Automotive

Ticket Question: Officer says I ran a Red Light (I did not)

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  • Feb 14th, 2012 11:33 am
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Sep 30, 2008
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Ticket Question: Officer says I ran a Red Light (I did not)

Yes, another ticket question (Sorry!), but i know the basics I just want to run this by some people to see what they think.

So, I turned left out of my residential area onto a main street in the Durham region. It was roughly 5pm. The Cop was at the red light waiting for it to change. The very next light about 300-500m down the road turn yellow, I rolled through (doing the speed limit). (I Didn't downshift or sped up to make it as I clearly was going to make it unless I braked hard).

Cop was atleast 100m or more back, and there is a slight downhil. (Which I thought made it hard to see the road)

Anyways, cop decides to pull me over shortly after. (3rd time being pulled over in my M3 in two years, first time given a ticket)
The follow conversation took place:

Officer: Are you in a hurry?
Me: No sir.
Officer: Do you know you ran the red light back there?
Me: I am pretty certain the light was amber as a entered the intersection.
Officer: Your front tires crossed the white line after the light turned red.
Me: (at this point i'm like wtf, but just said) I'm certain I was already in the intersection.
Officer: License and Registration please.....
Me: *Hands him my papers I had ready*
Officer: *Goes to his cruiser and comes back* You know if you admited to running the red light I would have let you off, but because you argued with me I am giving you a ticket.
Me: Thank you, see you in court.

So my plan so far is:
- Already filed for a court date
- Will file for disclosure as soon as i get it (I have to wait for the trail date right? I can't do this earlier? I will go in person to double check this)

So my concern is obviously it is my word against his, I did have my wife in the car with me who I can bring as a witness, but then we both have to take time off work. Now I have attended court before for not having my latest insurance slip on me, that got thrown out easily. I didn't have to goto trail. I am a little nervous because it sounds like this one will goto trail unless the cop doesn't show up.

I wanted to take pictures the road to show how hard it is to see the line from 100m back, questioning the officers judgement. But I don't think I am allowed to use that type of evidence in court. I think my only leverage is that I have a witness, but since it is my wife, does that even hold up? I am almost thinking I should get a paralegal to help me with this, because it is a Failure to stop for a red light ticket which is 3pts and $325, I don't care about the money I just don't want a charge on my record that i didn't do.

Anyways let me know if you have any suggestions or comments.
34 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Jul 23, 2005
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it'll be very tough to win. i had the same ticket and the court will be you said he said argument.. 99.9% of the time, the judge will side with the cop b/c "he has nothing to gain for convicted you"
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Sep 2, 2006
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Tomy wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 12:10 pm
it'll be very tough to win. i had the same ticket and the court will be you said he said argument.. 99.9% of the time, the judge will side with the cop b/c "he has nothing to gain for convicted you"

you could argue "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" he said/she said really doesn't do that.
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Sep 12, 2007
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Greely
I didn't think you could use your spouse (or any passenger in your vehicle for that matter) as a witness. I thought they had to be an independent witness. But I'm not a lawyer and I'm too lazy to look it up.

You're going to have a hard time beating this one. But it's OK, you drive an M3 - so you can afford the ticket and the higher premiums.
Member
Mar 17, 2010
232 posts
13 upvotes
Vancouver
Sorry about your bad luck, it's ridiculous that you got a ticket for that. Unfortunately, it's going to be next to impossible to fight. Your wife is not a credible witness unfortunately. Generally if the witness if a family member or friend, their credibility immediately goes to zero. You need an impartial witness, which it doesn't sound like you have.

Your best hope is that he doesn't show up. From what I understand, cops are being paid double time to go to court for people fighting tickets, so chances are he will be there. Secondly, you can hope they offer you a smaller fine and/or fewer demerits if you plead guilty.

Personally, I would just bend over and pay the ticket, take it as a lesson: invest in a dash cam and always use it. A camera is the best witness; it never lies.
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Mar 24, 2004
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Toronto
Sorry about the minor thread derail;

but what's the law on red lights?

I can think of a few cases, (some obvious/trivial).

Light turned red before your front wheels (or is it bumper?) enter the intersection - obvious fault
Light turned red with your front wheels/bumper in the interesection, but rear wheels/bumper out - fault or no fault?
Light turned red with entire car (or both front/rear wheels) in the interesection, - fault or no fault?
Light turned red with front wheels/bumper past the interesection, but rear wheels/bumper in the interesection - fault or no fault?
Light turned red with entire car (or both front/rear wheels) past the interesection - obvious NO fault.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
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tdott wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 11:32 am
Yes, another ticket question (Sorry!), but i know the basics I just want to run this by some people to see what they think.

So, I turned left out of my residential area onto a main street in the Durham region. It was roughly 5pm. The Cop was at the red light waiting for it to change. The very next light about 300-500m down the road turn yellow, I rolled through (doing the speed limit). (I Didn't downshift or sped up to make it as I clearly was going to make it unless I braked hard).

Cop was atleast 100m or more back, and there is a slight downhil. (Which I thought made it hard to see the road)

Anyways, cop decides to pull me over shortly after. (3rd time being pulled over in my M3 in two years, first time given a ticket)
The follow conversation took place:

Officer: Are you in a hurry?
Me: No sir.
Officer: Do you know you ran the red light back there?
Me: I am pretty certain the light was amber as a entered the intersection.
Officer: Your front tires crossed the white line after the light turned red.
Me: (at this point i'm like wtf, but just said) I'm certain I was already in the intersection.
Officer: License and Registration please.....
Me: *Hands him my papers I had ready*
Officer: *Goes to his cruiser and comes back* You know if you admited to running the red light I would have let you off, but because you argued with me I am giving you a ticket.
Me: Thank you, see you in court.
Stupid officer, he should have given you a ticket for running the amber instead. Lower fine (I think) and only 2 demerits instead of 3 but that you did admit to, thus making you guilty.
tdott wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 11:32 am
So my concern is obviously it is my word against his, I did have my wife in the car with me who I can bring as a witness,
No you can't. Your wife and anyone else in your own car is typically not counted as a credible witness.
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Mar 24, 2004
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ES_Revenge wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 1:11 pm
Stupid officer, he should have given you a ticket for running the amber instead. Lower fine (I think) and only 2 demerits instead of 3 but that you did admit to, thus making you guilty.


