The story is actually quite simple and straightforward. My mother (in her fifties) was stopped by a cop yesterday, in Mississauga, for failing to stop at a stop sign (a stop all-way sign). Her explanation to the cop was that she did stop, and that she might not have stopped for the three full seconds (like what her driving instructor used to tell her to do), but there was definitely a stop. The cop's reaction was that he was hidden somewhere and he saw that she didn't stop. There were no other witnesses, and this is checked so on the ticket.
Now, here's what makes it slightly more interesting. After she passed the stop sign, she did notice that there was a cop car that came out of nowhere and followed her. The flashing lights were on, but there was no sound of a siren. She had never been stopped by a police car before, and it didn't occur to her that she might've done something such that the cop would want to stop her, so she thought that this cop car only wanted to pass. It was not before a little time had passed and the cop still followed after she made another turn, when she realized that maybe he wanted her to stop.
This was not of significant matter imo, except the cop was a bit ticked off by her not stopping immediately. What matters though is that where they stopped was quite far away from the original intersection, and that when the cop said he was hidden, it didn't occur to my mom to ask him where exactly he was hidden. There are bushes around, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't able to see the stop line clearly.
Here's my action plan, together with the questions that I wanted to ask this community:
I think that in our jurisdiction, they don't REQUIRE first attendance, but recommend it. So my first question is, if I have a choice, would it be worth it to go to first attendance first before going to trial? They're not going to drop the charge just because I say "drop the charge", are they. We're not interested in working out any kind of a "deal", because I believe that my mom's truly innocent.
You might say to go to this first attendance anyway, because it would likely lengthen the amount of time it takes to get to trial, and that we may benefit from this lengthened amount of time. Which brings me to the next question - would you be able to choose your own appointment date and time for first attendance? My mom works full time and is only free Friday afternoons, how realistic is it that they'll let her have a Friday afternoon appointment? I assume that you can't choose your own trial date, so you pretty much have to take time off work for that (and lose the income for the period of time you take off). Which is why I'm wondering, if nothing gets accomplished at first attendance, if it's worth it to schedule one.
In any case, first attendance or not, we schedule a trial. My mother speaks enough English to get by daily life and at work, but in a complicated and unfamiliar court setting, should she request an interpreter? Would that further delay the trial date? haha. With an interpreter, she might be able pull this off herself; without one, I would have to go and act either as an interpreter or her agent. What do you think is the best option?
Of course, we request disclosure, and the hope is that they don't provide full disclosure, in which case we ask for dismissal. But, in the event that they do provide full disclosure, and we end up going to court, and there are no loopholes in what they do, what would be a good defense for pleading innocence?
Here's the clause she was charged with:
136. (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,
(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection
My amateur take is this:
There is no mention of how long you have to stop for, and I couldn't find a definition for "stop" in the entire HTA, so technically... even if she only stopped for half a second, which to the cop might look like no stop, it should still qualify to be a stop, right?
I would argue that as a human, the cop has limited cognitive abilities, and in a case like this, what he thinks he saw isn't necessarily what he really saw. The law states nothing about the length of time the vehicle has to be stopped for, so in the event that there are clearly no other vehicles or pedestrians to yield for at an all-way stop, would it be committing an offense if someone stopped only for a short period of time, which might look to a cop hidden in bushes like no-stop? Arguing in court is pretty much my mom's word against the cop's, but the judge should not assume that either of them is lying, and obviously the driver herself knows better whether she stopped or not than some cop hidden in some bush?
In my request for disclosure, I would also explicitly request the exact position the cop was at, and see what light this new evidence would shed.
What do you think? Would this be worth a shot? Or should we realistically settle for a deal at some point? The only thing I'm not sure of is that it's really word against word, and apparently the judge would always side with the prosecutor. Are there other ways that we could tackle this at trial?
Shoulde be fortunate another offence notice was not issued....ticketfighter wrote: Now, here's what makes it slightly more interesting. After she passed the stop sign, she did notice that there was a cop car that came out of nowhere and followed her. The flashing lights were on, but there was no sound of a siren. She had never been stopped by a police car before, and it didn't occur to her that she might've done something such that the cop would want to stop her, so she thought that this cop car only wanted to pass. It was not before a little time had passed and the cop still followed after she made another turn, when she realized that maybe he wanted her to stop.
Fail to stop on right for emergency vehicle (which has to be done immediately upon seeing flashing lights, not when the driver "thinks" they are being stopped.
Thank you for your kind comments. I really appreciate them. My site is dedicated to helping people fight their tickets and it's nice to get feedback when people find it useful.ticketfighter wrote:First of all I want to thank ticketcombat for all your extremely useful information provided on your website! It increased my ticket-fighting knowledge and confidence 100 times!
