Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Ex1100
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Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by Ex1100 »

Several months ago, I was on my motorcycle and went to pass two vehicles at the same time. The front car was driving roughly 60kph in an 80kph zone (and had been for 5+ minutes). The car behind it (a uhaul truck) was not going to pass, so I went for it. The driver of the front vehicle, without signalling, turned left and a significant accident ensued.

I was taken to hospital and was given no ticket or anything by a police officer, but yesterday, received a summons for Oct 26th to answer for the charge of "drive a vehicle carelessly". To that end, I am confused. I understand, from conversations with friends, that passing multiple vehicles at the same time is apparently illegal (I was not aware, I figured on a straight enough, long enough, open enough road one could pass however many cars they saw fit). But I do not understand why the Crown Attorney would decide that they would press "careless driving charges". I was not careless, and was a fairly responsible motorcycle rider (not all of them are).

I guess I'm to call their office, but I guess my questions are:

1.) Why can I not, as when I received a prior ticket (for improper license plate attachment to my car), talk about a plea deal? Tickets have that box to check when you send them in, but I was never given that chance at all.

2.) Assuming at some point I am given the opportunity to plea, is the proper plea attempt to get down to "improper passing"?

3.) (Doubtful members could answer this) Why in the world would they go all the way to careless, when I was in fact within the speed limit or 10 over during the pass. The motorcycle I had was a very fast bike, and yet I was keeping to the laws of the land, why would it be such a significant charge?

Any advice, comments, etc would be welcome.


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Radar Identified
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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Ex1100 wrote: passing multiple vehicles at the same time is apparently illegal
It is not illegal.

With certain offences, you receive a summons to appear in court. You can still plea-bargain, it is just that a court appearance is mandatory. Part 1 tickets (e.g. speeding) have the option of paying out of court. The other reason a summons was issued is that they have 7 days to ticket you, but up to 6 months to issue a summons. Why it wasn't issued earlier... good question. You'll have to get disclosure of the case against you to find out.

What I would suggest is contacting a paralegal to discuss the case, as careless driving is a fairly serious charge. It is possible to plead it down, but I would still recommend you at least talk to someone. 6 demerit points, up to $2000 in fines, plus the insurance increase (this can double your premiums) are a lot to be facing alone.
* 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


viper1
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Re: Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by viper1 »

Ex1100 wrote:Several months ago, I was on my motorcycle and went to pass two vehicles at the same time. The front car was driving roughly 60kph in an 80kph zone (and had been for 5+ minutes). The car behind it (a uhaul truck) was not going to pass, so I went for it. The driver of the front vehicle, without signalling, turned left and a significant accident ensued.

I was taken to hospital and was given no ticket or anything by a police officer, but yesterday, received a summons for Oct 26th to answer for the charge of "drive a vehicle carelessly". To that end, I am confused. I understand, from conversations with friends, that passing multiple vehicles at the same time is apparently illegal (I was not aware, I figured on a straight enough, long enough, open enough road one could pass however many cars they saw fit). But I do not understand why the Crown Attorney would decide that they would press "careless driving charges". I was not careless, and was a fairly responsible motorcycle rider (not all of them are).

I guess I'm to call their office, but I guess my questions are:

1.) Why can I not, as when I received a prior ticket (for improper license plate attachment to my car), talk about a plea deal? Tickets have that box to check when you send them in, but I was never given that chance at all.

2.) Assuming at some point I am given the opportunity to plea, is the proper plea attempt to get down to "improper passing"?

3.) (Doubtful members could answer this) Why in the world would they go all the way to careless, when I was in fact within the speed limit or 10 over during the pass. The motorcycle I had was a very fast bike, and yet I was keeping to the laws of the land, why would it be such a significant charge?

Any advice, comments, etc would be welcome.
Just because your bike is a lot faster then the other cars you still have to be aware of the road.

The trailer hauler was looking for his exit..

You pulled out and you didn't even guess what was going on.
(you have to take in the big picture as if you were above watching it from above)

You were careless.

Did you cross a solid line?
If so improper lane change ticket would cover it.

