Question: I have a G2 licence and am a college student. We had a bunch of us in the car going down town when we were stopped by the police for supposedly going through a red light. The officer didn’t tell us where we went through the red light, she just gave us a ticket. I don’t think we went through a red light, but maybe… Is there anything I can do about this? What penalties am I facing? If I fight this with you will it cost a lot of money as my parents will have to pay for the legal work?
Response: I’m sorry to hear about your ticket. The location of your allegedly going through a red light traffic signal along with any other notes of the police officer would be disclosed to us by the court before having to speak with the Prosecutor or argue your matter before the court. The two most common traffic signal charges that I see are Amber Light Fail To Stop and Red Light Fail To Stop under Highway Traffic Act section 144:
(15) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular amber indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle if he or she can do so safely, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (15).
(18) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (18).
Both of these offences carry a 3 demerit point penalty and would result in a record of conviction on your driving history if you are convicted. These charges can also impact your insurance rate especially if you are a younger, G2 driver. Your insurance broker could provide you with more specific information about potential insurance concerns. Certainly as a G2 driver, you have a limited pool of demerit points and protecting your ability to remain licenced is important.
Red Light and Amber Light charges are very common offences and you are certainly not alone in seeking legal assistance to protect your interests. The first important step is that we have to file the matter with the court and have a limited period of time to do so. I would recommend contacting my office so that I can see what court location your case is for and how long we have before a non-response conviction would be assessed against you.
Once we have a court date set we will be able to file for a disclosure of evidence from the Prosecutor’s Office and we will then be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Prosecutor’s case. If possible, we can determine whether we have a strong enough case to simply argue to have the charge withdrawn without need for trial. If there is no grounds to have the charge withdrawn, we can then decide whether we wish to argue the case at trial or negotiate to a lesser offence. Generally these charges can be argued to a lesser 0 demerit point offence if that option would be of interest to you rather than risking the all or nothing result of a trial.
Fortunately these cases are generally very simple and require little legal work and cost. I will need to speak with you to get more specific information about your matter before being able to provide a quote on the legal work, but I doubt you would be looking at more than a few hundred dollars which could be money very well spent in protecting your financial and licencing interests with the pending offence. I would be happy to speak with you directly via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869. We offer a no-cost, no-commitment initial review of HTA and CAIA matters and I should be able to get through your basic information in about 10 to 15 minutes.