Following too close alternate charge?

Plenderzoosh
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Following too close alternate charge?

Unread post by Plenderzoosh »

I got a ticket the other day for following too close and have scheduled a meeting with the prosecutor and am wondering if there is a possibility of a lighter charge that they could knock it down to because I really don't feel this is worth 4 demerit points.

Here's the situation:
It was in a known speed trap area in town and I had actually consciously thought that the police might be out at this time. But, the driver in from of me was traveling 40km/h (the posted speed limit) so I figured I had nothing to worry about. Wrong.

It's an interesting road and there is a general consensus that the speed limit is far too low (probably why they're able to catch so many speeders). It's a 40 road with lanes wide enough to fit a car and a half that only has the backs of houses facing the road. Down the road from where I got pulled over there is a high school and an elementary school. The speed limit in front of the high school is 40 and in front of the elementary school is 50 (that makes sense in somebody's mind I guess). Anyways, it was around lunch time and a bus was going in the opposite direction and the car in front of me and myself were going down the hill. Once the bus had passed the guy in front of me got spooked and put on his brakes (the natural reaction to cops even if you're going the limit). No collision occurred but I was a bit closer than I usually would have been since he had just braked rather suddenly. At this point the officer working the radar gun motioned to me and told me to pull over and issued a ticket for following to closely.

In my mind I had left ample room to brake in time to avoid a collision (shown by the obvious evidence that my car doesn't have a nice dent on the front bumper now). It was a 40km/h road so the speeds obviously weren't as dangerous as on a faster road. But, nonetheless there are still 4 demerit points attached to this ticket. Essentially had I been going 89km/h on the road and been ticketed for the my fine would have been bigger but I would have only got 4 demerits. I'm wondering though what the prosecutor can really offer with my situation. From a quick look I can't really see another similar offense that it could be knocked down to so is there anyway that they can issue the fine ($110 isn't a huge hit to me) and just scrap the points involved? Or is the prosecutor able to change it to an unrelated offense of similar fine value (I'm guessing this is probably a big no no)?

Thanks for the help and I appreciate any comments.


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racer
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Unread post by racer »

One of the good things about the OHTA is that the prosecutor can charge you with an unrelated offence upon plea bargain. You might get charged with a by-law infraction instead upon plea, which would have no demerit points associated with it. However, request disclosure if you haven't done so already, see what they have.

Do not admit being too close. Say that you were doing 40 in a 40, and the guy in front braked suddenly. This way it appeared that you were following too close because it took you a split second to react to the fact that the driver in front slowed down without good reason (that reason being a cop). Also, do bring up the point that you did not rear-end into the guy in front. The guidelines suggests 2 seconds between cars, maintain that you followed that. You might even have a good chance to win this in court.
"The more laws, the less justice" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Unread post by Reflections »

racer wrote:One of the good things about the OHTA is that the prosecutor can charge you with an unrelated offence upon plea bargain. You might get charged with a by-law infraction instead upon plea, which would have no demerit points associated with it. However, request disclosure if you haven't done so already, see what they have.

Do not admit being too close. Say that you were doing 40 in a 40, and the guy in front braked suddenly. This way it appeared that you were following too close because it took you a split second to react to the fact that the driver in front slowed down without good reason (that reason being a cop). Also, do bring up the point that you did not rear-end into the guy in front. The guidelines suggests 2 seconds between cars, maintain that you followed that. You might even have a good chance to win this in court.
Yup, just like that.
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


Plenderzoosh
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Unread post by Plenderzoosh »

Thanks for the responses. Out of curiosity, since it was a speed trap and there were two officers on site at the time even though only the one issued the ticket do both have to show in court if I can't get this bargained down?


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Unread post by Reflections »

Plenderzoosh wrote:Thanks for the responses. Out of curiosity, since it was a speed trap and there were two officers on site at the time even though only the one issued the ticket do both have to show in court if I can't get this bargained down?
Disclosure will tell you. I would say that the officer that witnessed the incident was the one that ticketed you, so only one will have to be there.
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


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Unread post by dgs »

will disclosure always tell you who will appear as a witness..I requested disclosure and all I got was a photocopy of the cops notes, and the accident reports...at this point I don't really know if they have any witnesses beyond the cop that issued me the ticket?


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Plenderzoosh wrote:Out of curiosity, since it was a speed trap and there were two officers on site at the time even though only the one issued the ticket do both have to show in court if I can't get this bargained down?
If one identified you as the offending vehicle and the other one flagged you down, then yes, both have to attend. Also, "following too closely" requires that the police identify an affected driver (the person you allegedly followed too closely) in order to get a conviction. Usually the only way to do this is if a collision occurred. If they do not have an affected driver to present, the chances of a conviction are very low. The officer cannot be the "affected driver." The officer's notes in the disclosure package should tell you if they managed to identify the affected driver (which, 99.5% chance, they did not).

dgs wrote:will disclosure always tell you who will appear as a witness..
Nope. Even if someone is subpoenaed to testify as a witness, they still may not appear. I don't think the disclosure package would tell you if a subpoena was issued.


