Monday, September 28, 2009

Did You Know...?


I thought it would be fun to start a section in the Traffic Ticket Solutions Blog called "Did you know...?" This is where we will post random facts and traffic ticket laws that are funny, obsured or downright weird!

Today I was researching some information in the Highway Traffic Act and came across section 173 and it gave me a little giggle:
Horse racing on highway
173. No person shall race or drive furiously any horse or other animal on a highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 173.
"or any other animal"? The first picture that came to mind was man "furiously" driving an ostrich down the road!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To flash or not to flash?


Most of us have witnessed, participated or are at least familiar with the concept of flashing the headlights to warn others of upcoming radar traps. Drivers will then slow down and avoid being caught speeding. Some drivers may be a little apprehensive to do this because they believe it is against the law by obstructing a police officer on duty. It is not illegal.

According to police and other officials, there is nothing in the provincial legislation to prevent drivers from flashing their headlights to warn oncoming traffic. There are cases where drivers have been charged under the Highway Traffic Act for alternating flashing headlights typically used by emergency vehicles. These charges are often dismissed in court.

Sgt Cam Wooley of the OPP says, “It’s not an offence under the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario… drivers are free to communicate with each other.” That does not mean that you cannot be pulled over. An officer may believe that the driver is in distress, may require medical attention, may be warning about a situation ahead such as an accident, or they may be something wrong with the vehicle. The officer may pull you over and question your intentions; they may even ask to perform a full inspection of your vehicle.

The most common charge is improper use of high beams at night. With this charge only valid at night, the officer would not be able to use it at all during any day-time hours. If you are one of those drivers who feels obligated or compelled to warn your fellow motorists of a radar trap, you may actually be free and clear to do so. Like with many other situations, it can depend on the specific officer who pulled you over. According to their discretion, they may try to find a way to write you a traffic ticket. If you happen to be one of those unlikely drivers, contact Traffic Ticket Solutions and we can help you build a strong and solid defence and work on getting your traffic ticket eliminated.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Early traffic Ticket History

Just came across some fun traffic ticket history that I thought I would pass along! One of the earliest recorded speeding tickets ever issued was in 1910 in Ottawa to Lady Laurier (wife of Sir Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada) for driving her vehicle at the speed of just over 10 miles an hour. That is the equivalent to a mere 16 km/hr!


This is a picture of the actual traffic ticket, but I haven’t been able to find any information stating what happened on her court date, or if she decided to pay the fine. Either way, I would love to know what the fine amount would have been for driving 16km/hr in 1910!

Labels: , , , ,

Celebrities Get Traffic Tickets Too!



With the T.I.F.F happening in Toronto, the city is abuzz with celebrity fever. In our societies search to humanize celebrities, we, as a society, are always looking for anything that we can find to let us know that these stars are not much different from ourselves. Fame and fortune doesn’t always help to get what you want and there are many stories and even videos of celebrities receiving traffic tickets! From simple parking tickets and speeding tickets to Racing and DUI offences, celebrities have seen it all…and the paparazzi is always willing to share it with the public!

Video of Jessica Alba being pulled over by a cop

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh gets traffic ticket

True TV: 15 Celebrities that got tickets

David Beckham receives traffic ticket

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL gets traffic ticket



Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stunt Driving Ruled Unconstitutional in Ontario?



On September 4th 2009, Justice G.J. Griffin overturned a conviction of Stunt Driving that Jane Raham, a grandmother from Oakville, received from an earlier court date. During this appeal decision, Justice Griffin ruled that a section of the controversial stunt driving law in Ontario is, “unconstitutional as it creates an absolute liability offence for which one can be imprisoned for six months, contrary to Section 7 of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” This decision has been a long awaited one, especially by people facing a stunt driving conviction that feel it is an unjust charge against them.

Now, before you go rip up that stunt driving ticket you received last week and excessively speed down the highway in celebration, you should first realize that this in no way will make your ticket automatically void, nor will it stop police officers from issuing stunt driving tickets. It is also still legal for an officer to impound your car and suspend your licence on the spot if you are charged with stunt driving or speed racing.

Only a section of the law has been deemed unconstitutional and that is to do with a speeding offence (which is considered an absolute liability offence) being charged under the “name” of Stunt Driving (which is a strict liability offence) which potentially has a jail sentence associated with it.

An Absolute Liability Offence is an offence that does not allow for a defence of due diligence. This means that the prosecution is only required to prove that the accused performed the prohibited act. Speeding under section 128 of the Highway traffic Act is an absolute liability offence because the officer only has to prove that you were speeding and there is no defence that you can rebut with. Not knowing that the speed limit dropped or, as in the Raham case, passing a truck out of fear are explanations and cannot be a defence for the act of speeding. If the officer has proper evidence against you in court, you WILL be found guilty of the ticket no matter what the excuse. (Life or death emergencies are the exception)

A Strict Liability Offence is an offence where, once the accused has been proven to have committed the offence, the accused is able to put forth a defence of due diligence. This means that even if they did clearly commit the prohibited act, they are given the opportunity to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that they did everything possible to prevent the act from happening or that there were extenuating circumstances that created the prohibited act.