I agree with Bear that your mom was lucky not to get the second charge.
Interpreter You would have to check whether they offer translation services (905-615-4500) in your mom's native language. If they have it, why not use it?
First Attendance is about reducing the amount of charges going to court by offering a lesser charge for you to plead guilty to. Missisauga's is voluntary. To request it you have to show up at the court house so you could do it for a Friday afternoon. They say it takes about 45 minutes including an appearance before a JOP to plead guilty to something. The chances of them dropping the charge are pretty much zero.
Peel had one of the worst backlog's in Canada so it became a priority in Ontario. It worked. Now your trial is scheduled well before any 11b application can be made. First attendance won't delay anything. In fact, now there's enough time to reschedule a trial based on inadequate disclosure and still be well within a reasonable time frame. (Drat!)
Disclosure Generally I don't see any point in first attendance before requesting disclosure. You want to see the evidence against you first before pleading to anything. In your case however, the evidence will be pretty minimal, likely a note stating "victim [oops I mean vehicle] did not come to a complete stop." But, and here's the thing, stop signs are created with by-laws. The existence of the sign is not enough, there has to be a by-law (section 137 HTA) AND it must be disclosed to you in advance so you can prepare an adequate defence, not just filed in court before trial. This will likely produce your first adjournment.
No Win Situation You have an excellent handle on the issues but these cases are extremely difficult to fight. Unfortunately it will come down to your mom's word against the cop's and she will loose. So let's not play that game (at least not right away).
Strategy 1 is for you to show up in court instead of your mom. If the cop is not there, they have to drop the charge. If the cop is there, you ask for an adjournment: you need more time to prepare your defence, your mom cannot be there (it has to be a really good excuse), inadequate disclosure, etc. You keep doing this till the cop doesn't show up.
Typically you should file an application for a motion requesting an adjournment in advance of the court date but you don't have to use it, just have it in your back pocket. The justice doesn't have to grant it, so there's no guarantee.
Strategy 2 Where the cop was hiding. Disclosure should reveal his exact position. Don't stand there. Remember, he was sitting in a car so make sure you take the photos from that height and angle. Is it likely that the distance was too far that he couldn't clearly see the tires or tell if she came to a complete stop?
In R. v. Bucknell, 2006 the court concluded in a his word/her word situation the officer was specifically there to observe vehicles stop at the stop sign and therefore would/should be in a position to clearly see what was going on. They gave greater weight to the cop's testimony. But if the cop wasn't there for that purpose, then it's fair game.
Strategy 3 Next look at where the stop sign is, the white line and/or the corner of the intersection. Is there any spot along there that your mom could have stopped without the cop seeing her? In MontrÃƒÂ©al (Ville) v. Itzcovitch, 2004 the court examined where you should stop. It's a very small window but worth exploring.
Strategy 4a I did stop. In R. v. Andrews, 2005 the court overturned a ruling because the justice did not provide reasons why a witness statement (that the driver did stop) was ignored.
Strategy 4b Absolute vs. strict liability defences. In MontrÃƒÂ©al (Ville) v. Maione, 2004 the Quebec court viewed the stop sign infraction as an absolute liability offence. But in R. v. Locke, 2007, which by the way provides an excellent review of court interpretation on the matter and on standards of proof, they suggest an examination of the legislation for wording to determine the type of offence it is. In fact as recently as this year R. v. Kanda, 2008 confirmed this approach in Ontario. So the "Actus reus" of stopping in your mother's mind may be enough to exonerate her.
OK that was a little complex. One more time: you are going to argue that the offence is a strict liability offence. Your are going to note the absence of explicit wording in the Highway Traffic Act stating it is an absolute liability offence. Therefore the strict liability defences are available. Your mother then states that she believes she came to a complete stop, she always does, her lack of prior convictions attest to her good driving record and prudent nature, etc. It is therefore likely that she did come to a complete stop or believed that she did come to a complete stop. You then cite Locke (above) about witness testimony and weight given to each. And more importantly, the standard of proof required to convict which is not sufficient in this case.
Now another word of warning, the justice is not a lawyer and may not understand any of this. But you do lay a foundation for a very good appeal (see Andrews above).
Good luck and good fight!
Under s. 14 of the Charter an Interpreter must be provided to a party if requested. It's not an option.ticketcombat wrote:Interpreterticketfighter wrote:First of all I want to thank ticketcombat for all your extremely useful information provided on your website! It increased my ticket-fighting knowledge and confidence 100 times!
You would have to check whether they offer translation services (905-615-4500) in your mom's native language. If they have it, why not use it?
