I was recently pulled over by a Gatineau police constable in Ottawa. The City of Gatineau cruiser was parked on the Ontario side of the Ontario/Quebec border and was using License Plate Recognition cameras to search for older model vehicles. The placement of the cruiser and flow of traffic past the cruiser means my vehicle was several meters into Ontario when it was observed.
Morning rush hour traffic, the cruiser doesn't reach me until where near the War Museum. Actually, I pull over right in front of the Museum (2 lanes of heavy traffic) thinking they are not after me cause I haven't done anything wrong and the constable points me to pull over into the Museum parking (federal / NCC property).
The constable proceeds to do a thorough 10 minute road side vehicle inspection of my 2001 Mazda. Its lasting a very long time because he can't find anything because the vehicle is very well maintained. I can tell he's actually irritated about not finding anything so I am being uber nice and cooperative. Eventually he finds a spot on my passenger tire where I must have scrapped against a curb and there is some loose rubber - and declares my vehicle non-road worthy and it must be towed. I'm still being very nice so I offer to save us all some trouble by replacing the tire with the full size spare I have in the back. Nope, wont do . . .
The constable takes my license and registration and returns to their vehicle.
I have to mention, the constable is not wearing a police a uniform. The Quebec police unions are in a dispute about pensions and so this constable is wearing cargo pants and a baseball cap. I mention this because I remember the Ottawa Police chief making a fuss over deputizing cops from Quebec who were not wearing their uniform and making the uniform mandatory if they travelled in an official capacity to Ontario.
I'm standing next to my car getting ready to swap my tire, when the constable comes back and tries to convince me that I have to return to Quebec with him. I'm no longer cooperating. I actually don't say anything. But I my body language must have been speaking volumes because he then tells me I will be getting tickets in the mail and then hops into his car and high tails it back across the border.
Several weeks later I get it. 275$ ticket for a non-conforming passenger vehicle tire . . .
The ticket location indicates, near to 1 Eddy (Quebec) when they were actually closer to 510 Booth (Ontario).
I'm guessing the constable actually couldn't even write up the ticket while they were in Ontario and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢s part of the reason they didn't issue the ticket or try to have me towed.
I don't know if this constable was sworn in to carry out duties in Ottawa. They might be.
Can they sit on the Ontario border and patrol cars travelling just beyond the Quebec border?
Officers routinely stop and ticket drivers that have crossed provincial borders for offences that were committed while the car was in their home jurisdiction.
Think about it if you were speeding on your way into Ontario and clocked by the officer would you not think it reasonable for him to follow you and ticket you in Ontario or does everyone driving into another jurisdiction get a pass (like in Dukes of Hazzard)?
If I started driving in Quebec, was monitored driving in Quebec and caused an infraction covered by Quebec laws, then Quebec police would have a right to pursue me across the border. A non-Ottawa deputized constable would have to call on local police to execute a stop. An Ottawa deputized Quebec constable could pursue and stop me and issue a Quebec ticket - again - for an infraction commited in Quebec, covered by Quebec Traffic Laws.
If I am observed driving in Ontario, I am covered by the Ontario HTA and cannot be issued a ticket for a Quebec Traffic violation.
For example: The Quebec laws state all passenger vehicles must be equipped with winter tires past a certain date. The Quebec police could not go into Ontario and issue tickets to Ontario or Quebec drivers for not having winter tires. If you had a Quebec plated car and you never drove in Quebec, you could technically drive with whatever tires you wanted which complied to the Ontario HTA (the cool exception here is Quebec plated cars can use spiked winter tires in Ontario, but only because the Ontario HTA has made that exception specific).
So it doesn't matter, where I logically came from or where I was going. At the time I was observed, I was in Ontario and therefore fall under the Ontario HTA.
The constable couldn't ticket me in Ontario (I think their computer was preventing them from doing so) and they had to go back to Quebec to write up the ticket. The ticket location falsely indicates Quebec instead of Ontario, all of this prevents and hinders me from providing a defence. I didn't know what the actual offense was or if I was going to really get a ticket until several weeks after the incident, preventing me from taking pictures and collect proof the tire was still in good if not perfect condition.
I might get off just because its unreasonable to give me a ticket for a slightly faulty tire I might not have noticed, when I had a perfectly good spare . . .
As for the damage being minor and unnoticeable, you will certainly be asked if it was so unnoticeable why was the officer able to see it? But who knows maybe Quebec law has an exemption for that and I don't believe they use common law there.
Either way good luck on this one.
I remember hearing something in the past about representation in Traffic court in Quebec. The paralegal services like X-Cop, etc are usually not prevalent in Quebec and it might just be that they have to be a Notary in the Province of Quebec . . .
The officer will not be present. I will attempt to get the prosecutor to admit I was observed in Ontario therefore the location on the ticket is false and should be tossed. Failing that I will attempt to get the prosecutor to admit the officer did a thorough inspection of my car, going around it three times, getting on their knees 6 times until they finally noticed a problem with my tire. I know how much time it took between us pulling over and the officer saying - hey I found a problem - over 7 minutes. So, not only was this inspection unusual, it also proves my vehicle is in very good condition.
It is entirely possible if I had done the inspection myself at a different time, I would not have noticed the damaged tire if the tire was not rotated in the same orientation. I also think that offering to change my tire with a full size spare counts as reasonable grounds not to issue me a citation. I also have proof I changed all the tires on my vehicle before returning home.
I've contested a ticket before, and very few of the people who were also contesting tickets had any representation, the judges seem patient enough.
Just for anyone out there ever considering contesting a ticket in Quebec. When you submit your request, you have a choice of day or evening trial.
Typically, the prosecutor will request to speak with you before court starts and make you some kind of offer. The offer might consist of, plead guilty and we will not add 60$ for the cost of fighting the ticket, but they make you an offer.
In my opinion, not having the officer there proved to be an advantage to many of the people I observed fighting tickets. Most constables would probably be more competent in answering the judges questions or not have to remember or review all the notes the constable threw together at the time of the incident.
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