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Need help/advice going to court next week to fight a ticket

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  • Feb 28th, 2009 2:20 am
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes

Need help/advice going to court next week to fight a ticket

Hi all,
I got a parking ticket last April in Toronto (parked in 3M radius of the hydro). I decided to fight and now have a court date next week. Searching through these pages I took the advice and asked for the disclosure and received that today. There is nothing more than what was written in the ticket in that letter they provided me as a disclosure. No photo or anything like that provided.
Anyways, I am not stupid to park in front of the hydro knowingly, but it is very subjective call if the curb is not painted properly. So you could be potentially or in the eye of the officer few inches closer than that you are supposed to be. Anyways, I think it will be officer's word against me in the court and perhaps judge will rule against me.

Anyways, I wonder what experts RFD folks suggest:
1. Plea guilty with explanation and try to ask for reduced penalty
2. Plea no guilty since prosecutor does not have any photo or an overwhelming evidence against me.

any advice is greatly appreciated.
34 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2005
2796 posts
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Mississauga, ON
simplylgg wrote:
Feb 11th, 2009 8:13 pm
Hi all,
I got a parking ticket last April in Toronto (parked in 3M radius of the hydro). I decided to fight and now have a court date next week. Searching through these pages I took the advice and asked for the disclosure and received that today. There is nothing more than what was written in the ticket in that letter they provided me as a disclosure. No photo or anything like that provided.
Anyways, I am not stupid to park in front of the hydro knowingly, but it is very subjective call if the curb is not painted properly. So you could be potentially or in the eye of the officer few inches closer than that you are supposed to be. Anyways, I think it will be officer's word against me in the court and perhaps judge will rule against me.

Anyways, I wonder what experts RFD folks suggest:
1. Plea guilty with explanation and try to ask for reduced penalty
2. Plea no guilty since prosecutor does not have any photo or an overwhelming evidence against me.

any advice is greatly appreciated.
Are you referring to a fire hydrant? If so, curbs are not painted in most parts of the GTA to indicate a distance to not park within. 3 m is about half the length of a car, so your bumper must have been about only a few feet away from the hydrant to get a ticket for that.

Further, why would you expect a photo for a parking violation?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes
Whitedart wrote:
Feb 11th, 2009 9:44 pm
Are you referring to a fire hydrant? If so, curbs are not painted in most parts of the GTA to indicate a distance to not park within. 3 m is about half the length of a car, so your bumper must have been about only a few feet away from the hydrant to get a ticket for that.

Further, why would you expect a photo for a parking violation?
Yes I was referring to fire hydrant. I heard some municipalities do take pictures of your car on such violation.
Anyways, what is your advice? I need help not blame please.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2008
192 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Richmond Hill, Oakville and I believe Barrie take digital pictures of parking infractions. It's becoming more common now: cheap and easy convictions.

Reg 604 covers parking near hydrants on the King's Highway. It sounds like you violated a municipal parking by-law, not the regulation if you were parked on a municipal road.

If this is true, then they didn't provide you with a certified copy of the by-law covering parking which they should have done through disclosure.

If you used a good disclosure request (there's one on my site) you should have asked for witness will say statements. You can't prepare your defence if you don't know what the officer is going to say. Maybe he had a measuring tape. How did he determine the proper distance? All his evidence should have been disclosed to you in advance of the trial.

If you did the disclosure correctly, then you can make a s.7 Charter application for a stay based on improper disclosure.

Just watch out, they will try and hand you some "papers" when you show up at court. It will be the by-law. Don't accept it. Argue improper disclosure.

If this doesn't work, ask for an adjournment and a complete certified copy of the entire by-law. Make them work to convict you.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes
ticketcombat wrote:
Feb 12th, 2009 1:27 pm
Richmond Hill, Oakville and I believe Barrie take digital pictures of parking infractions. It's becoming more common now: cheap and easy convictions.

Reg 604 covers parking near hydrants on the King's Highway. It sounds like you violated a municipal parking by-law, not the regulation if you were parked on a municipal road.

If this is true, then they didn't provide you with a certified copy of the by-law covering parking which they should have done through disclosure.

If you used a good disclosure request (there's one on my site) you should have asked for witness will say statements. You can't prepare your defence if you don't know what the officer is going to say. Maybe he had a measuring tape. How did he determine the proper distance? All his evidence should have been disclosed to you in advance of the trial.

If you did the disclosure correctly, then you can make a s.7 Charter application for a stay based on improper disclosure.

Just watch out, they will try and hand you some "papers" when you show up at court. It will be the by-law. Don't accept it. Argue improper disclosure.