Disclosure Generally I don't see any point in first attendance before requesting disclosure. You want to see the evidence against you first before pleading to anything. In your case however, the evidence will be pretty minimal, likely a note stating "victim [oops I mean vehicle] did not come to a complete stop."
But, and here's the thing, stop signs are created with by-laws. The existence of the sign is not enough, there has to be a by-law (section 137 HTA) AND it must be disclosed to you in advance so you can prepare an adequate defence, not just filed in court before trial. This will likely produce your first adjournment.
14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.
Stop signs are not required to be made by by-law. The word "may"(not shall) is used in s. 137 which makes its permissive not imperative.
Stop signs, erection at intersections
137. In addition to stop signs required at intersections on through highways,
(a) the council of a municipality may by by-law provide for the erection of stop signs at intersections on highways under its jurisdiction; and
(b) the Minister may by regulation designate intersections on the KingÃ¢Â€Â™s Highway at which stop signs shall be erected,
and every sign so erected shall comply with the regulations of the Ministry. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 137; 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table
ticketfighter, the word stop is defined under s. 1(1) of the HTA. Therefore, stopping for even 1/1000th of a second is all that is required.
Ã¢Â€ÂœstopÃ¢Â€Â or Ã¢Â€ÂœstoppingÃ¢Â€Â, when prohibited, means the halting of a vehicle, even momentarily, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or of a traffic control sign or signal; (Ã¢Â€ÂœarrÃƒÂªtÃ¢Â€Â)
I see the other side by what is said, but most offences is getting way way way beyond the basic principle itself into this bureaucratic playing on words to get off an offence.
Personally my driving is different than how I enforce a stop sign. I stop a minimum of 3 seconds. That is b/c I have to bring the vehicle to the stop, I then look right and left at least twice before pulling out. Enforcement I am quite lenient.
All my years of driving and I've yet to see that sign. It could be that I was looking up that phone number while adjusting my tunes on my Ipod, checking my tomtom directions versus my map while putting my change away after stopping for a TIMS......give bear a minute...........I mean there is way more important things to do then look at the road while driving, end sarcasim. No shot at your mom intended....just my views on my drive home today. There are some basic rules of the road that I see "violated" everyday and wonder how these people got their license. which can lead me to another topic.........later.Certainly if the sign were to say FREE GAS everyone would be obeying that Laughing
Back to your mom's incident......it sounds like the officer didn't like where she stopped. Perhaps she stopped too far from the intersection???????? I remember my instructor telling me that if you come to a full stop before the sign, with a full view of the intersection, then you could proceed like a yield and all the laws are obeyed [sp]. Now if you stop 5 meters back from the "line" with say bushes etc. obstructing the view of the lanes then you'd be risking a ticket. Just my 3 cents.
A stop sign stop requires you to stop, it doesn't prohibit a stop.
However, the word Ã¢Â€ÂœstopÃ¢Â€Â is used throughout the HTA in different contexts and it requires a definition. Since this definition defines the word Ã¢Â€Âœstop,Ã¢Â€Â in my view, it applies to all stops defined under the Act because it says "except" when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or of a traffic control sign or signal.
Therefore, even if the cop blinds he would miss the 1/1000th of a second stop, which is all that is required under the Act. Like it or not.
I'm waiting for this oneReflections wrote: There are some basic rules of the road that I see "violated" everyday and wonder how these people got their license. which can lead me to another topic.........later.
It is substantially more exhaustive to get a vehicle moving from a stop than it is to move from a "rolling stop". I can just imagine the massive amount of fuel we waste making sure we come to complete stop at every stop sign we encounter.
Many intersections afford terrific views for possible cross-traffic, which would safely allow for a more expeditious commute if we could just roll on through. Of course there are many intersections that require one to come to a complete stop usually due to poor "approach viability". But just watch other drivers and it's obvious a very large percentage of them disregard the HTA requirements when it comes to stop signs. Makes for easy pickin's for a board traffic cop.
NO ONE will ever convince me it is ALWAYS safer to come to a complete stop on icy or slushy winter roads. Keeping just a small amount of forward momentum makes a massive improvement in time crossing a slippery intersection. But, according to the two tickets I received for "rolling" through two stop signs three winters ago, law enforcement (at least one OPP officer) disagrees with my argument. He actually yelled at me for having the gaul to consider basic physics in my driving style over the almighty HTA.
Shared space is a term used to describe an approach to the design, management and maintenance of public spaces which reduces the adverse effects of conventional traffic engineering.
Safety, congestion, economic vitality and community severance can be effectively tackled in streets and other public spaces if they are designed and managed to allow traffic to be fully integrated with other human activity, not separated from it.
