Please help lead-foot Liquado locate leniency
November 17, 2008 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Ontario speeding ticket advice: How can I best plead my case tomorrow to the JP?

Long story short: I got a ticket for going 125km in a 90 zone (don't get me started on the situation -- asshole cop when I was a perfectly-behaved victim). Fine is $265 (ouch).

I fully acknowledge that I was travelling too fast, and should have been going slower. Travelling to a meeting four hours away, I had been stuck behind two prefab house/wide load trailers for 40 km previous, on a winding, wilderness highway, and out of frustration, put the hammer down when I finally was able to pass. Add to it that I was on a downhill when he clocked me. Bottom line? Still my fault, but it would have been nice to get a bit of leniency.

My driving record is quite clean (a 15km over ticket last summer, other than that, no accidents, etc. in the last 7 years), and I plan to plead guilty with an explanation. I've never been to court, before a judge or JP, and am looking for some advice on what they are going to listen to, or want to hear.

(The one positive going for me is that the JP on the bench could be a very good friend who I've done work for in the past, but I don't want to count on that for anything.)

YANML, but I'm grateful for any advice.
posted by liquado to Law & Government (11 answers total)
 
(Clarification: calling myself a "victim" refers to the cop's attitude during traffic stop, not the act of being pulled over.)
posted by liquado at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2008


From my experience (used to live in Barrie), the JP will automatically try to make a deal with you to a lower bracket (say a 15 over ticket instead of 35 over). Otherwise, I used the info at FYST (Fight Your Speeding Ticket), which is Ontario specific and won.
posted by batboy at 12:43 PM on November 17, 2008


The one positive going for me is that the JP on the bench could be a very good friend who I've done work for in the past, but I don't want to count on that for anything.

Your friend would have to recuse him or herself.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on November 17, 2008


Here's my advice.

Take responsibility for your actions. You sped > you got caught > pay the fine

The only mitigating cicumstances that come to mind would be a medical emergency

Sorry if that comes across as harsh
posted by MatJ at 3:17 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's my advice.

Take responsibility for your actions. You sped > you got caught > pay the fine

The only mitigating cicumstances that come to mind would be a medical emergency


Quoted for truth.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2008


I'd like to change the subject and argue whether OP deserves to pay the entire fine, but that would be off-topic. It'd be great if other folks would stick to the topic as well.
posted by yath at 6:06 PM on November 17, 2008


I've worked as an Ontario traffic court prosecutor before. I have some bad news and some good news (and IANYL):

1. If the JP knows you, s/he will not hear your case. You'll get adjourned to another date before another JP.

2. You're guilty as sin and you have no defence or reason for a reduced fine. Saying, "I was late for a meeting and going downhill," counts as having no remorse, not as a defence. This isn't a moral judgment, I'm just telling you exactly how the case is going to go.

3. The fine for speeding is set by an equation in the Highway Traffic Act. You don't get any wiggle room for having an excuse, even if you did deserve it. At 35 over, you owe $245, full stop. (See s.128(14)(c) of the Act.) Even if your JP friend was inclined to bet his/her career on helping you out, the court has no discretion to alter a fine of this nature except in cases of extreme hardship.

4. You're also going to lose 4 demerit points automatically per regulation 339/94 (check out the table at the end, item 4(b)), which will hurt a lot more than the fine because your insurance company is going to pounce on you, especially since you have a record and were way over the limit.

Here is the good news:

5. Sometimes the cop who pulled you over won't show up for court and the prosecutor will pull ("withdraw") the charge. When you're this far over the limit, this probably isn't going to happen. The Ontario government is currently in full crack-down-on-dangerous-drivers mode, and it wouldn't surprise me if the police have been instructed to take bad speeding charges seriously. For the same reason, it's also likely the prosecutors have been told to adjourn heavy speeders when the cop is AWOL to give the him or her another opportunity to show up. Even if this works in your favour, everyone on Mefi will hate you for speeding and getting away with it.

6. The best news: prosecutors will usually plead these charges down to clear the docket more quickly. It's customary for the charge to be pleaded down to one kilometre below the next lowest demerit cutoff. So in your case, you might get pleaded down from 35 over to 29 over, which gives you only three demerit points (still not great) and reduces your fine to $130.50 (because at that speed it's only $4.50/km over -- see s. 128(14)(b) HTA).

So here is my (non-legal) advice to you: You're fucked, and you're going to pay something. If you want to mitigate some of the damage, I strongly, STRONGLY suggest that you hire an agent from one of those "ex-copper" firms. They know exactly how the system works and can get a generous plea bargain for you without you even showing up. The prosecutors love them and are far more willing to work with them than with you. You will spend far less hiring one of them than you will if you try to muddle through this yourself.
posted by hayvac at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2008


Also just noticed that your case is up today. Ask for an adjournment to hire an agent. You'll almost certainly get it.
posted by hayvac at 7:21 AM on November 18, 2008


MatJ and dirtynumbangelboy: My first reaction to your posts were, "Fuck you."

My second reaction was, "Fuck, they're right." I cancelled my court date and paid the fine.

Hayvac: Thanks for the great advice. Had I pursued this, it would have been mucho helpful.
posted by liquado at 11:20 AM on November 19, 2008


Those both seem like reasonable, and honest, reactions. Kudos to you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:26 AM on November 20, 2008


Yeah, I agree with dnab. Teeing-off is an understandable reaction when you get a response like that (I wanted to re-write it a few times realising that I had fired it off without much thought).

Good on you.
posted by MatJ at 4:53 PM on November 24, 2008


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