HOW TO GET OUT OF A DISTRACTED DRIVING TICKET?

Many clients and many prospective clients approach my office and my staff and they have a question, which is they’ve been charged with a distracted driving violation, either careless driving or having a handheld device. And the question is, how do I get out of this distracted driving ticket? Okay. And there are things that can be done.

Certainly we’re specialists at doing that type of thing. Probably the most important thing to do which unfortunately comes late because when you come in with the charge, it’s already happened. But certainly if you haven’t been, one of the first things you want to do is stay quiet at the roadside when you’re interacting with the police officers.

You have to be mindful that they are looking to build a case. They’ve seen something and they want to build that case against you. Instinctually, most clients will try to explain themselves out of it only to their own detriment. So the most sage advice that I could provide anyone is to try to remain quiet.

That’s not being uncooperative with the police, but say very little. All right. Usually if you’re in that position where the officer’s pulled you over, you know that they’re going to be charging you. And you frankly don’t assume that you’re going to be able to talk your way out of it. It is important to consider hiring competent legal advice.

Obviously, if you’re listening to me, I’m going to tell you that OTD legal is the right place to go, but ultimately that’s a decision you’re going to have to make after doing your own research. There are no magic bullets with respect to getting out of a distracted driving ticket. There are things that need to be considered that really are only available when you hire a competent representative, either a lawyer or paralegal to deal with this.

For example many of these offenses these days I hear are, you know, I touched my cell phone after I had come to a complete stop at a red light. So all motion had ceased, it’s a long red light, they look down at their cell phone and they might be running an app for GPS or they might be reading a text from their wife on what they need to pick up at the grocery store. But the assumption is I can look at that phone, I’m not moving and I’m perfectly safe. And that may actually be true, that it is perfectly safe, but the problem with the legislation is, if an officer observes you touching that phone, they could charge you. Now that’s a very technical prosecution against you for that, for that very reason, that there’s nothing unsafe about that.

No you yourself were not at risk, no member of the public was at risk, and we all know that. So  that’s why I say it’s a very technical prosecution. One of the things we would advocate in that type of a situation is that we’d have to look at the purpose of that legislation. And the purpose of that legislation was to really control and cut back and neutralize people who were driving around with their cell phones at regular speeds, highway speeds, and they were texting and they were emailing and they were holding their phones and listening to music, changing songs, or watching their GPS and not watching the road. And as a result, the number of accidents escalated in Ontario, the number of serious injury accidents escalated, and the number of deaths. Hence, this legislation. So, what’s happened now is this legislation is absolutely strictly enforced. So, even though, from a very objective, logical standard, you know, even the officer, I think, would know there was nothing unsafe about what they were doing.

But it’s simply a situation where they were going to say: “Ha, I caught you touching your phone, and here’s your ticket”. I would encourage you, if that happens, that that’s certainly a very strong defense. There are other types of defences that are available, that’s simply one. This video is not going to be able to possibly cover all of those other potential defences for you, but it’ll give you some idea that there is a way to get out of a distracted driving ticket.

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