Complete Streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities should be able to safely move along and across a complete street. A pedestrian-friendly environment is where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists.
Vehicular speed limits along the inner downtown core would be maintained and most if not all road signs and traffic lights would be completely removed to eliminate visual clutter. Both pedestrian and auto traffic would have freedom of movement and drivers and pedestrians negotiating shared space is shown to cut accidents and traffic. This traffic tamer will also overcome the problems of traffic stranger danger.
So when does a pedestrian have right of way?
This does not mean people can just walk out in front of cars dumb and happy, but instead of being a rules-obsessed city, everyone has to yield to the right, regardless of whether it's a car, a bike or a baby carriage.
Pedestrians would be encouraged to cross roads where they chose and drivers have to slow down and look at pedestrians rather than traffic lights. Eye contact and human interaction are more effective means to achieve and maintain attractive and safe areas than signs and rules. Road rules strip motorists of the ability to be considerate.
When lights are out of action, do we start crashing into each other?
Does traffic seize up?
No, we approach slowly and take it in turns. Courtesy thrives and congestion dissolves thus pedestrians are seen as fellow road-users rather than obstacles in the way of the next light.
Today, traffic light rules turn our roads into danger zones where we have to fight for gaps and green time. Over the years they have helped kill more people than died in two world wars. Traffic lights take our eyes off the road. They make us stop when it's safe to go. They increase journey times. They maximize congestion, which costs the economy. They maximize emissions and fuel use from the stop-start drive cycle. They deface streetscapes. They cost the Earth to install and run, and they destroy roads from all of the vehicle weight sitting in one spot while stopped.
Traffic lights force drivers to watch and obey robots rather than other road users. The technology has made drivers drive like zombies. As a result, road users in cars and on foot are probably having to travel twice as far as necessary to get from A to B, with controlled crossings and cars negotiating tortuous one-way systems with long waits at lights. This increases traffic volume, causes more accidents, misallocates road space, slows buses and doubles carbon emissions. It is plain dumb.
The concept of traffic-light removal is simple. It is that all users of public space adjust their behaviour to that of others, balancing a measure of danger and risk in return for convenience.
The concept has long been familiar in Italy's historic towns. It has been introduced, at the last count, in 3,500 zones in Germany and the Netherlands, 300 in Japan, 600 in Israel, and in cities as widespread as Lyon, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Melbourne and Portland, Oregon. All have experienced a drop in accidents and most a drop in journey times.
If others can do it, then why not us?
The shared space street scheme will make the streets more attractive against competition from malls; and it also saves pollution, time, money and policing costs. Therefore, it is a no-brainer. People will protect what they learn to value and putting more people outside further slows traffic and enhances neighborhood security As more people meet, make friends, and share information, neighborhood bonds are strengthened and people watch out for each other.
As for the planet, every litre of fuel burned releases 2.4kg of CO2. Multiply the minutes of enforced idling at lights by the hours in the years, by the number of vehicles, and it is clear that policymakers are responsible for environmental damage on an astronomical scale.
No drivers should be forced to wait through more than one signal cycle, and at the very least, breaking the yoke of traffic congestion can be achieved by employing flashing yellow left turn arrow lights that oppose a solid red light. Intersections that increase loss time due to longer clearance intervals need to be converted into a more ccontinuous flow intersection that allows filtering traffic on opportunity, and this lighting solution should replace mandatory red lights that forbid turning movements.
In synchronized flow, the speeds of the vehicles are low and vary quite a lot between vehicles, but the traffic flow remains close to free flow. The pedestrianization of our townscape would make urban life more pleasant and without employing successful urban planning our downtownscapes will continue to be a dysfunctional and degraded slumscape choked with traffic.
These design elements combine to create an ideal environment that encourages walking, bicycling and a sense of community.
Yup, my first new vehicle will be alawmen wrote:European countries are removing ALL traffic signs and allowing people to police themselves. It has reduced accidents because you must now be aware of what your doing instead of relying on signs to control you.
Shared space is a term used to describe an approach to the design, management and maintenance of public spaces which reduces the adverse effects of conventional traffic engineering.
lawmen wrote:European countries are removing ALL traffic signs and allowing people to police themselves. It has reduced accidents because you must now be aware of what your doing instead of relying on signs to control you.
In Crete they turn off the traffic lights on the weekends.
I mean like blackout off.
It worked great every intersection was a yield.
You, Sire, need to live in Russian Federation, where it is street legal to drive a tank as long as it has no ammunition and all weaponry is taken off.hwybear wrote:
Yup, my first new vehicle will be a
"The hardest thing to explain is the obvious"
www.OHTA.ca & www.OntarioHighwayTrafficAct.com