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For starters…don’t use your smartphone while you’re driving. Seriously. It’s a total jackass move and really dangerous. But within that truth I ask you to consider my circumstance.
It’s November and you’re driving to see your daughter’s soccer game at some field in Burnaby you’ve never heard of. You’re a responsible sort, so before you go you punch the address into Google Maps set if for handsfree and you’re off. Everything is going fine until you get to the intersection of Grandview and Boundary. Total gridlock. You’re in the middle lane and for some reason your iPhone, sitting on the passenger seat beside you, has stopped burping out the instructions. You can’t pull over left because there’s bumper-to-bumper cars. Ditto right. You’re about to head on the highway and are concerned that you won’t know which exit to take. So you reach over to shake your phone, fearful that it’s gone into sleep mode and wham…there’s the friendly face of Officer Joss, who’s been walking in the completely stopped traffic taking scalps from the smartphone violators.
You pull over, get your ticket. Day ruined. But is there anything you can do? Here’s the Province’s official guide. But I’ve spent some time in traffic court in my day and I just went through this process, so I figured I’d set out the practical options you have once the ticket is issued. And note…this is not legal advice. I’m not a practicing lawyer so this is just a layperson’s experience with the process, nothing more.
When You’re Pulled Over
Disputing The Ticket
Attending the Hearing
Plea as Registered Owner
You Want to Fight it?
So the end result is that I got my fine reduced to $200. My initial hope was the my officer would not show up, but that didn’t pan out. My second hope was that she would let me plead as registered owner, but she firmly said she never does that and I believed her. At this juncture I was prepared to head to trial, but ultimately knew I’d lose. This was confirmed by the demeanour of the Judge who was very harsh on anyone in His courtroom charged with distracted driving. The only real sour taste came from the one lawyer present who was the only person who secured a registered owner charge underscoring certain inequities. If I had a do over I would not have made a deal, but would have plead guilty and directly asked the judge for the Registered Owner charge citing his using it a few accused before and politely pointing out how bad it would look if only accused with lawyers were granted this indulgence, but I had already made my deal with Officer Joss so felt bad going back on it.
So remember—crime doesn’t pay. Unless you hire a lawyer, then don’t sweat it.