Ticket But No Electronic Device

I received a ticket while driving, Section 214.2(1) for $368.

The office was driving beside me and pulled me over. I had no idea why. He asked me: do you know why I pulled you over. I said I did not. He then issued me a ticket. He wrote on the ticket for using a handheld device.

I was certainly not doing this or even anything else I can think of. I find this very unusual. He did not even ask for my signature.

I would like to dispute this. I worry that my fine may increase though.

Do I have a case at all?

Requesting disclosure and submitting dispute

Thank you everyone for all this incredibly helpful information.  I have read and re-read many of your replies am still learning about the process. 

English is not my first language.  I am having my friend write all this on my behalf!  It is great to know I may bring an interpreter.

I am comforted by the fact that the fine will not increase.  I think I pay 25% less if I pay within 30 days.

I do have an excellent driving record.

I will submit a dispute as well as a disclosure.  This is my first time doing this.

Some further questions.

Do I submit the dispute and disclosure to the same address?  To be clear, these are two separate requests? 2 separate letters?  There has been discussion here about submitting a disclosure request to the specific officer.  How would I find this officer?  Also, do you recommend sending by registered mail?

I have read about requesting disclosure on this site and others.  They all seem to be about speeding tickets.  Do you have any specific suggestions for what I might request disclosure of with respect to the infraction of using electronic devices while driving?

Many many thanks for all your help!

Curious

What is your first language? I'd be happy to help if I can.

Two Separate Letters

You follow the instructions on the back of the ticket to dispute the allegation.

A separate letter to the officer is required to request disclosure. The name of his place of work should be on the ticket by his signature. You can call there to request how to address the letter if you wish.

It is not necessary to send the letter by registered mail, but if you require proof of delivery you may do so.

Once you receive notice of dispute, you may wish to contact the court registry there and see if they will arrange for an interpreter. If they will not then you would have to find one yourself. I don't know if the court provides an interpreter for a traffic ticket hearing or not.

I don't have any suggestions for what to ask for by way of disclosure in this case.

Don't be afraid to dispute

Ruby, I understand that it's tough to argue with "authority" and that doing new things is scary, I don't imagine you have had to dispute a ticket before.


When it comes to the dispute, you don't need to prove that you didn't do something - thats a reverse onus - the officer has to prove that you were using the device - thats the requirement of the law.
 Police officers make mistakes, I've recently disputed a ticket for a U-turn in a STOP sign controlled intersection, that is not explicitly illegal, and the officer was under the impression that all intersection U-turns are illegal - maybe because ICBC is spreading this misinformation.

The officer was very perplexed when I pointed that fact out to him and withdrew the ticket after reading the law, right before the trial.

Your case is even clearer - if you have not done what the allegation suggests - the officer is mistaken.

Disputes work like so:

You get a date at a court local to the detachment. First you arrive - you talk to the ticketing officer in the lobby - they typically would want to know why you are there - your options are: claim “not guilty” or “guilty”, and if you claim guilty, you can ask for time to pay or reduction in fine (statutory limits cannot be reduced). If you claim “not-guilty” a trial will be held, but after the court sorts through all the “bargain cases” first.

At the trial time, you are required to enter a plea, and after you plea not-guilty the officer has to go on the stand to present their evidence against you, and if they have none they will say so and your ticket will be dismissed.  If they go on stand, you can make notes and ask questions about their testimony after they are done. Then you have a choice to testify. The choice is yours and testifying is not usually recommended. If you were to testify, I’d recommend that you don’t say too many words (i.e. "I was driving with no cellphone in my hand, then I got pulled over and got a ticket for holding a cell-phone". Then the officer gets to ask you questions about your testimony (cross-examination). Then you and the officer can make closing statements. Then the Justice makes a ruling based on what they heard.

If the officer goes on the stand and testifies against you in the course of the trial, write down every statement that is not representative of the truth in your view, and point them all out methodically to the JJP (Judicial Justice of Peace). If the officer says you were holding a cell-phone, ask them what kind of phone it was, its size, its configuration - flip-phone, smartphone, what hand and to which ear were you holding it to, details of when they saw you holding it it first, where they were in-relation to your car when they observed you holding the phone.

If the officers has “answers” to those questions, which in my experience officers would rather claim no evidence than to give straight-out lies, start poking holes in the answers, after all you know its not true, so the officer wouldn’t have clear answers to the details - like the hand, or the ear or the color of the phone/case.

Also, in my experience, JJPs are very forthcoming about the procedures and what to expect when it comes to trial, they will instruct you on what is happening, and in some cases will even battle the officer on your behalf, i.e. when the officer starts presenting “evidence” that is not satisfactory to the JJP - like hearsay.

