Last week while driving my daughter to school, after coming to an admittedly short stop and go at a 3-three way stop and turning at the intersection, I was waved over by an officer. I was surprised to have been pulled over as I felt that I had stopped, even if it was a quick stop. When I asked the officer if I had rolled through the stop sign, he said he was only pulling over people where it was obvious. The officer was in his patrol car and it was situated at a point where only the front bumper of my vehicle would have been visible at the line; the rest of the car would be obscured by a fence and bushes. There were no pedestrians and only one car approaching from the opposite way, about 50-100m from the stop. My exchange with the officer was polite and generally pleasant but, obviously, I disagree with his assessment of my stop. If I felt that I had gone through the stop sign, I wouldn't even contest this charge. In hindsight, even though I was rushing to get my daughter to school, making my stop more deliberate would only have added 2-3 seconds to my travel time, so that's definitely something I'll remember in the future (but at the time I certainly wasn't thinking about that! )
I've asked to see a prosecutor to discuss the charge. From what I've read here (excellent site btw), in order to avoid demerit points the charge would have to be changed to something else and this is entirely up to the prosecutor. My driving record is relatively clean, with only one ticket about 5 years ago, which was for having a somewhat noisy exhaust on my track car - I think the officer would have let me off but, annoyingly, I had forgot to put my new insurance card in the car, which is what the officer ultimately charged me with.
If I decided to take this to trial, I'm not sure I would be able to prove that I stopped, if even for a second; it would be my word against the officer's, which is why I want to see if the prosecutor will change the charge. I do have a few questions though:
1. The officer said he was only stopping people where it was obvious, suggesting that he was letting some people roll through the stop sign. Is this something that I should bring up? Therefore, why can some people roll through but my quick stop and go was considered too quick?
2. Since I do feel that I stopped, if I decide to take this to trial, is it valid for me to ask the officer if his attention was ever off the intersection, even if only for a moment? The intersection was not busy and there were no pedestrians, so it seems possible that the officer might have taken his eyes off the intersection for a brief moment and missed me actually stopping.
Is there anything I should say to the prosecutor when asking for a reduced charge?
Thanks guys, I'll see if I can get a picture of the intersection.
2. Yes this would be a helpful line of questioning during cross-examination, but by itself will probably not get you off.
Since insurance increases are an issue, even with 0 demerit point charges, you would need to specifically know what charge you can accept that will not affect your insurance. Insurance companies do not care about demerits, it is irrelevent to them. A possibility is to ask to be charged as the OWNER of the vehicle instead of the DRIVER. When you are charged as a driver, then it goes on your record and affects your insurance. When you are charged as an owner, it does NOT go on your record and does NOT affect your insurance.
How many charges did you get? What were they exactly (name and section number)?
That's helpful to know, thank you. I assumed there were only certain classes of charges that insurance companies care about, demerit points or not (e.g. speeding, stop sign violation, passing a school bus, etc) It sounds like this is not the case. This might not be a question someone here can answer, I can request what you suggested above from the prosecutor or does it have to be in front of a judge?jsherk wrote: Since insurance increases are an issue, even with 0 demerit point charges, you would need to specifically know what charge you can accept that will not affect your insurance. Insurance companies do not care about demerits, it is irrelevent to them. A possibility is to ask to be charged as the OWNER of the vehicle instead of the DRIVER. When you are charged as a driver, then it goes on your record and affects your insurance. When you are charged as an owner, it does NOT go on your record and does NOT affect your insurance.
I drive a manual AWD transmission car and letting the clutch out in 1st gear while the car is still in motion and with engine RPM at idle will cause the car to lurch, which didn't happen. Unfortunately, I'm sure none of this matters as it's my word against the officer's. I guess my 6 year old daughter can't be used as a witness, huh?
I only received the one charge:jsherk wrote: How many charges did you get? What were they exactly (name and section number)?
DISOBEY STOP SIGN - FAIL TO STOP
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT 136(1)(a)
Some people think that a stop has to be 3 seconds but there is no reference to that in the HTA. If you come to a stop then you have stopped regardless of if it's 0.5 second or 15 seconds. If you're braking then the signal is pretty much when your body moves backwards in the back of the driver's seat.
The car being manual and shifting while still being in motion does not help you, but would actually strengthen the case against you.
I am actually not sure if they would allow a 6 year old to testify or not! I suppose if they did, there would still be some question as to whether a 6 year olds testimony would be accurate or not in this scenario.
Unfortunately, if it is just your word against an officers, they will usually believe the officer. So the only way you can strengthen your case to win, is to
(1) have another witness testify/support your testimony, and/or
(2) bring reasonable doubt to the officers testimony when you cross-examine them. For example, if you asked the officer how long you are required to stop for, and the officer says "3 seconds", you would then ask the officer if you did come to a complete stop, but for less than 3 seconds and if they say "yes" you pretty much now have a slam dunk case to win. However the problem is that you have no idea what the officer will say when you ask them these questions. The officer may just say that you did not stop at all, not even for a split second, so this will not help your case.