In the original trial for Raham, the Justice of Peace, J. Chiang, convicted Raham of stunt driving because the officer had ample proof that she did indeed speed. He did not, however, take into account Raham’s testimony with reasoning of why she was speeding and whether her testimony gave rise to a due diligence defence. By disregarding any due diligence, Justice of the Peace Chiang proceeded as if the matter was an absolute liability offence where Raham was actually charged with stunt driving which is a strict liability offence. In the appeal, Judge Griffin noted, “He did this in my view because the reality of the situation is that section 3(7) of Regulation 455/07 is a speeding offence, albeit a speeding offence by another name namely, stunt driving. One is reminded of the words of William Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet, ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’"


This stunt driving law created uproar from the start with the general public and law professionals alike, that could clearly see the flaws in the law. As we have stated in a previous blog, there are many reasons we at Traffic Ticket Solutions feel that this law is unconstitutional, but this ruling was strictly about the simple fact that an accused could receive jail time for a stunt driving offence even if the only reason they received this offence was because they were speeding.

So what exactly has this ruling changed??

If you are an excessive speeder that drives in a manner that is outlined as the definition of a “stunt” or “race” as outlined in the HTA… nothing! There are rumours and speculations on the internet asking if this means that you cannot be pulled over for speeding or charged with a stunt driving ticket because of this ruling and that is absolutely not true. Officers issued many stunt driving tickets over the long weekend as speed racers and stunt drivers are still able to be charged with the section 172.1 stunt driving. “We’re continuing to do business as normal,” Sgt. Dave Woodford of the OPP stated. The only difference is that it is now unconstitutional to convict an accused that received a stunt driving charge solely on the fact that they were speeding. However, Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the attorney general’s department had stated that, “We will be seeking leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Justice. In interim, people should understand that the street racing provisions are still in effect and police can still lay charges.”

If you have a stunt driving ticket that you would like advice on, call a professional to help you determine which course of action you should take with your specific case. Traffic Ticket Solutions always offers free, friendly and informative legal advice and can answer any questions that you may have in regards to your situation.

We will regularly be updating the status of the appeal of this decision and what it means to stunt driving charges in the future.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DO OFFICERS HAVE A QUOTA TO MEET?


There are always rumours circulating that police officers have to meet quotas for handing out a certain amount of traffic tickets in a specific time period. There are those who believe that you may be more likely to receive a traffic ticket closer to the end of the month, as officers have to fulfill their monthly quota.


EVIDENCE FOR THE THEORY

Now we have evidence that even though the Police Departments will deny any kind of quota system, a department in Winnipeg has issued memos to its officers to meet specific quotas. So there might actually be some merit to these accusations.

CTV news reported that they have obtained internal police memos that Police Chief Keith McCaskill has sent to his officers. In the memos, it states that officers are expected to hand out a minimum of one traffic offence notice per cruiser per shift. Police Chief McCaskill is not calling this a traffic ticket quota however. He calls this a way of measuring an officer’s performance and a reminder.

WHEN IT SOUNDS LIKE A QUOTA AND WALKS LIKE A QUOTA…..

Had this been a memo stating or reminding the officers to look out for the safety of the public and to write out traffic tickets or even asking them to pay greater attention to speeders or careless drivers, then it would seem that the Chief is genuinely concerned and would like the officers to be “cracking down” on these violators. BUT in this case (and possibly in other cities) the memo clearly asked for a certain number of tickets in a certain time period. This can be easily interpreted as a classic Quota System. It actually seems that the Police Chief is completely denying this and would like to have the public believe that such quotas do not exist. Some people feel that he may be trying to cover up for the fact that this is actually a budget shortfall issue and doesn’t have anything to do with public safety at all.

The next time you hear the conspiracy theorists complaining about traffic ticket quotas in your local Police Department, don’t be so quick to ignore them and you may want to ease up on the accelerator near the end of the month, just in case! Just remember that Traffic Ticket Solutions is there in case you become a part of the quota statistics.

Articles:

CTV: Winnipeg Police Defend Traffic Ticket Boost Sat August 8th 2009

Gordon St.Clair Jr : Police Memo Clears Up Doubt on Traffic Ticket Quotas Sat August 8th 2009


By: Sukh Nagra for Traffic Ticket Solutions

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reminder to Drive Safely Over the Long Weekend!


With the Labour Day long weekend a few days away, we at Traffic Ticket Solutions wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to drive with extra caution and to remember to drink responsibly.


