So here's the story:
I was driving home from Markham to St. Catharines. I took the 404 to the 401. I had done this trip a few other times, so I knew that there was two ways to get onto the 401 West. I couldn't remember whether or not the 2nd entrance (that little tunnel) was HOV only or HOV and normal lanes. When I realized I couldn't make it over in time for the first entrance, I said screw it, I'll just wait for the 2nd entrance and get on that way. Sure enough it turned out to be HOV only and sure enough there was a cop there. He pulled me over, I told him I wasn't from the area and that didn't wanna keep going on the 404 in case I got lost and that I was going to be late for work if I had to backtrack (funny thing was that with how backed up the QEW was today I actually was about 5 minutes late). Didn't matter, he ticketed me anyways as I figured he would.
However, he also asked me for proof of insurance which I couldn't find (normally I have it between the center console and the passenger seat, but it wasn't there). Told him that I had it somewhere in the car (which was true, turns out it was in the trunk but found it when I got home) but he told me not to worry about it then and to stop looking. To add insult to injury, he then tickets me for failure to provide proof of insurance (I would have certainly ripped that car apart to find it had he not told me to stop).
As he hands me the ticket, he tells me that I should fight it in the chance that he doesn't show up.
Originally, I was just gonna pay the fines and cut my losses. However, once I found out that there were points attached to the one (not too sure how improper use of HOV lanes warrants points) I figured I'd take a try at option 2 or 3. Since I'm from out of town, more than 75km away, I was hoping to begin with option 2 over the phone. So from what I've read, if I take this option I can try to bargain with the prosecutor and if we can't reach a deal I still have the option to go to court?
My goal here is to try and save myself from booking the time off of work and the gas/time/hassle associated with appearing at the building itself. If I am to lose as well, the other offense I have (a speeding ticket for 10 over from May 2010) should be off my record by that time.
So, in short, here's my questions:
1) Is option 2 the route to go? (ie. - if i plead guilty to the failure to provide proof of insurance, is there a chance they may drop the other?) I can still go to court if we can't reach a deal, right?
2) Is there a lesser charge I could plea guilty to?
3) Do I have a case for the proof of insurance as it was in the car, cop just told me to stop looking for it?
4) Anyone had any luck defending this charge in the past?
Any input is appreciated!
1) If option 2 on your ticket is for an early resolution meeting, there's nothing wrong with starting there.
2) Most likely they'll offer you a reduced fine or drop one charge in exchange for pleading guilty on the other (probably drop insurance ticket for plea on HOV). Remember, any conviction can impact your insurance rates, not just those with points.
3) The law requires you surrender proof of insurance upon demand. While this doesn't mean the document has to be in your hand the moment you're stopped, the officer doesn't have to wait for you to search your vehicle either. The Courts would probably focus on whether you were given a reasonable opportunity to provide the document or not.
4) No experience with HOV charges myself.
So update on this:
I decided to go the route of meeting with the prosecutor. My original appointment was scheduled for when I had an exam so I had to reschedule it. So I finally got to talk to someone right at the end of July. When I talked to a lady over the phone, we had come to the agreement that I was willing to plea to the hov charge if they dropped the insurance one. She told to me to wait by the phone because someone would call me back to get my plea and finalize everything.
No one ever called me back - didnt think twice about it until today when i received a notice to appear in court in January.
So I don't want to go to court, its not worth my time or gas for me to drive to Toronto especially when it's gonna be tough for me to get time off of work in January (accountant - not allowed any time off between Jan and Apr).
What can I do? Like I don't have a case in court... its pretty cut and dry. I also feel that the cop would show but I oguess that's my only out if i go. What will the prosecutor say if I call them and tell them they screwed up?
I would call the prosecutor's office ASAP and see if this can't sorted out. Let them know that you had a deal worked out but that for some reason you still got a notice of trial, I would think that they would be happy to help you as that would mean one less case they have to deal with on that court date.
If you can't take a day off you can hire someone to go in for you. You will still earn money at work, your boss won't get mad at you for not being able to come in and you may get off on the tickets.
This is turning into a joke:
It took me 3 attempts to finally get a hold of someone to talk to. The first attempt I waited on hold for about 20 minutes and gave up. The second attempt I got hung up on by the automated system after about 10 minutes. The third time, I finally spoke to a women after about 20 minutes of waiting again. (all of this long distance as well)
So I explained to the girl my situation on how we had reached a deal but I was never called back. She told me she would investigate it and give me a call back by the 18th (I called her on the 13th). So as expected, I still haven't received a call back. I have just sent an email to the address they give on the site, hoping I get better luck.
Two more questions:
- Is there anything I can do about this? Like how I keep calling and no one bothers to return my calls? (There seems to be no accountability - like if I did this at my job, I'd be in trouble easily) I'm actively trying to get this resolved.
- I also can't make my court date on the 22nd of January due to work reasons now - how do I go about getting the court date changed?
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