I would encourage you to promptly dispute the charge and approach this matter calmly and confidently. Send your notice of dispute, you don’t need to provide any “reason” for dispute, you are providing a notice only, you are entitled by law to dispute regardless of the reason, so don’t burden the processing clerks with your musings, simply state your name, address and DL#, ticket number and that you are “giving notice of dispute”, attach a copy of the ticket, and mail it off to Victoria.

Then write to the detachment/officer for disclosure of evidence, and expect back the officer’s copy of the ticket and maybe some notes, study the disclosure, you can come back here and post what you’ve got.
If you dispute now, you don’t have to pay the fine until your hearing, which could be up to 12 months from now, and considering you haven’t done what the allegation claims you have, you don’t have to pay the fine at all (pending trial).

Good luck!

Yes, things are much clearer

Yes, things are much clearer in hindsight. 

When he pulled me over, "cell phone" was never mentioned or discussed. I have Bluetooth. When he pulled me over, he said: do you know, why I am pulling you over?"  Then proceeded to issue me a ticket.  

I don't recall fiddling with my Bluetooth but maybe the radio? I also wondered if he is guessing/bluffing. I have back spasms and I may have moved awkwardly in my seat?

honestly, I am so cynical. It is difficult to argue authority especially on your way to a funeral and English is not the first language  he was driving beside me.  Would he have recorded me or what he thinks he saw? That would help me  

I am thinking to pay the ticket. It is stressful thinking they will increase the fine by 25% if dispute fails.   Is there any way to ask for a reduction of the $368.  I am a non working senior.  This is a big hit  

 

Answer

The fine cannot be increased from $368, but could be reduced. You can dispute the penalty without having to attend court.

Again, requesting disclosure will fill you in on what the officer thought he saw and whether it was recorded or not if you ask for that specifically.

You write very well, so I might guess that even though English is not your first language you understand it. You could consider bringing in someone to help you interpret. I've seen it allowed in the past.

If you did nothing wrong, you should dispute the allegation.

 

It is too late now

It is too late now, but at the time it would have been a good idea to ask the officer what device he thought you were using. If he said "a cellphone" and you said "What cellphone, I don't have one?" then wouldn't he have to search the vehicle and produce the evidence? Just thinking out loud here.

Search Not Necessary

No, the officer would not have had to search. What they have to do is convince the justice at the hearing that what they saw was the inappropriate use of a prescribed device.

prescribed electronic device

In a response to this issue, I see that a Global Positioning System is listed under prescribed electronic devices. I'm unsure of the term "prescribed". Am I prohibited from using a GPS? What about a dash cam, talking with Siri to your tablet, messing with my stereo?

Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation

The Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation contains more rules that include some exemptions and further definition of "prescribed devices" that fall under (c) of 214.1 MVA.

I included the list without further explanation hoping to see if this person might have been using a prescribed device other than a cell phone.

Perhaps You Have a Case

The section that your ticket was issued under is this one:

Prohibition against use of electronic device while driving

214.2 (1) A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person must not communicate by means of an electronic device with another person or another device by electronic mail or other text-based message.

"electronic device" means (a) a hand-held cellular telephone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function,

(b) a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages, or

(c) a prescribed class or type of electronic device;

Prescribed electronic devices

3 (1) The following electronic devices are prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (c) of the definition of "electronic device" in section 214.1 of the Act:

(a) electronic devices that include a hands-free telephone function;

(b) global positioning systems;

(c) hand-held electronic devices, one of the purposes of which is to process or compute data;

(d) hand-held audio players;

(e) hand microphones;

(f) televisions.

(2) In subsection (1), "hand microphone" means a communication device consisting of a hand-held unit that

(a) is both receiver and microphone,

(b) is operated by a push and hold-to-talk function, and

(c) allows for oral communication, but not for the transmission and receipt of oral communication at the same time.

Officers do make mistakes, but why would he think that you were doing something with an electronic device that you should not have been?

Is it possible that you were dealing with some device listed above that is not a cell phone?

I should also ask, you are not a class 7 N driver, are you?

No handheld device/nothing in hand

Thank you. I am not a 7N driver. I am having honestly very surprised. There were no devices in my hand. I was on my way to a funeral and the officer was very intimidating. It was a very short encounter. 

He did not ask for my signature on the ticket so the ticket is unsigned. 

I feel strongly I should dispute the ticket but I worry this is his word against mine and more upsetting in the end. 

No Reason Not to Dispute

My recommendation is that you give notice to dispute the allegation and request disclosure. If there was no reason to issue the ticket then this is the proper way to proceed and you can always chose to change your choice right up to the commencement of the trial.

Almost cases in traffic court are solely the officer's word against yours. The justice is there to listen to and evaluate both sides fairly and in the case of an inexperienced disputant, help present the case where reasonably possible. You won't get legal advice, but you will be helped to decide what choices are available to you at certain points in the hearing.

If you wish, once you have received disclosure, we can discuss your options in more detail.

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