In the 30+ years I have been riding I only fell off two times (on dirt bikes)

Cheers
Viper1
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use at your own risk"


Ex1100
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Unread post by Ex1100 »

Radar Identified wrote:
Ex1100 wrote: passing multiple vehicles at the same time is apparently illegal
It is not illegal.

What I would suggest is contacting a paralegal to discuss the case, as careless driving is a fairly serious charge. It is possible to plead it down, but I would still recommend you at least talk to someone. 6 demerit points, up to $2000 in fines, plus the insurance increase (this can double your premiums) are a lot to be facing alone.
The police officer who delivered the summons was very nice in explaining the situation to some degree. She said that I should request disclosure (either now, or at this first court date) and seek legal advice (30 minutes free?). She wasn't clear as to whether I was seeking one of those places which says "We'll get your ticket lowered for $300!!" or whether I should seek a serious lawyer (albeit, I'm a little disappointed I should have to). Are there paralegals working specifically on the HTA?


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Unread post by Reflections »

You pulled out and you didn't even guess what was going on.
(you have to take in the big picture as if you were above watching it from above)
If someone in front of me slams the brakes and turns I might be a wee bit pissed, especially if there was no signal. 20 under for 5 minutes is:
A. Far too slow
B. Inconsiderate
C. Dangerous to those lined up behind you

The fact that it was 5 minutes does not suggest to me that the driver was looking for a road or house, just a slow a$$ old guy(was the driver old/young?). I think you can beat this but I would suggest legal help as well.
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


Ex1100
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Re: Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by Ex1100 »

viper1 wrote:
Just because your bike is a lot faster then the other cars you still have to be aware of the road.

The trailer hauler was looking for his exit..

You pulled out and you didn't even guess what was going on.
(you have to take in the big picture as if you were above watching it from above)

You were careless.

Did you cross a solid line?
If so improper lane change ticket would cover it.

In the 30+ years I have been riding I only fell off two times (on dirt bikes)

Cheers
Viper1
1. I only mentioned the speed of the bike to attempt to discern what the Crown Attorney may think ("A motorcyclist, they drive fast"), but then presented the counter argument ("I didn't, I drove safely, at speed limits"). Most motorcyclists realize you have to be 100x more aware on one than in a car.

2. Within the limited scope of a.) what police enforce, and b.) the fact that on a country-ish road there's a lack of enforcement, the fact is that it is a regular occurence for drivers to maintain speeds significantly slower than the limit. At some point, one must assume that they are doing so (whether you decide in 5km, or 50km, or 500km, that's personal choice). I stated 5+ mins at 60kph, so after more than 5km, I assumed they were simply driving slow. The trailer driver (the uhaul) was headed to Niagara Falls (another 40-50k), they were not looking for their exit at all.

3. I did make an incorrect assumption, I don't suspect doing so makes me a careless driver so much as a wrong one. I accept my contribution to the accident. Similarly, one could argue they attempted to turn left without checking their left side and also contributed through an assumption. Not all assumptions lead to accidents, not all accidents are careless.

4. I crossed a dotted + yellow line, my side had the dotted.

5. I've only fallen off my bike once, so technically I'm a 50% better driver than you. ;) (I kid, of course, you're actually 100% worse than me ;).


Keep the shiny up, Viper.

Ex.


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Reflections wrote:If someone in front of me slams the brakes and turns I might be a wee bit pissed, especially if there was no signal. 20 under for 5 minutes is:
A. Far too slow
B. Inconsiderate
C. Dangerous to those lined up behind you
100% agree. It seems like the driver who turned was being inattentive and careless. I'm also surprised that the driver who turned was not charged. Another question is, why is the charge being laid several months after the fact?

And Ex1100 - yes, there are paralegals who handle HTA cases. Plenty of them. Some of them post on this forum, and you can also fill out a form at the bottom of this page to get a free no-obligation quote. Talk to each possible representative and see what they have to say, how much they're willing to do, etc.
* 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


viper1
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Re: Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by viper1 »

Ex1100 wrote:
viper1 wrote:
Just because your bike is a lot faster then the other cars you still have to be aware of the road.

The trailer hauler was looking for his exit..

