P.O.A stands for Provincial Offences Act – the act which regulates which matters can be heard before this type of court, and how the court operates. POA Court is a branch of the Ontario Court of Justice, and deals with offences committed under provincial laws or municipal by-laws. Some examples of charges this court handles include: driving and traffic related offences, construction offences, and environmental offences.
POA matters do not often appear to be as serious as criminal matters. This is likely because many more people have been to P.O.A to deal with common issues, such as traffic tickets. There is undoubtedly less of a stigma around P.O.A matters than criminal matters. However, it is important to remember that P.O.A charges can also result in severe fines or even jail time for repeat offenders. This is why it is imperative to treat P.O.A matters seriously and carefully.
What is the difference between POA court and other courts?
POA functions similarly to other courts. As with criminal court, matters in POA can be spoken-to briefly to leave a record of a case’s progress, and can also go to trial. One difference between P.O.A and criminal matters is that justices of the peace can preside over P.O.A trials, while only judges can preside over criminal trials. Another difference is that instead of a Crown, POA courts have prosecutors, who fill essentially the same role.
Contact Smordin Law
The lawyers at Smordin Law understand that through P.O.A charges are not the same as criminal charges, they can still affect an individual’s life in complex ways. Smordin Law welcomes all clients with driving-related P.O.A charges. If you are facing charges like these, contact Smordin Law to discuss your next steps.
In January 2014, Nguyen Son Tran was pulled over and charged for running a red light. The officer on the scene then arrested Mr. Tran because they had spotted white powder (planted evidence) on his dashboard and a subsequent search of his vehicle revealed that Mr. Tran had a large amount of heroin in his car. At least that was their story.
In September, Mr. Tran had the charges against him withdrawn, while the investigating officers are facing charges for obstruction and perjury.
In his recent judgment, Justice Edward Morgan found that the police had made up the story about Mr. Tran running the red light and had planted the heroin residue on the dashboard to make their search seem legitimate. He categorized the actions of the officers as “misconduct…entirely beyond anything the courts can accept”. The heroin evidence was thrown out as fruit of the poisonous tree.
Police guilty of planted evidence – charges withdrawn
Writes Justice Morgan:
“The false creation of a pretext to search the defendant’s vehicle, combined with collusive fabrication of a story by the two lead Officers as to why they came to assist in the traffic stop of the defendant, certainly amounts to egregiously wrong conduct”
The four Toronto police officers all had several years on the force and were in good standing. They face a total of 17 charges. Their previous cases are now being probed.
Even in criminal defence you don’t often hear people claiming that the police planted evidence or fabricated evidence. But it does happen. The Toronto Star published a series in 2012 called “Police who Lie” . It detailed several examples of times that officers lied to obtain search warrants, provided false testimony, etc.
While this is not a common occurrence by any means, what these stories show is how important it is to have a criminal justice system that takes a critical look at the evidence that is being presented by police officers. Even more importantly, if you have been illegally searched or you feel that the evidence against you isn’t accurate, you should contact a lawyer who can fight for your case.
Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers 41 King William St. #200 Hamilton, ON L8R 1A2 Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005 Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005 Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716 www.smordinlaw.com
On September 1st 2015, Ontario’s Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act came into effect. This new legislation presents important changes that motorists should know about. The Act both increases penalties for existing traffic offences, and changes the requirements of drivers’ behaviour. Amongst the most significant changes are the increase of fines for distracted driving and the requirement that motorists allow pedestrians to completely cross an intersection or school crossing before advancing.
The changes regarding pedestrian crossings reflect Ontario’s concern for pedestrian well-being. Nearly half of all deaths related to motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections, and pedestrians represent one in five of all motor vehicle-related deaths.
Much of the changes also focus on consequences of impaired or distracted driving. In Ontario, it is illegal to operate a range of electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, and motorists can be charged with distracted driving if found using such devices while they drive. These devices include cell phones, iPods and other mp3 players, laptops, and even GPS devices. There are however, exceptions to this regulation which include devices which are hands-free, the use of a cell phone to make a 911 call, and the use of electronics when the vehicle is lawfully parked. As of the first of this month, those convicted of distracted driving will receive a fine of between $400 and $1000, and three demerit points.
The changes to impaired driving sanctions include the application of alcohol-related penalties to individuals who drive under the influence of illegal drugs, and the introduction of additional measures to address individuals who are repeatedly caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
We at Smordin Law anticipate many legal challenges to what constitutes using a device and what the meaning of distracted is when it comes to driving. Losing your license entirely or simply not being able to afford to drive due to increased insurance could have enormous impact on your day to day life. If you have been stopped for “distracted driving” contact the lawyers at Smordin Law to discuss your options.
Fines / Penalties For Distracted Driving In Ontario
As of September 1, 2015 the fines and penalties for distracted driving will increase.
If convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver (holder of Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G) or a hybrid driver (holder of a full-class licence and a novice licence such as Class G and M1) will receive:
a fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court
fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
three demerit points applied to your driver’s record
If convicted of distracted driving, a novice driver(subject to the Graduated Licensing program) will be subject to escalating sanctions:
first occurrence will result in a 30-day licence suspension
second occurrence will result in 90-day licence suspension
licence cancellation and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third occurrence
Novice drivers will not be subject to demerit points.
If you endanger others because of any distraction, including both hand-held and hands-free devices, you can also be charged with careless driving. If convicted, you will automatically receive:
six demerit points
fines up to $2,000 and/or
a jail term of six months
up to two-year licence suspension
You can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with jail terms of up to five years.
You can still use hand-held devices while driving in a few cases:
in a vehicle pulled off the roadway or lawfully parked
to make a 911 call
transmitting or receiving voice communication on a two-way, CB or mobile radio (hand-mikes and portable radios like walkie-talkies require a lapel button or other hands-free accessory)