclosure. I would then, if nothing about the prostitute questioning is mentioned in the notes, push for a Voire Dire on the exchange, and use that as a means of both discrediting the Officer's reliability, and at the same time building a defence based on the inherent timing required for the Officer to see the offence being committed. Jeff, how long until after you made the turn and stopped into the parking lot did it take for the PO to pull up behind you? Was he able to see you turning?

If you can get the Officer to admit that he DID in fact question you for 15-20 minutes concerning the prostitute, it will raise issues. Primarily, it will show that the alleged HTA infraction was not the Officer's priority for the detention/stop. And also, the fact that the Officer doesn't mention said investigation in his notes [if this happens] will show that he wasn't being forthcoming in his evidence/testimony. If you have proof with regards to timing, field of view, as well as other factors which would make it impossible for the officer to see your alleged infraction, it will help.


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Agreed, it would make sense for the officer to say why he stopped the OP. That goes without saying. I really haven't heard of too many cases (except the ones I mentioned and this one) where the officer didn't mention the reason for the stop... even if the delivery was poor.

mnstrcck wrote:
It comes down to basic courtesy, if all cops pulled people over and without saying much and angrily issued tickets, we'd have a huge backlash from communities...


No disagreement here. And unfortunately...

mnstrcck wrote:
... further erosion of the Police/Public relationship [which I think is falling apart these days].


I have to agree with that as well.

Jeff: I also concur with mnstrcck and Simon about disclosure. Get the officer's notes.

My other question that I'm still not clear on: Was there any other traffic, besides you and the cop car, immediately around you when you turned?

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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:50 pm 
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In searching around on CanLii I found some of the issues in this case [possibly] arising in this one: http://canlii.ca/t/flm3k

I think it'd be a good beginning, you should read through the case law from that case [especially anything relating to S. 9/10(a)] as it sounds that you were arbitrarily detained without a stated purpose and then wrongly charged with an HTA offence that wasn't the original intent of the stop. Basically, it sounds like the Police Officer who gave you a ticket, stomped over the Charter and to rub it in, gave you a ticket on top of it. It all depends on the details of the incident. For example, how much time elapsed from the time you made the turn, to the time that the officer pulled up behind you? Did the officer clearly state the reasons for why he was questioning you? Did the officer bring up the HTA offence right away, prior to questioning you?

The potential proper course of action in this case would be to ask for a Section 24(1) Charter remedy on account of S. 9 and 10(a) breaches, as continuing with such a trial would discredit the fundamental judicial process. In other words, it's more important not to proceed in the eyes of the law.


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:51 pm 
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I’d disagree with you on a few points.

You suggest the OP was arbitrarily detained which I don’t believe is the case. Arbitrary detention is in essence a fishing expedition, a random stop where there is no evidence of an offence. I think even the OP understood (if not directly told) that the officer was investigating the fact he was observed talking to a prostitute. An investigative stop such as this is quite lawful, though I agree the officer should have directly stated to the OP why he was being detained.

The particular piece of case law you linked to also doesn’t seem relevant to the OP’s situation. R v Humphrey deals with police using the pretext of an HTA stop to further a criminal investigation. The way the OP explained it, the stop was clearly for a suspected criminal matter and was charged for an HTA violation at the same time. It would have been incorrect for the officer to pretend the stop was simply for the HTA violation when in fact he wanted to speak to the OP about the prostitute.

Charter arguments are not easy, and if the OP genuinely wanted to proceed down that route I’d suggest hiring (or at least consulting) legal representation. I personally think if the OP’s recollection is accurate, it would be much easier to fight the charge outright versus by Charter argument. I think it would be very difficult for the officer to state he had a clear view of the vehicle as it turned AND (as R.I. keeps mentioning) that a signal was be required (needs to show other traffic was affected).


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Simon Borys wrote:
I understand you feel that you got the ticket because he thought you were trying to pick up a prostitute, but the officer is not likely to admit that.

You will just have to see what his notes say.


During disclosure, his notes did say that he stopped me because the prostitute was at my car. He stated that he saw her leave too.


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Re: improper use of turn signal...but not really!!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:05 pm 
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mnstrcck wrote:
I would then, if nothing about the prostitute questioning is mentioned in the notes, push for a Voire Dire on the exchange, and use that as a means of both discrediting the Officer's reliability, and at the same time building a defence based on the inherent timing required for the Officer to see the offence being committed. Jeff, how long until after you made the turn and stopped into the parking lot did it take for the PO to pull up behind you? Was he able to see you turning?

If you can get the Officer to admit that he DID in fact question you for 15-20 minutes concerning the prostitute, it will raise issues. Primarily, it will show that the alleged HTA infraction was not the Officer's priority for the detention/stop. And also, the fact that the Officer doesn't mention said investigation in his notes [if this happens] will show that he wasn't being forthcoming in his evidence/testimony. If you have proof with regards to timing, field of view, as well as other factors which would make it impossible for the officer to see your alleged infraction, it will help.


From when I turned and the officer's car approached me, it was at least 30 seconds, if not longer.

I turned and pulled into the parking lot, I read a text, the prostitute approached my car, asked me if I could "drive her home" and then she left. The officer was waiting at a red light when this happeed; he saw right into the parking lot due to it's layout. About 20-30 seconds after this was when the officer approached me.

I took pictures of the same intersection (on a different day) of where the officer was and where I was. I then drove 15 seconds in the opposite way than where we were travelling. I got out and parked the car. I then took a picture of where the intersection is. There is no way he could've possibly seen my car, let alone see if I had a right turn-signal on.


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