“I was driving with my family to church last weekend and was given a ticket for disobeying a stop sign by a police officer. I told him that I did stop and that he was wrong. The cop admitted that he saw that I stopped but said that I stopped in the wrong place (maybe one or two feet past the sign and the marker on the road). Give me a break! Really? Doesn’t he have something better to do than stop a family on their way to church because the stopped but stopped in the ‘wrong’ place? I can’t believe I have to pay money to the court because some police officer didn’t like where I stopped despite having come to a complete stop and not having had a accident or any problems? Can I fight this? Should I just pay it? Can I complain to his boss to get rid of the ticket?”
Response: If you feel that the Officer was unprofessional in conduct, you could certainly address your concerns with his supervisor. However, once the ticket has been issued it is virtually unheard of for an Officer or supervisor to not file the matter with the court based on argument from the driver. I am certainly sorry to hear that your weekend was spoiled by such an unfortunate incident. Hopefully some general information will help.
It sounds like you have been charged under Highway Traffic Act section 136(1)(a):
Stop at through highway
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
This section of the Highway Traffic Act is generally applied when a driver has either completely failed to stop at a posted stop sign (driven right through the intersection) or when a driver has stopped but has failed to stop “at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection.” From your email, it sounds like the latter case is what the Police Officer has taken issue with and that the stop sign had a painted stop line marked on the road.
Beyond the fine on the ticket, a conviction would also result in 3 demerit points being applied against your licence and a record of conviction would be entered into your driving history. Depending up your driving record and your insurance company, there may also be insurance problems if you are convicted.
Can you fight the ticket at court? Certainly. If you would like to contest the ticket and the evidence of the Officer, you will generally have a greater chance of success by having a legal representative such as a licenced paralegal working on your behalf. Fortunately simple cases under Highway Traffic Act s.136(1)(a) are relatively easy and require relatively minor legal work and expense. It may also be possible to resolve the matter without the need for you to miss work or other personal commitments in having to attend court.
When myself and my team represent a Defendant at court, our first recourse is to file for a release of evidence to review. Sometimes a sufficient problem is evident in that disclosure of evidence to simply have the charge withdrawn. If not we could certainly set a resolution meeting with the Prosecutor to see if a plea deal to a lesser offence could be reached. The final leg of the defence would be to run a trial. The Officer would be required to attend that hearing and we would have the opportunity to contest his evidence.
Before making a decision on whether to pay the ticket and take the conviction, I would be happy to speak with you directly by telephone or here in my office. We provide a free initial consultation to gather the specific details of your case and help provide you with basic information to help you make an informed decision. You can then weigh out your options without obligation to best protect your interests. I can be reached to discuss your matter in more detail through our toll-free number at 1-844-647-6869 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.