On the way into work I passed a bus on the other side of the road. It was a school bus with flashing lights. I didn’t notice the stopped school bus until it was too late. I slowed down but wasn’t able to stop. No kids were visible but a nearby policeman gave me a summons with a court date on it. What can I do about this?
I will need to review your summons and the specific details of your case with you to provide proper information. You have likely been charged with one of the subsections of Highway Traffic Act section 175 and may be facing a potential 6 demerit point penalty. Given the nature of the offence, a conviction may also have a significant impact upon your cost, or ability, to insure your vehicle.
When a charge is issued by summons, it generally means that a serious offence with serious penalties has occurred. As such, the fine associated with such charges will generally cease to be a set fine and will instead fall within a range of fine. Such serious offences can also include more serious penalties such as a driver’s licence suspension or imprisonment. The penalty section for HTA s.175(11) or 175(12) is as follows:
(17) Every person who contravenes subsection (11) or (12) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,
(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000; and
(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $4,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 1997, c. 12, s. 14.”
It is important to point out that the fines listed in the penalty section would have an additional 25% victim fine surcharge added. Of further note, the penalties for a second or later offence are significantly more serious than those of a first offence.
If possible we can attempt to resolve the issue without the need for trial or the need for you to attend court. Given the serious nature of the offence with which you’ve been charged, it may be advantageous to attempt to resolve the case in advance of trial. Most school bus matters such as yours will generally take 3 to 5 court appearances and anywhere from 6 to 12 months to complete. Usually by the second court appearance the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office will have forwarded their disclosure of evidence to our office for us to review with you.
At this point in a case we can generally provide reasonably strong direction as to the merits of the Prosecutor’s case. Ideally there will be a legal argument to have the charge against you withdrawn. If not, we will need to determine if a reasonably beneficial plea deal can be reached with the Prosecutor or whether we will be proceeding to trial.
I will need to gather more specific and detailed information from you regarding the bus, the roadway, and the details of what happened, as well any statement that you made to the police at roadside. It would be helpful for you to collect your thoughts while they are still fresh in your mind and type out as detailed of a statement as possible for our review.
We offer a no cost, no obligation initial consultation. I would be happy to meet with you or speak with you by telephone to assist you in this matter. I may be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.