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"Careless Driving"

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Posted by Member # 1
Mar 20th 2009 @ 04:39 AM

I have somewhat of a "legal dilemna" in my hands:

On the afternoon of July 11th 2008 I was involved in a minor "bumper" accident where I rear-ended the car in front of me (ultimately my fault as I turned my head to look at something for a second and then couldn't stop in time after noticing the car in front of me had braked/stopped). I could not have been going more than 20 km/h at the time, as I was in between first and second gear with the clutch engaged (starting up from being stopped just before an intersection).

The rear bumper of the car in front of me was hanging down as a result of the impact. I did not have to claim anything myself on my insurance, as my car only had minor slices and cuts that I can live with.

The officer obtained statements from myself and others (I simply advised the officer that the intersection light turned green, the car in front of me proceeded forward and then braked/stopped abruptly and I couldn't stop in time before hitting the car in front of me), and gave me a Careless Driving ticket.

After having the Careless Driving ticket hand-delivered to me in person by the officer the very next day, I promptly signed the "guilty" section and dropped it in the mail along with a cheque without realizing the insurance consequences.

Shortly after realizing what I had done (mailing it off as "guilty" as opposed to "request trial"), I called a traffic ticket fighting agency who advised me to stop payment on the cheque right away through my bank, so I did.

The traffic ticket fighting agency guy (an ex cop) tried to re-open my ticket, but the municipality would not allow it. He then filed for an appeal in court.
I had the "guilty" plea appealed in court recently on March 19th 2009 and the appeal was denied (the judge basically said that not knowing the consequences of pleading guilty is not a good enough excuse). I was very disappointed.

In the meantime my licence has been suspended for "unpaid fines" and the outstanding balance has been referred to a collection agency by the municipality.

I am wondering if there is anything that can be done to have this Careless Driving charge dropped or at least taken to trial. It seems pretty harsh considering how minor the accident was. I am worried about the extremely high car insurance costs I will no doubt be facing going forward with this on my record. (I am 30 years old and have had a clean driving record up until this, minus one speeding ticket when I was 18.)

Demerit Points & Insurance Risk Points:
A Careless Driving conviction carries six demerit points. Demerit points stay on your record with the Ministry of Transportation for two years from the date of conviction.
A conviction for Careless Driving is treated as a "serious" conviction for insurance purposes. Serious convictions are the worst and carry four insurance risk points.

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