With more cars on the road from people getting out enjoying their time off, the more chances there are that an accident can happen. Busier roads can equal more frustration which can easily trigger road rage and aggressive driving which in turn can cause unnecessary accidents. Ontario Provincial Police Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski has said in the past that most “crashes are predictable and preventable and involve tragedy that did not have to be…the one common theme amongst all the fatal crashes are the Big Three, as we call them; The aggressive driving, failure to wear seatbelt and impaired driving.

It is sad to think that impaired driving is one of the largest causes of fatalities in Canada, especially due to the fact that it is entirely preventable. MADD Canada has reported that “Impaired Driving causes, on average, four deaths and 207 injuries every day in Canada. Those losses are all the more tragic when one considers that they are completely, 100% preventable. If people plan ahead and make the responsible decision to not drive if they are impaired, we could prevent these deaths and injuries.”

If you are planning on enjoying the long weekend with drinks, Traffic Ticket Solutions encourages you to plan ahead and drink responsibly. Arrange alternate driving plans such as a designated driver, arranging a taxi or to stay over at your destination. For everyone heading to the cottage, remember that operating a boat or ATV while impaired is illegal and dangerous and is responsible for approximately an additional 150+ unnecessary deaths per year in Canada. If you are hosting a party, encourage your guests to take taxis if they must leave and always ensure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic options for those that are choosing to stay sober.
We would also like to remind people that even the smallest amounts of alcohol in your system could be dangerous and the new
Warning Range Law that came into effect in May 2009 in Ontario has been put into place as an attempt to reduce all drinking and driving related offences. If you take a roadside breath sample and your blood alcohol registers between 0.05 and 0.08 you will immediately lose your license for between 3 to 30 days. While this is not a criminal offence, the consequences are still serious. If you get caught within these ranges, you could be facing:

For a first offence:

mandatory three day driving prohibition;
An administrative monetary penalty of $150.00


For a second offence (within 5 years):

mandatory seven day driving prohibition;
mandatory attendance at a remedial measures program known as “Back on Track”, at a cost;
An administrative monetary penalty of $150.00


For a third offence (within 5 years):

mandatory thirty day driving prohibition;
installation of an ignition interlock device for 6 months at your cost of approximately $1500.00;
attending a remedial measure program known as “Back on Track” at a cost;
An administrative monetary penalty of $150.00


For subsequent offences (within 5 years):

mandatory thirty day driving prohibition;
installation of an ignition interlock device for 6 months at your cost of approximately $1500.00;
attending a remedial measure program known as “Back on Track” at a cost;
Mandatory medical evaluation;
An administrative monetary penalty of $150.00


If you are caught driving a motor vehicle while your license is suspended, you will face further repercussions such as, fines ranging from anywhere from $500 to $50,000; the immediate impounding of the vehicle you are driving; and liability for any charges incurred from the impoundment, including but not limited to towing costs, impound fees and additional rental fees if the vehicle you were driving was rented. Overall, this can end up being a very costly experience.

Traffic Ticket Solutions also handles Impaired Driving cases in Toronto, so if you do get into trouble you can give us a call for a consultation, but we would much prefer to have people NOT drink and drive. The safety of the public is worth so much more to us than gaining clients.

Enjoy the long weekend and remember to make it memorable for all the right reasons!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Traffic Ticket Solutions Can Now Handle Impaired Driving Cases in Toronto



Since Traffic Ticket Solutions is owned and operated by the Ontario law firm of Home & Castle, it was only a matter of time before we would offer our services for impaired driving and any drinking and driving offence in Toronto. Our professional team (Paralegal and Lawyer) creates the best possible combination for a solid defence for any drinking and driving case.

In Ontario, impaired driving is a criminal offence. This means that if you plead guilty, you are automatically accepting all of the consequences for the matter, which includes a
criminal record! Being found guilty of a drinking and driving offence can be life altering with huge consequences. Some of the penalties could be high fines, a licence suspension from one year for a first time offence to a lifetime suspension for a third offence, an ignition interlock device being installed in your car, attendance of the Back on Track program and even possible jail time!

Not only does impaired driving carry a criminal record along with many other penalties, even one DUI conviction could gravely impact your
car insurance. Most insurance companies will go as far as cancelling your insurance policy all together for up to 3 years and if they do choose to ensure you again after that time is up, your rates could go through the roof doubling or even tripling what you were paying before you received the DUI charge. The fees you pay in insurance increases alone are worth hiring a DUI Lawyer for your Impaired Driving case!

At
Traffic Ticket Solutions, we have an experienced, highly skilled team: lawyer, paralegal, and administrative staff who are ready to provide you with a free consultation and offer you the guidance you require through this difficult time. We not only offer competitive prices, we offer some of the best impaired driving representation in Toronto!

For further information, please visit our Traffic Ticket Solutions
drinking and driving pages.

Labels: , , , , ,