I got a Disobey Sign ticket under 182 (2) of the HTA for an illegal right turn from a Beer Store parking lot onto a side street (ironically, the Officer was improperly parked 1 metre from the next intersection / curb at the end of the street where he stopped me).
The parking lot is on the SE corner of Oakwood Ave. and Bude St., Toronto. Its entrance is from Oakwood but its exit is onto Bude. Oddly enough, if you’re heading northbound on Oakwood, you can make a right turn onto Bude except 7am – 7pm Monday – Saturday, but when exiting from the parking lot onto Bude, no right turn is permitted at any time, even though the exit is around 10 metres from Oakwood where the right turn is conditionally permitted. You can make a left turn from the lot exit any time which to me makes even less sense.
Considering the above, I stopped, looked both ways and exited the lot making a right turn (thus disobeying the sign), thinking the only logical reason for a left turn to be permitted but not a right is to dissuade northbound drivers on Oakwood from cutting through the parking lot during the restricted hours (as per the conditional no right turn sign at Oakwood and Bude), just like some drivers cut through gas stations. I had, though, entered that lot to make a purchase from the Beer Store, and not to cut through it.
Although I explained my reasoning to the Officer, he said nothing beyond asking for my licence and give me the ticket, even though the last time I got a ticket was 25 years ago.
Should I opt for early resolution, hoping the $110 fine is reduced and the charge can be under a City bylaw instead of the HTA? Is there any point pleading not guilty and then explaining the above in court? I’m concerned about my insurance getting increased.
Thanks for your time.
Would you be happy getting a $25 discount for all your effort? If so, then it may be worth going to an Early Resolution meeting. The set fine on your charge is $85 (plus court costs). If you only have a ticket from 25 years ago, then they may drop it down to the minimum $60 (plus court costs). That's all they can do. There's no other charge lower than a disobey sign that would apply to the same fact scenario.
They won't reduce it to a by-law offence. That's a myth that keeps misleading people. It will be a HTA offence. Neither the court nor the prosecutor can also reduce points. Points are based on the HTA charge you are convicted with. So, the best you can do is perhaps get a $25 discount if you attend a meeting.
Is it worth you driving to the courthouse, paying for parking and perhaps taking 1 hour of your time for $25? If so, then go for it. Otherwise, you may wish to set it down for trial and just hope the officer doesn't show up (which is extremely rare). If they do show up, then you might just wish to run the trial (you really have nothing to lose) if you want to learn how the courts work and have extra time on your hands. Otherwise, you may just wish to plead guilty at your trial date.
Just know that you have no defense on the charge. Whether you agree with the sign or not is irrelevant; what matters is whether the sign was visible (not whether YOU saw it!), it was legally valid (i.e. proper size, authorized at law,etc.), and you disobeyed it. That's all they need to prove in the case.
Thank you, that's very helpful.
I'll follow up here to share which option I took and its outcome.
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