No you can't. Your wife and anyone else in your own car is typically not counted as a credible witness.

Wait what? It's illegal to run an amber light? *confused*
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Mar 23, 2004
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KevC wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 1:31 pm
Wait what? It's illegal to run an amber light? *confused*
Yep. Amber means STOP. ;) The only time you do not stop for an amber is when doing so or attempting to do so would be unsafe.

It's unbelieveable how many times I have hauled down for an amber light being both a shorter distance from the light and a travelling at a higher speed, than some goofball in a Corolla, etc. that not only continues through but actually accelerates into the light! :rolleyes: Meanwhile the same rehab would not even exceed the speed limit just a few hundred metres earlier :rolleyes:

(I.e. If could stop and I'm driving faster and have less distance to stop, there's no way these guys that run the ambers could not stop with more distance and lower speed.)

Amber doesn't mean speed up; it doesn't mean stop if you want to; it doesn't mean "try to get through before it turns red"; it certainly doesn't mean "time to break the speed limit to get through when I would instead drive 10 below the speed limit in the left lane" lol... Amber means STOP.
HTA Ontario wrote:Amber light

(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).
Emphasis added. Police can (though they rarely do :rolleyes: ) give you a ticket for violating s.144 (15) if they think you could have stopped your vehicle safely but chose not to.
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Nov 18, 2007
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Valleywood
OP, you description and recount of the officer's words are not clear.

If your vehicle did not clear the intersection before the light changed red, then you ran a red light. (If you enter an intersection on a green light, driving at 10 km/h and the light cycles from green to yellow and then red, you are still running a red light.)

Likely your only out is a officer no-show on court day.
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Sep 12, 2007
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Greely
fastlayne wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 2:02 pm
OP, you description and recount of the officer's words are not clear.

If your vehicle did not clear the intersection before the light changed red, then you ran a red light. (If you enter an intersection on a green light, driving at 10 km/h and the light cycles from green to yellow and then red, you are still running a red light.)

Likely your only out is a officer no-show on court day.

I don't think it has anything to do with clearing the intersection. It's based on when you enter the intersection (ie. cross the stop line). Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
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Nov 21, 2009
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steve-0101 wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 2:20 pm
I don't think it has anything to do with clearing the intersection. It's based on when you enter the intersection (ie. cross the stop line). Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

correct. you run a red light if you enter the intersection on red light. it does not matter if the light changed to red after you enter the intersection on green or yellow
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Nov 8, 2005
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If your recollection of the event is accurate then good luck to you. As others have stated, it'll be a very tough one for you to win. My only suggestion is to try and find something that'll set you apart from all the others that are there on that day that are merely trying to get out of something they know they're guilty of. If the pictures you described accurately show that the officer couldn't have seen where your tires were at the time in which you entered the intersection then that's a start.

You're likely a victim of an insecure power tripping cop who dislikes your demographic (someone that can afford an m3 that will disagree with the almighty authority of a police officer).
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Apr 22, 2009
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ES_Revenge wrote:
Sep 20th, 2011 1:48 pm
Yep. Amber means STOP. ;) The only time you do not stop for an amber is when doing so or attempting to do so would be unsafe.

It's unbelieveable how many times I have hauled down for an amber light being both a shorter distance from the light and a travelling at a higher speed, than some goofball in a Corolla, etc. that not only continues through but actually accelerates into the light! :rolleyes: Meanwhile the same rehab would not even exceed the speed limit just a few hundred metres earlier :rolleyes:

(I.e. If could stop and I'm driving faster and have less distance to stop, there's no way these guys that run the ambers could not stop with more distance and lower speed.)

Amber doesn't mean speed up; it doesn't mean stop if you want to; it doesn't mean "try to get through before it turns red"; it certainly doesn't mean "time to break the speed limit to get through when I would instead drive 10 below the speed limit in the left lane" lol... Amber means STOP.


Emphasis added. Police can (though they rarely do :rolleyes: ) give you a ticket for violating s.144 (15) if they think you could have stopped your vehicle safely but chose not to.

amber does not mean stop

from the driver's handbook
Yellow light

A yellow - or amber - light means the red light is about to appear. You must stop if you can do so safely; otherwise, go with caution.
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/ ... .2.2.shtml

from the london police website
http://www.police.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/A ... c_Faqs.htm
What does an amber light actually mean?
The amber light (yellow) actually means that the motorist SHALL stop their vehicle unless it can’t be done in safety.

Is it against the law to wait in an intersection until the light turns red before turning left?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Motorists approaching a signalized intersection intending to turn left should enter the intersection only on a green light. Once in the intersection the motorist should not complete their turn until it can be done in complete safety. If this means waiting through the amber light until the light turns red, that’s fine. You must ensure that all oncoming traffic has come to a stop.
all you have to do is say the magic words 'officer, the light was amber, i feel like i could not stop safely so i went through with caution'
just like the description of an amber light says

how can police 'think' they know i could stop my car in time?
every single car is different from make and model and different even further with condition of tires, condition of brakes etc
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