If this doesn't work, ask for an adjournment and a complete certified copy of the entire by-law. Make them work to convict you.
I acutally had read your site which is a great site with lots of good info and based on your advice I asked for the disclosure and used a template you had provided. I will scan and attach what they have provided me as discosure.
BTW, the infraction occured on Yonge street south of Finch in front of Mel Lastman square.
Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2968 posts
76 upvotes
Go to the spot you got the ticket and take a picture. I have never been to traffic court for a parking offence. Here are a list of questions:

-No painted curb?
-Where on the diagram is the pile of garbage in front of the hydrant?
-where on the diagram are other cars and obstructions?
-In the year 2008 it is not unreasonable for a digital picture to be taken. Why this low detail diagram?
-where you in the area?
-did the ticketer make their assessment by looking at the right angle (they probably did).

Even if you plead guilty use the faded curb thing...I dunno if those fines are ever reduced.

sm
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2008
192 posts
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Toronto
simplylgg wrote:
Feb 12th, 2009 6:25 pm
Attached are the scans of all 3 pages I received as a disclosure. Sorry if the scan are not as good.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplylgg/

Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
Great! You had to park on Yonge street which is the King's Highway and the longest highway in the world :lol:

I've never worked on a fire hydrant charge so I'm hoping I didn't miss a section of the HTA. I honestly can't find the section you violated under it so my assumption is that you violated a by-law, not the Act.

The good news is that this becomes a great example of how to fight even the simplest of tickets. (I'll try not to write a doctoral dissertation).
  1. The Crown has the duty to provide disclosure. While they can delegate the task to the police, they cannot delegate the duty. The response was from the police but the obligation to disclose is the Crown's alone.
  2. You requested disclosure to prepare your defence. The incomplete disclosure does not allow you to do that because
    • you don't know who the witness(es) are
    • you don't know what they are going to say
    • you don't know how they measured your vehicle from the hydrant
  3. The next step is to file an application based on violations under two sections.
  4. Under s7 for improper disclosure based on the above. If you used my disclosure request, you would have clearly asked for this and they clearly did not provide it to you. BUT they will rely on the information in court to convict you. They can't do that unless they provide it to you in advance. If you don't know what the evidence they are relying on is, you can't prepare your defence. This is a clear violation of s.7.
  5. On top of that, the part of Yonge Street you were parked on is not covered under HTA Reg 604, Schedules 2 or 6 nor under Reg 949 of the POA. There must be a by-law or section that you violated.
  6. The infraction code box says "PARK 3M OF FIRE HYDRANT" and the next box "contrary to" is blank. Contrary to what code or bylaw? How can you defend against a charge if you don't know what you violated?
  7. This is a violation of s.11a of the Charter:you don't know what law you broke.
No one expects a charter application for a parking ticket. Probably no one expects a disclosure request for a parking ticket either. If you have several months before your trial, you may want to send another follow-up indicating you haven't received full disclosure and that you can't begin to answer to the charge without it. Otherwise file the charter application at least 15 days before the trial. At worst, you will get disclosure and another adjournment which will likely put you in 11b territory.

Step 4 of my site is really about using this one two punch of disclosure and stays to set up a great chance of winning BEFORE the trial. It amazes me why more people don't use these simple form letters and a fax machine to exponentially increase their chances of winning a no-win situation.
Jr. Member
Jan 4, 2009
118 posts
2 upvotes
Toronto
ticketcombat - you and your site have been a great source of info for me and others fighting tickets. Have you thought about adding a discussion forum to your own site?

And on a related note, any advice on fighting a red light camera ticket? I read the case that was on your site (a Waterloo one if I remember correctly) where it got through out since they didn't out a proper time/date stamp on the photo. They do that now though with photos from Toronto red light cameras.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes
ticketcombat wrote:
Feb 13th, 2009 12:38 am
Great! You had to park on Yonge street which is the King's Highway and the longest highway in the world :lol:

I've never worked on a fire hydrant charge so I'm hoping I didn't miss a section of the HTA. I honestly can't find the section you violated under it so my assumption is that you violated a by-law, not the Act.

The good news is that this becomes a great example of how to fight even the simplest of tickets. (I'll try not to write a doctoral dissertation).
  1. The Crown has the duty to provide disclosure. While they can delegate the task to the police, they cannot delegate the duty. The response was from the police but the obligation to disclose is the Crown's alone.
  2. You requested disclosure to prepare your defence. The incomplete disclosure does not allow you to do that because
    • you don't know who the witness(es) are
    • you don't know what they are going to say
    • you don't know how they measured your vehicle from the hydrant
  3. The next step is to file an application based on violations under two sections.
  4. Under s7 for improper disclosure based on the above. If you used my disclosure request, you would have clearly asked for this and they clearly did not provide it to you. BUT they will rely on the information in court to convict you. They can't do that unless they provide it to you in advance. If you don't know what the evidence they are relying on is, you can't prepare your defence. This is a clear violation of s.7.
  5. On top of that, the part of Yonge Street you were parked on is not covered under HTA Reg 604, Schedules 2 or 6 nor under Reg 949 of the POA. There must be a by-law or section that you violated.
  6. The infraction code box says "PARK 3M OF FIRE HYDRANT" and the next box "contrary to" is blank. Contrary to what code or bylaw? How can you defend against a charge if you don't know what you violated?
  7. This is a violation of s.11a of the Charter:you don't know what law you broke.
No one expects a charter application for a parking ticket. Probably no one expects a disclosure request for a parking ticket either. If you have several months before your trial, you may want to send another follow-up indicating you haven't received full disclosure and that you can't begin to answer to the charge without it. Otherwise file the charter application at least 15 days before the trial. At worst, you will get disclosure and another adjournment which will likely put you in 11b territory.