You pulled out and you didn't even guess what was going on.
(you have to take in the big picture as if you were above watching it from above)

You were careless.

Did you cross a solid line?
If so improper lane change ticket would cover it.

In the 30+ years I have been riding I only fell off two times (on dirt bikes)

Cheers
Viper1
1. I only mentioned the speed of the bike to attempt to discern what the Crown Attorney may think ("A motorcyclist, they drive fast"), but then presented the counter argument ("I didn't, I drove safely, at speed limits"). Most motorcyclists realize you have to be 100x more aware on one than in a car.

2. Within the limited scope of a.) what police enforce, and b.) the fact that on a country-ish road there's a lack of enforcement, the fact is that it is a regular occurence for drivers to maintain speeds significantly slower than the limit. At some point, one must assume that they are doing so (whether you decide in 5km, or 50km, or 500km, that's personal choice). I stated 5+ mins at 60kph, so after more than 5km, I assumed they were simply driving slow. The trailer driver (the uhaul) was headed to Niagara Falls (another 40-50k), they were not looking for their exit at all.

3. I did make an incorrect assumption, I don't suspect doing so makes me a careless driver so much as a wrong one. I accept my contribution to the accident. Similarly, one could argue they attempted to turn left without checking their left side and also contributed through an assumption. Not all assumptions lead to accidents, not all accidents are careless.

4. I crossed a dotted + yellow line, my side had the dotted.

5. I've only fallen off my bike once, so technically I'm a 50% better driver than you. ;) (I kid, of course, you're actually 100% worse than me ;).


Keep the shiny up, Viper.

Ex.
You never said what the accident was about.

I had to guess that you ran into a left turning vehicle.(am I right?)

Cheers
Viper1
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use at your own risk"


Ex1100
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Re: Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by Ex1100 »

viper1 wrote: You never said what the accident was about.

I had to guess that you ran into a left turning vehicle.(am I right?)

Cheers
Viper1
Yes. My bike hit a vehicle as they turned left (without signal) while I was passing them. My friend actually pulled out into the oncoming traffic lane, having checked for oncoming traffic and signal lights, then proceeded to pass the 2 vehicles. I followed suit as sweep (in a 2 person group). The van missed him by near inches (he thought he was gone), but unfortunately, then was perfectly lined up to take out me.

I'm not sure if the technicality of who ran into who contributes to liability, I'm curious to find out.


Ex1100
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Unread post by Ex1100 »

Radar Identified wrote: And Ex1100 - yes, there are paralegals who handle HTA cases. Plenty of them. Some of them post on this forum, and you can also fill out a form at the bottom of this page to get a free no-obligation quote. Talk to each possible representative and see what they have to say, how much they're willing to do, etc.
Thank you, the form had gone un-noticed. (Let's hope that my tunnel vision is post crash, or at least only linked to the internet? ;)). I filled it out, though a friend warned me to ensure that they will attempt to quash it or lower it significantly. Apparently there are some paralegals who will get it dropped by 1 point and then claim their fee, despite possible better standings being available with more work (ie, min work for max pay, which we all do, but not what you wish to hire).

Regardless, thank you, I needed to start somewhere, and the advice here has been very helpful.


Ex1100
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Unread post by Ex1100 »

Tomorrow is the date, to set a date. I'm sitting in front of the forms for XCopper, who promise me for $678 to get it reduced to 3 Demerits, though I think I can talk to the Crown Attorney and probably get that done on my own. XCopper does what many places do, they say that they prioritize: Waived/0 Demerits/2 Demerits/3 Demerits/Trial, which doesn't really prioritize Waived to them, as long as they get a 3 Demerits quickly, they will have earned their paycheque (5 minutes work is better than 6 hrs). I'm not sure under that condition that I'll choose them until after it comes to the idea that I need to go to court.

After examining statements from the other rider, and after going to the place of accident and getting pictures of the 1 km of dashed road, I believe the other driver should have been charged with (just asked a Cop, who said it was) "Left Hand Turn Not In Safety", though I couldn't find that in the HTA itself.

