Driving along Guelph Ave. in Côte Saint-Luc, I was ticketed for not making a complete stop at a stop sign at the corner of Einstein Ave. A cop was lurking on Einstein besides the synagogue. Before flagging me down, he stopped the car in front of me. I had already come to a stop and then as I was proceeding he also hailed me down. I was only driving at 20 km/h. I explained to the cop that I did stop and always drive slowly when coming close to schools and houses of worship because I’m aware that children may be darting out, not looking because they’re talking on their cell phones, or seniors walking slowly crippled by their advanced age.

The cop wasn’t interested in my explanation. Arrogantly, he threw the ticket at me, telling me I had 30 days to contest it. The ticket was $169 plus three demerit points. I decided to fight it, thinking I had a pretty good case. The ticket was issued over a year ago on June 14, 2017. Each day, I checked the mail anxiously waiting for my day in court. It took almost year until I received a summons to appear. My trial date was set for June 4 at the court house in Ville St. Laurent. The ticket had now increased to $196.

Along with my above explanation I was going to tell the following to the judge: “I’ve lived in this neighbourhood for over 50 years. I am a careful driver with a good driving record. I’m from the old school and I still believe that police officers, along with judges, should be fair, understanding and compassionate. In my opinion, all this officer was interested in was writing his quota of tickets for the day. I can understand now why so many people are losing respect for the police who stick to the letter of the law and show no leeway. I didn’t feel this was deserving of a $169 ticket plus three demerit points.”

At one time it was required for the police officer who wrote the ticket to show up at court to defend his action, but now, apparently, they only have to submit a report. I guess they can’t be present because they’re too busy writing tickets.

Before I ever got to see the judge, a court agent showed me the report submitted by the cop and then said, “Would you like to play make a deal?” If I would plead guilty the fine will revert back to $169. There will be no loss of points and I will have 90 days to pay the ticket. I was also informed that if I proceed with the case and found guilty it would cost me $196 plus $100 court costs plus the three demerit points, which would make my drivers license go up by $50 for at least each of the next three years.

I realized it would be my word against the police officer’s report. My chances of winning would be as slight as the chances the Canadiens had this year of winning the Stanley Cup. So, in the end I pleaded guilty. Still, it was worth contesting the ticket and appearing in court. I delayed paying the original fine by 15 months and I did not lose any points.

In my opinion the two ways police officers write tickets, which are often questionable, is when they say you did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign or when you’re going slightly over the 30 or 40 km/h speed limits.

Since my day in court, I now make sure my wheels come to a complete stop before I proceed again from the stop sign. This presents another problem, as the motorists behind me incessantly keep honking their horns to get me moving. And there’s never a cop around to stop them.

riben@videotron.ca

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