Step 4 of my site is really about using this one two punch of disclosure and stays to set up a great chance of winning BEFORE the trial. It amazes me why more people don't use these simple form letters and a fax machine to exponentially increase their chances of winning a no-win situation.
Thanks dear "ticketcombat". I have also scanned the disclosure letter that I had faxed to the prosecutor office:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplylgg/

BTW, I picked up the info from the prosecutor office at 1530 Markham Rd.

I wish I had found your website a bit earlier :( and had left with more time. I am going to court on Tuesday Feb 17, which does not leave me any time to file a charter application. I guess I am going to court. The question that I have is with no time left how do I request to stay. Do I ask in the court from the prosecutor or the Judge?

Thanks,
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2008
192 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
DOH! You even titled your post "going to court next week" and I forgot about that completely. I think you've got several approaches you can take.

First, I didn't spot this originally but if the scan of disclosure is the exact same as your ticket, then it looks like you've got a fatal error. The ticket does not state what you violated and that is an insufficient charge. I cover this on Step 5 of my site, how to make a motion to quash the ticket based on a fatal error.

Beware! The prosecutor might try to hand you some papers before court. DON'T ACCEPT THEM!!! They will be the by-law and then she'll claim you know what you violated.

When the justice comes in and it's your turn to go up, you have to insist that the ticket has a fatal error. Show you requested disclosure and they did not provide you with a certified copy of any by-law. You do not know what you violated. The Crown had more than enough opportunity to do so and to mention the bylaw but they didn't. You have prepared your defence based on their disclosure and this fatal error.

This should kill your ticket.

Second, if for some bizarre reason you lose the battle above then you can request an adjournment so that you can file a Charter application. The justice must grant you this. You will then have more than enough time to claim section 7 and 11a violations. I don't think you'll have to go this far. Your ticket should be dead.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2008
192 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
chanman wrote:
Feb 13th, 2009 12:59 am
ticketcombat - you and your site have been a great source of info for me and others fighting tickets. Have you thought about adding a discussion forum to your own site?
Chanman, thanks for your kind comments. I really appreciate them. There are several discussion boards that I post to regularly, one in particular is devoted entirely to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (OntarioHighwayTrafficAct.com). I think there are enough forums out there already that I don't need to add to it.
chanman wrote:
Feb 13th, 2009 12:59 am
And on a related note, any advice on fighting a red light camera ticket? I read the case that was on your site (a Waterloo one if I remember correctly) where it got through out since they didn't out a proper time/date stamp on the photo. They do that now though with photos from Toronto red light cameras.
There are several threads on this site already offering a range of advice about what to do. I've just updated my site with specific instructions for seatbelt and stop sign violations. I am working on a draft for red light camera tickets coming soon.

That's not going to help you right now. So I will make two broad comments.

Comment 1
A red light camera ticket doesn't affect your insurance, demerit points or driving record. It looks like the average settlement is $95 or about 50% of the face value of the ticket. Fighting the ticket is a balance of reducing the fine AND not losing income every time you go to court and miss work. You have to decide what threshold works for you and at what point you would be prepared to plead guilty or negotiate further.

My site, (see Step 5 - sentencing) shows what to say to the justice (or Crown) during negotiations or sentencing: expression of remorse, acknowledging the community safety interest, likelihood of re-offending, etc... which will help with reducing the fine.

Comment 2
There are some that will fight the ticket to the bitter end on principle alone. My site gives tons of ways to do that especially with disclosure and stays.

The key ruling Waterloo (Regional Municipality) v. Yan, 2004 CanLII 32076 covers the issues.

There are several good lessons to be learned there. First the code on the ticket/photographs has to be correct according to regulation. It also has to be legible. I don't believe they are. This is your first disclosure request, asking for the information on the photograph and what it means.

Second, there are rules around compelling the summons of the officer. This must be exploited mercilessly. You must make them work for a conviction and pose a threat of creating a precedent that will affect all red light camera tickets. They don't want to bet the farm to convict you. The Crown also has a threshold where it would not be in their interest to pursue a conviction when the potential (precedent) cost becomes too high. You must strike fear in the prosecutor heart.