Plenderzoosh
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Unread post by Plenderzoosh »

Radar Identified wrote: Also, "following too closely" requires that the police identify an affected driver (the person you allegedly followed too closely) in order to get a conviction. Usually the only way to do this is if a collision occurred. If they do not have an affected driver to present, the chances of a conviction are very low. The officer cannot be the "affected driver." The officer's notes in the disclosure package should tell you if they managed to identify the affected driver (which, 99.5% chance, they did not).
Really...I'd be willing to put bet they definitely couldn't have identified the driver. I feel a lot better about my case now.

Thanks everyone for the help so far.


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Unread post by hwybear »

Radar Identified wrote:Also, "following too closely" requires that the police identify an affected driver (the person you allegedly followed too closely) in order to get a conviction. .
Negative, do not require the other driver for a conviction.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

My bad. :oops: I'd still be willing to bet that this charge can be beaten in court. Without a collision, where's the proof that he was following too close? Gets very subjective from there.

racer already outlined a pretty good defence. There is no specific following distance between vehicles, just "reasonable and prudent" (unless you are a commercial vehicle going over 60 km/h). Can the officer say what your following distance was? How did that following distance equate to being less than "reasonable and prudent"? One other thing to ask the officer: For a private vehicle, what is the specific following distance that is allowed in the HTA? (There is none.) The fact that you were able to react to the other vehicle's sudden braking indicates, if anything, that you were at a "reasonable and prudent" following distance.


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Unread post by tdrive2 »

Excellent point how do you exactly define following to close?

Have you driven on the 401 through Toronto during the evening rush hour or sat on stop and go traffic on the QEW?

What happens if the flow of traffic is going at 130 and some ass in a bus behind a slow truck going in the middle lane behind a truck stuck at 105 km/hr and this bus now wants to pass the truck?

So he cuts infront of the whole left lane travelling at 125-130 and then they are all riding the next guys ass and have to slam on their brakes as they wait for that big bus to pass the truck going 3 km/hr faster?

Would these people be following to close?

It seems to me the officer has alot of power and there is many ways to "define following to close."

Does it mean over a period of time?

What are you to do with left lane road blocks who do this on purpose and try to police the road themselves and always slow it down?

Following to close is a serious charge but its definition confuses me.

There is a specific distance to travel i dont know but okay, but what happens when the amount of traffic on the road is way more then the volume it was designed for and is not ideal conditions at all (GTA rush hour)


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Unread post by Plenderzoosh »

Now today I had my car brought in to have it safetied and e-tested as I'm looking to sell it and I hear back that the brake lines have a break in them. I got a new car soon after the ticket was issued and the car I was driving has rarely been driven since the issuing of the ticket. My question is, can this be used in my defense or to try and talk the prosecutor into an alternate charge (one that wouldn't have implications to my insurance)?


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Unread post by tdrive2 »

I wanna hear what others thing about what R.I said.

Alot of these charges in the OHTA are subject to alot of discression.

With Lidar and Radar you get a reading okay.

But alot of other stuff can be very hard to prove.

How do they prove for example many lange changes, unsafe lane change, and especially following to close.

So lets say your on the highway going 125 and someone butts infront of you at 105.

What are you to do????

There needs to be time to slow down and brake to get a safe distance again.

Some of this stuff i wonder how they can prove or justify it.


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Unread post by hwybear »

tdrive2 wrote: So lets say your on the highway going 125 and someone butts infront of you at 105.

What are you to do????.
You slow down and then have to drive a speed that someone else is comfortable with. However, IMHO this is now a unsafe lane change if you had to immediately hit your brakes to avoid a collision.

To my take on a unsafe lane change and/or fail to yield to traffic on a thru highway (someone on another road left/right onto a road) is when someone makes a driving action and other traffic travelling on the thru highway has to drastically change their driving to avoid a collision.

Following too close is easy to prove. One has to be able to stop without striking the vehicle in front, should the vehicle in front immediately stop.

The problem is obtaining the evidence that I like to have while driving a big billboard.

On 400 series.....I usually move up in the open lane and use the cruiser as a reference between the 2 vehicles for 1km. I know a vehicle travels 28m per second at 100km/hr and the cruiser is 6m long. If I can not fit at least 4 lengths of a cruiser (24m) in this is way too close. I believe this is more than fair, people reaction time is longer than 1 second to react, so in essesence they should be farther than 1 sec back(28m) apart.

2 lane hwy is hard unless the person is following me. If I can not see the plate or headlights they are too close, again I like a 1km distance, so that it is just not a fluke movement but a controlled action by the driver.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Plenderzoosh wrote:Now today I had my car brought in to have it safetied and e-tested as I'm looking to sell it and I hear back that the brake lines have a break in them.
That makes things a little more interesting. You were following another vehicle at the posted speed limit who suddenly braked. You then did not hit the vehicle while your car had defective brakes. Could it help? It could prove that you undoubtedly maintained a safe and proper following distance, particularly since no collision occurred. However... it could also prove that you were driving an unsafe vehicle. :shock: Might depend on how aggressive the Prosecutor is.


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