Any advice? It seems to me, to pay XC $700, where they have no guarantee or reasoning to reduce the fee below 3 demerits, is as good as just going down there and talking to the Crown Attorney myself. If at that point she doesn't want to deal, then would be the time to seek counsel. I attempted to have XC change their prioritization to Waived/0/Trial, but the paralegal said not to change the form.


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Unread post by beleafer81 »

$675 Seems quite high IMO. I still dont seem to understand at what point you were being careless.
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove - Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) in Training Day


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Unread post by viper1 »

Ex1100 wrote:Tomorrow is the date, to set a date. I'm sitting in front of the forms for XCopper, who promise me for $678 to get it reduced to 3 Demerits, though I think I can talk to the Crown Attorney and probably get that done on my own. XCopper does what many places do, they say that they prioritize: Waived/0 Demerits/2 Demerits/3 Demerits/Trial, which doesn't really prioritize Waived to them, as long as they get a 3 Demerits quickly, they will have earned their paycheque (5 minutes work is better than 6 hrs). I'm not sure under that condition that I'll choose them until after it comes to the idea that I need to go to court.

After examining statements from the other rider, and after going to the place of accident and getting pictures of the 1 km of dashed road, I believe the other driver should have been charged with (just asked a Cop, who said it was) "Left Hand Turn Not In Safety", though I couldn't find that in the HTA itself.

Any advice? It seems to me, to pay XC $700, where they have no guarantee or reasoning to reduce the fee below 3 demerits, is as good as just going down there and talking to the Crown Attorney myself. If at that point she doesn't want to deal, then would be the time to seek counsel. I attempted to have XC change their prioritization to Waived/0/Trial, but the paralegal said not to change the form.
I have to say sorry.(for my error)
You are in the right.
The person turning left needs to make sure it is clear to do it.

I hope I am not too late to help.

Cheers
Viper1
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use at your own risk"


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Unread post by pvotrainer »

Based on what you have said, you both could have been charged. You for pass unsafe, and the other driver for unsafe turn. Careless driving is often laid by the police as almost all plea to something lessor.

To further demoralize you, The fault Determination Rules, found under the Insurance Act specifies who is at fault in specific collisions. In your case, you passing multiple vehicles, the Rules state you are 100% at fault. Police do not find fault or declare who is at fault. The Rules do that. The police issue tickets for things done wrong. The Provincial Offences Act permits you (any person) to lay an information. You could go before a JP and tell him/her what happened and the other driver could be charged for unsafe turn.

Do not plea to anything unless all witness for the prosecution are there. Bring your friend to say that he passed right before you, so the driver should have noticed him and looked for you


Ex1100
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Re: Improper Passing or Careless Driving?

Unread post by Ex1100 »

The Fight Continues....

My court date is August 3, 2011, just under a month away. I had been given the court date since February, and have largely been doing other things in life. My paralegal had, for all intents and purposes, not contacted me about this until about 2 weeks ago (I am slightly displeased, but herein will lie the question). It was suggested by numerous websites that I apply for an 11b Constitutional Challenge, since the accident date is May 21, 2010, the first court date Oct 2010, and the actual trial date is Aug 2011. That leaves it 14-15 months since the accident date. All the delays were to have the appropriate disclosure (which wasn't provided until January).

However, my paralegal has suggested that it is a waste of time, that it will take him a day to prepare such a briefing. It appears a simple form, and I am only arguing that it has been 14 months since the accident, that I appeared in court on October, November, December, January (got disclosure) and February (to set trial date and say we had disclosure), and that I have made no motions to slow down the court date. So 10 months since the first court date, and 14 months since the accident is too long. (It is possible the JP will say no, and just move on with the case, I accept that). But I am surprised that while several prominent websites have listed this as a fairly good tactic, and the St Catharines Provincial Court phone-answerer (I know, take her for what's she's worth) was reading me back the dates I had attended court, the accident date, and said it was actually a fairly likely thing to win.

So really, my question is: Is my paralegal incorrect? Has anyone filed one of these and knows what happens when the court session begins, and I have asked for this? Is it really the "days work" for the paralegal, or is it a simple up/down type vote on whether they feel it took too long?






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