You will pay a heavy price to do this even if only in terms of multiple court appearances as you argue and whittle away at them. Is it worth it to fight a ticket that is equivalent to an expensive parking ticket?

That is something you will have to decide.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes
ticketcombat wrote:
Feb 16th, 2009 12:56 pm
DOH! You even titled your post "going to court next week" and I forgot about that completely. I think you've got several approaches you can take.

First, I didn't spot this originally but if the scan of disclosure is the exact same as your ticket, then it looks like you've got a fatal error. The ticket does not state what you violated and that is an insufficient charge. I cover this on Step 5 of my site, how to make a motion to quash the ticket based on a fatal error.

Beware! The prosecutor might try to hand you some papers before court. DON'T ACCEPT THEM!!! They will be the by-law and then she'll claim you know what you violated.

When the justice comes in and it's your turn to go up, you have to insist that the ticket has a fatal error. Show you requested disclosure and they did not provide you with a certified copy of any by-law. You do not know what you violated. The Crown had more than enough opportunity to do so and to mention the bylaw but they didn't. You have prepared your defence based on their disclosure and this fatal error.

This should kill your ticket.

Second, if for some bizarre reason you lose the battle above then you can request an adjournment so that you can file a Charter application. The justice must grant you this. You will then have more than enough time to claim section 7 and 11a violations. I don't think you'll have to go this far. Your ticket should be dead.
Actually, the ticket has the following info on it:
You did commit the offence of: PARK - 3M OF FIRE HYDRANT contrary to the METROPOLITAN TORONTO BY-LAW #32-92; SEC 21(B)

I am not sure if I still can use the "Fatal Error" argument as you suggeted above, but can I still use insufficient disclosure approach?

Thanks for all your help ticketcombat.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2008
192 posts
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Toronto
Then no you don't have a fatal error if the original ticket has info the scan doesn't.

The insufficient disclosure argument will have to do. But since you haven't filed your Charter application, you are in a weaker position. The Crown has a duty to disclose, including the by-law, measurement process, will say statement, etc... They failed to do this. You can't proceed to trial. No way, no how!

You have to also emphasize that at 11 months for a relatively minor ticket, you are already in 11b territory for unreasonable delay. An adjournment to allow for disclosure would put you over the top. In affect, if the justice grants an adjournment, you are just going to be back arguing 11b. Let's save taking up valuable court time and just grant the stay now.

To support this argument, print three copies of the the following case and hand one to the prosecutor: R. v. Rowan, 2004 ONCJ 153 (CanLII)

The justice may not agree with you. And he has every right to since you have no Charter application for him to consider. If you are losing this argument, then get him to rule on the will say statements and the 3m measuring method. You want to know that in order to prepare your defence. Get him to order the Crown to disclose this to you.

You can try telling the Crown all of this before trial in an attempt to intimidate them to get them to drop the charge. And remember, don't let them hand you anything before the justice walks in. Keep your hands firmly clasped behind your back if that helps. One moment of forgetfulness and you are holding the by-law.

And remember, disclosure is not just about the by-law. It's also about those other items. Don't give in. You can do this.

Good luck and good fight!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2007
1590 posts
236 upvotes
ticketcombat wrote:
Feb 16th, 2009 9:13 pm
Then no you don't have a fatal error if the original ticket has info the scan doesn't.

The insufficient disclosure argument will have to do. But since you haven't filed your Charter application, you are in a weaker position. The Crown has a duty to disclose, including the by-law, measurement process, will say statement, etc... They failed to do this. You can't proceed to trial. No way, no how!

You have to also emphasize that at 11 months for a relatively minor ticket, you are already in 11b territory for unreasonable delay. An adjournment to allow for disclosure would put you over the top. In affect, if the justice grants an adjournment, you are just going to be back arguing 11b. Let's save taking up valuable court time and just grant the stay now.

To support this argument, print three copies of the the following case and hand one to the prosecutor: R. v. Rowan, 2004 ONCJ 153 (CanLII)

The justice may not agree with you. And he has every right to since you have no Charter application for him to consider. If you are losing this argument, then get him to rule on the will say statements and the 3m measuring method. You want to know that in order to prepare your defence. Get him to order the Crown to disclose this to you.

You can try telling the Crown all of this before trial in an attempt to intimidate them to get them to drop the charge. And remember, don't let them hand you anything before the justice walks in. Keep your hands firmly clasped behind your back if that helps. One moment of forgetfulness and you are holding the by-law.

And remember, disclosure is not just about the by-law. It's also about those other items. Don't give in. You can do this.

Good luck and good fight!
Thanks for all the advice and although I am quiet nervous since this is my first time appearing in a court, but I think I can do this. I wish I could somehow pay you back for your all great help.

Thanks again.

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