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"63 year old grandma" takes on GOV and wins (Canada) Gov wants another round

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posted on Sep, 11 2009 @ 08:47 PM
If anyone is unfamiliar with Ontario Canada's driving laws let me tell you about a law that was introduced in 2007.

The new law came into effect and introduced strict new penalties for "stunt driving". If you are determined in the sole discretion of a police officer to be "stunt driving", you will have your vehicle seized for 7 days, lose your license for 7 days, and face a fine between $2,000 and $10,000.

Under the law, it is considered "stunt driving" if you do any of the following:

- lifting any tire from the surface of the road (wheelies or stoppies)
- intentionally causing any tire to lose traction while turning (skids or drifting)
- having the intention of causing a vehicle to spin (not sure how they're going to measure intentions...)
- driving a vehicle in oncoming lanes next to another vehicle longer than is "reasonably" required to pass
- driving with someone in the trunk (not sure what this has to do with racing or stunting)
- driving while not sitting in the driver's seat
- driving more than 50kph (approx. 30mph) over the speed limit
- driving in a way that prevents others from passing
- slowing down with the intention of slowing or interfering with another vehicle
- driving with the intention of driving as close as possible to a vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object
- jumping a left turn at a green light before allowing straight-through traffic to proceed

Recently a 63 year old woman named Jane Raham was pulled over doing 50km/hour over the speed limit while passing a transport trailer.

The officer registered her speed: 131 km/h, more than 50 km/h over the speed limit – just enough to merit the grandmother, who volunteer teaches adult literacy courses, an automatic conviction for stunt driving under provincial law.

Her guilty verdict was overturned last Friday. "If one were asked to describe a stunt driver, the appellant would not immediately spring to mind," Justice G. J. Griffin wrote in his ruling.

Brian Starkman, the lawyer who successfully argued the appeal, said "the reason why the judge found this to be unconstitutional is because, on the one hand, the person is exposed to a possible jail sentence. And, on the other hand, he has no means to defend himself at trial."

Although I think it is a great victory that this woman took on this law and won. I am upset that the law has held up so long. I wonder if it was a younger guy driving a nice car, (not a modified car but something sporty off the lot) Would he too, be able to overturn the conviction?

The Ontario government is not happy by this decision and plans to appeal the woman`s appeal.

This law is completely against the Charter of Rights (Constitution)
The fact that your car is seized immediately (on the spot, without due process) Impounded for seven days, and you are considered guilty even before you go to court is ridiculous.
People can face up to six months in jail from this.
And speaking from experience, cops will sometimes let you off of these charges (they will lie to help you out...) So what happens if they lie to prosecute you?
Although I appreciate the cops who didn't charge me when I was going over 50km and became a 'stunt driver'. I do worry that it is too easy to be misused.

This is a law that I hope the government wont win the appeal on. And if it is allowed to stand it will just be a matter of time before it is adopted elsewhere.

(quotations added)

Poster pointed out my intended sarcasm in title.

[edit on 12-9-2009 by threekings]

posted on Sep, 11 2009 @ 09:54 PM
Okay. I am going on a rant here that has only a little to do with you post.

The "63 year old grandmother" really chaps me.

I am a 63 year old grandmother but I was a grandmother at 43. No one ever sites a 43 year old as a grandmother. This never happens until they are in their 60's. It is simply a ploy for attention/sympathy.

I am not blaming you OP, but the media. Adding the grandmother/grandfather bit is just a ploy for sympathy.

Now to your post. Your laws suck. They are extreme in my opinion. But the US DWI laws are similar. If you are accused, you license is taken away until you can have a hearing and it takes much longer than 7 days. More like a month.

Thank goodness she had the strength to stand up and fight. You need someone like her for each of these ridiculous laws that end up being at the discretion of the arresting officer.

posted on Sep, 11 2009 @ 10:29 PM
There is a lot of people killed every year in Canadian provinces while stunt driving.They are usually young people with supped up cars but as with a lot of well intentioned laws there are problems.I don't know what can be done.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:16 AM
reply to post by liveandlearn

I agree with you. It is a play on emotions, and the truth is, if the law is unconstitutional than it shouldn't matter whether it was a 'grandma' driving or a twenty year old university student. If a law violates someones rights, it violates them regardless of age/sex/occupation.

As far as the 7 day suspension goes, it really is only 7 days. You get the car back no matter what after 7 days, but then face $2-10,000 fine and six months jail time during your hearing.

This to me is a money grab for the impound lots and for the fines associated. The 7 day impound should be illegal though, especially since they prided themselves on the fact that they could impound rental cars or borrowed cars.

If I lend someone my car and they are caught driving over 50km/speed limit
than why should my car be impounded. Personally I haven't seen this happen, I was driving my friends vehicle when I was pulled over under the stunt driving act. The cop said because it wasn't mine he was going to give me a break. It may just be a scare tactic.
I have heard from first hand that they seize rental vehicles. Forcing the renter to rent the vehicle an additional 7 days from when they were pulled over. To me that is completely unfair and should be illegal. If you rent a vehicle you are not the owner, so the police should not be able to seize it. Simple as that.

...And, even if you are the owner, I don't think the car should be seized until you have had a fair trial. The law is complete BS, I'm surprised people here haven't put up more of a fight.

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